We are a couple of old guys. I wouldn’t normally acknowledge that, but as some would say: “It is what it is.” We hadn’t had a chance to visit in a long while, so when I saw him last, his question didn’t seem out of place or inappropriate. He simply asked: “Don, When are you going to hang it up?” I almost responded: “Hang what up?” but I intuitively knew what he was talking about. He wanted to know when I was going to retire?
I responded: “That’s really a good question, because I don’t know how to answer your question. I went on to share with him that when my wife asks, I tell her: ‘Whenever I go to work, I generally have the luxury of doing whatever I want. If I stay home, I’ve got other issues.” He laughed and said: “That’s pretty much the same thing that Lou Holtz said.”
If you are familiar with the name Lou Holtz, you are a step ahead of me. I hated to plead ignorance and I could have avoided doing so by simply affirming: “You’re exactly right.” Had that been my response, he would have had no idea that I was clueless regarding the identity of Lou Holtz and/or whatever it was he said.
I’ve heard it said that curiosity killed the cat. I guess I, too, am at risk. Instead of concurring with his statement and shielding myself from embarrassment, I pleaded ignorance. It was then that I learned from my friend that Holtz is an old sport’s announcer and a former college and professional football coach. He still reportedly has “fire in his belly”. At some point, when asked when he was going to retire, Holtz responded to the question by asking a question. The question was: “Retire to do what? At this point in my life, I’ve only got one big event left and I’m not quite ready to do that.”
I thanked my friend and said, “You’ve just provided me a quote for my daily blog. I really like that”. He responded: “Just Google Lou Holtz quotes and you’ll probably find it”. He then went on to say, “I know what you’re talking about. I don’t want to work eight hours a day, but I don’t want to just stop working. I’ve got to stay active.”
Attempting to sound philosophical, I said: “I figure that if the President Elect of the United States can take office at the age of 70, I’ve got a few good years left in me as well.” He laughed and said: “You’re probably right.”
I was fascinated by the Lou Holtz quote he shared with me. I was even more fascinated when I searched for his name on Google and found his formula for living. He said simply: “I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care”.
He summed up his work ethic and success at coaching this way: “A lifetime contract for a coach means if you’re ahead in the third quarter and moving the ball, they can’t fire you”.
When it comes to coaching, Lou Holtz was known for his determination and quick wit. No wonder you can find a litany of things he had to share. Let me list two or three quotes that are more than just a play on words:
- “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it”.
- “We can all be successful and make money, but when we die, that ends. But when you are significant is when you help other people be successful. That lasts many a lifetime”.
- “Successful people will always tell you can do something. It’s the people who have never accomplished anything who will always discourage you from trying to achieve excellent things”.
- “When all is said and done, more is said than done.”
Actually, what I learned from researching Lou Holtz is that he actually retired last year. He described his decision this way: “Last year was the fifth anniversary of my last year. For five years, I’ve been saying I’m going to leave. It’s been 68 years that I’ve either been a player, a coach or a TV analyst and I don’t have many years left. I need to just spend my time with some other people such as my sons and my daughters, etc.”
He expressed the long and short of it this way: “And I like to leave when people are asking, ‘Why are you leaving,’ rather than, ‘When are you leaving?’ He is a smart man. Hopefully, I’ll be that smart as well.
All My Best!