College Football St. John’s College High-School ‘87 University of Pennsylvania ‘91
In order to get on the field in college, I had a lot of work to do. I remember coming into College as a Freshman playing Center and had to adjust to 2 things; the speed of the game and being undersized. My footwork and hips were good and I had good strength in my lower body, but it was my upper body that was lacking. After getting pushed around a couple of times, I remember a coach telling me not to worry as I was only a Freshman. I still didn’t like it and wanted to do something about it. In the next 3 years I learned that you can raise yourself up to the next level while being in the fight in which I was. I then decided to dedicate myself to the weight room but I have to tell you that it wasn’t any kind of overnight success. Good things take time and for me to accomplish my goals, that was the case. I went into College at 225 and by the time I was a Senior I weighed close to 270 which was a decent size for a Center playing offensive line but there was a lot of work that took place. When I was recruited to play football and was deciding between Penn and The Airforce Academy, I remember the Academy gave me their weightlifting program which I kept even while at Penn. In the back of this stapled together program there were all the calibrations of weights, reps and days to lift that I worked with and set goals. After my Junior season was over, I sat down with this information and went through and charted out every day of the week from December 1989 to August of 1990 (9 months worth of training). I had laid out what my goals were to be in order to be able to bench 400 pounds. I looked at this paperwork everyday and continued to work hard to accomplish this goal of mine. By August of 1990, our team had testing and I was able to bench 400 pounds in front of the team. Many of the kids watched me and couldn’t even believe it! This was the time to make a statement to the team and the coaching staff that I was prepared to not only be a leader, but a starter and I wasn’t looking back. Though I was never gifted with a lot of natural strength, I set goals and worked really hard to accomplish my goal of getting stronger. Not only was I more confident, but I finally was at the size and strength to be a competitor on the field.
The advice I’d give to others would be to focus earlier on strength training. I would also tell others to find a way to do it earlier and more often as I realize now how much it benefitted me.
Sports also taught me a lot about goal setting and as I got older, I learned more about the importance of sharing your goals with other people. They may laugh at you or say you’re crazy, but I think there’s a lot of power in it. It holds you accountable. It’s one thing to just walk around and vocalize what you want to do but it’s a whole other thing to accomplish what you say. That’s why you need to write down your goals and have a plan. Having a script without a plan are just words. With a plan, it’s your roadmap to success. Today, as I work with many people from IBM, I hold them accountable. I ask others about their plan in order to accomplish it and then I critique it. If you have a written plan and you tell others about it and allow them to critique it, I believe you’ll be on your way to more success than if you just walk around telling people you’re going to bench 400 pounds!
Pat, your story is so valuable, not necessarily because you had a goal of benching 400 pounds and accomplishing it, but because your story can be applied to all things in life. Acknowledging an area of improvement, writing down a plan to address that area and sharing with others is not only amazing but is similar to what Check Your Game is about! You examined your life, recognized an area that needed improvement (strength and size for football), and you did something about it by working hard in the weight room. It's interesting because as you were working hard in the weight room, only you knew how much you were "shining on the inside." Then when you tested before the season of your Senior Year and benched 400 pounds, that's when you were "shining on the outside." Your story epitomizes our slogan "to Shine from the inside out." Lastly, for those who don't know you, I wanted to share that not only was your story motivating, but you are also a role model for others to look up to. You are smart, caring, a hard worker amongst other things, and I'm proud to be your friend. Thanks again for sharing a bit of your story and advice for more than just the athletes to be encouraged with. Your story is for everyone! Gary Rogers