Mizzou Football’s “Attacking Adversity” Philosophy

Attacking Adversity

How do you act when the pressure’s on,

When the chance for victory is almost gone,

When Fortune’s star has refused to shine,

When the ball is on your five-yard line?

How do you act when the going’s rough?

Does your spirit lag when breaks are tough?

Or, is there in you a flame that glows

Brighter as fiercer the battle grows?

How hard, how long will you fight the foe?

That’s what the world would like to know!

Cowards can fight when they’re out ahead.

The uphill shows a thoroughbred!

You wish for success? Then tell me, son,

How do you act when the pressure’s on?


Good Days and Bad Days

There will be good days,

And there will be bad days.

There will be times when you want to turn around,

Pack it up, and call it quits.

Those times tell you that you are pushing yourself,

That you are not afraid to learn by trying.


Adversity is Inevitable

Adversity is inevitable, so be prepared. Adversity comes to us all—it’s only a matter of when. The real question is not whether we’ll face adversity but how we will respond to it when it comes. If our attitude is one that embraces learning and growing, we’ll treat adversity as a stepping stone to the success we desire, rather than see it as an insurmountable obstacle. But if we have a negative attitude and become defensive at the first hint of criticism or begin to blame others for our mistakes, we’ll miss the opportunity to develop into the types of people we want to be. We have to be able to make the most of both the positives and the negatives. There will be days when everything goes right and when it all falls apart. We’ll have stretches where really good things happen and other stretches when we can’t even remember the good things. Other times we will have a mixture of the two. So we must be prepared—have a plan.


Have a Plan

If you get hurt on the field, you have to learn how to handle it. You have to work on rehabbing your injuries. If you want to get back into playing condition, you have to come back not only physically, but also mentally. When a tough loss comes your way, you have to handle the media scrutiny and the feelings that accompany criticism—some of it on-target. If you get demoted to second team, you have to work through those changes and try to win back your starting spot. Have a plan to deal with the adversity and success of life.

That’s the way life is in sports. It’s reality and you have to learn how to walk through the tough parts. There are some great quotes and reminders in the “We Are Mizzou” manual to encourage you during the process. And every player knows that even if things aren’t difficult at the moment, they will be soon enough.

It’s important that we learn from adversity so that we can take the necessary steps to grow and apply the lessons. After a loss or a disappointing performance, go back to the problem, analyze it, ask what you can learn from it, figure out how to do it right and how you are going to visualize doing it right the next time. Remember, the fact that you didn’t achieve the desired outcome doesn’t mean you are a failure. It simply means that the plan you had in place didn’t work, so you have to get better. When things don’t go your way, back up and start over. Learn what you can do to improve and get back in the game.