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Joe Gibbs Needs a Pep Talk

A few weeks back I wrote about some of the spiritual guidance Joe Gibbs has been offering on his Web site each week of this NFL season. Well, times are getting tough, and the strain is showing. He looks terrible. He sounds depressed. He admits to being down. The message is all about how to fight through bad times. It makes for some glum viewing and listening.

Like when Gibbs opened the post-Titans session like this:

After six weeks, wow. I've got to tell you, 2-4, I had no clue, didn't expect it, and I'm sure many of you that follow the Redskins, you didn't feel that way either. So I'm going through a real struggle right now, and that might sound familiar to some of you. Mine happens to be in football, and I know a lot of you out there may be struggling in some other area. It could be finances, it could be relationships it could be a sickness of some kind.

So then Gibbs explained that during the season he doesn't have much time for reading. All he reads is The Bible, "Life On Purpose" and the sports section of the newspaper. (What, no blogs?)

Anyhow, after he talked about his reading material, Gibbs admitted to fear; and remarkably, if I'm reading him correctly, to fear of sportswriters. Like, Mike Wise? Is he really afraid of Mike Wise? Here's what he said:

I've got to tell you the truth, many times I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what people are gonna say. I'm afraid of what they're gonna write.

I mean, jeez, I'm afraid too, mostly of Jason LaCanfora, but I'd never admit that publicly. Then Gibbs talked about a Russian writer in a concentration camp who considered suicide, but who rallied when he saw an image of a cross, and how the writer was released three days later. Gibbs prefaced this by saying football is nothing like a concentration camp, but still, it's pretty glum, and then he said this:

So I think the point for all of us is many times in life that's what happens, just at the point where the devil is saying you need to give up, you have no hope, there's nothing here that can fix this, just realize that God's working in every situation and at the right time and the right moment it'll be Him, He's the one that decides when we're gonna get out of that adversity.

So, in other words, calling for Jason Campbell on a message board probably isn't going to do anything. Gibbs also talked about having steadfast faith, mentioning how Abraham was given a son at the age of 100, and how we thus need to be in constant contact with the Lord.

I mean, all day long talking to the Lord, saying, 'Hey Lord I need you, I need your help, ok, you've got to encourage me, give me the right words to say, give me the right things to say to the football team, encourage me Father.

Gibbs closed that episode with these words:

Just pray hard for the Redskins, and I'm gonna pray hard for everybody out there and whatever your struggles are.

That was before the Indy game. Last week, it was even worse. "I mean, this is awful," were among his first words.

But then Gibbs talked about how society tells us what's important is career advancement, making money, winning football games, getting a lot of clicks on your blog, but really what's more important is your relationship with the Lord and your influence on other people. And Gibbs talked this talk for the entire (short) episode, but you can still feel the agony:

Do we keep in proper perspective, particularly when things are going so bad for us sometimes, like, for instance, in my life.

And then he started talking about how important the influence we have on others can be, pointing out that somebody once influenced the young kids who grew up to fly planes into the World Trade Centers. So, he concluded, you should think about the influence we can have on those around us: on our grandbabies, our kids, our cousins, or, if we're not married, on our friends and co-workers, which, old-fashioned assumption that single people do not have cousins aside, is advice that we'd all do well to follow:

And that is going to be the most important thing that we leave here on this earth. So life, even when we're suffering through some real tough things, life is keeping the right perspective: God, the influence I'm having on others and then of course my occupation, which is hugely important.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 30, 2006; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Abraham waited 'til 100 for a son, but I doubt Snyder will wait that long for a decent quarterback.

Posted by: DevilGrad | October 30, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if as Gibbs has gotten older, the perspective his faith provides him has affected him as a coach. Its great to have a team of quality character men. But his job is to win ball games. Has his faith mellowed him? Was he more cutthroat as a younger coach? Does his faith hinder his ability to be a GM?

Posted by: Jack Kent CookE | October 31, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what those fans got from Gibbs after he mentioned how bad he felt about not saying hello to fans at Redskin Park two weeks ago.

Posted by: Rack D.C. United! | October 31, 2006 8:29 PM | Report abuse

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