10 Commonalities Between Football and Bicycling
A Dude Abikes is not a huge football fan since the days when he parked cars for the Dallas Cowboys as a Boy Scout. He’d get in after the first quarter to watch “America’s Team,” but then they started doing drugs and he lost interest. But it’s a sport, so I appreciate everyone’s efforts. So when Holly O, a bad ass cyclist friend who is not on Strava whom I met on the “Don’t Fear The Finger” Prostate Cancer One-Day Ride in August of 2016 invited me south of downtown to watch the Super Bowl, I said sure, why not?
More than a few comparisons can be made between football and bicycling:
- Both sports require helmets, and both involve risk of concussion. Football is way riskier in this regard, though.
- At least at the professional level, cycling is also a team sport.
- You wear padded, tight and colorful stretchy pants.
- Somebody’s probably cheating with performance enhancing drugs.
- There is always the high pressure and fierce competition to win.
- At the top levels, there are a limited amount of successful athletes.
- There are referees, time limits, and a finish line.
- Fans are rabid, crazy nut jobs who embarrass everyone except other fans.
- There are sponsors who pay money to the teams in return for advertising.
- Ex-pro announcers – you either love them or hate them.
CT: Compared to pro football and pro baseball, cycling is a pretty marginalized sport in the U.S. What would you say to those who know of your exploits on the playing field, who might not appreciate cycling — or might even complain about sharing the road with cyclists?
BJ: Well, you have to take good with bad. There are a lot of people out there that don’t recognize cycling as a sport, because they aren’t athletes. I have buddies that ride, guys who were football players, and baseball players. Some of them live in areas that haven’t incorporated bike lanes, and you have to ride wherever you can, and you run the risk of being tangled up with someone’s side mirror, or their car. That’s always devastating. There needs to be more advocacy nationwide, as far as cycling is concerned.
Five Lessons to Take From the Gridiron to the Road
Where cycling and football diverge though is in popularity and money, and of course cheerleaders. (Although screaming fans at the Tour de France are alot more entertaining, I’d wager.) But seriously, as I bicycled home from tonight’s game, the lessons seemed curiously relevant to me, so I thought I’d share them with you.
- You can lose by a freak accident or misjudgment in the blink of an eye. When quarterback Tom Brady got the ball stripped near the end of the game, you could hear the gasps across the entire state of Massachusetts from here in Texas. OK, not really, but it seemed that way. Point is, it doesn’t take much at all for your fortunes to change.
The lesson: Keep your eye on the prize at all times, but know that sometimes even when you do, things won’t go according to plan. So plan accordingly and be ready And never give up!
2. You can want it as bad as the other guy or gal or team, but that alone isn’t enough to win games or races. It looked to me as if Philadelphia wanted it more, and maybe that’s because they hadn’t won a Super Bowl before, whereas New England had been there, done that. The Pats looked like they thought it was their game. When you’re riding your bike, playing football, or whatever, it’s important to realize that heart and guts are very important. But if you haven’t trained and practiced, eaten right, drunk enough water, etc., guts alone won’t cut it.
The Lesson: Use your heart and your head in concert to achieve the best results. Channel emotion along with skill and effort, and you probably will win more often.
3. If you suck in the first half, you have more ground to make up in the second half. The Patriots are known for big comebacks, for improving as the game goes along. But relying on that as a strategy is a big mistake. Consistency is key in both sports.
The Lesson: If you’re more reliable in your efforts over the course of the game (or ride), you won’t have as much work to do in the back end to make up for being lax in the first half.
4. Injuries happen, and if you don’t take care of them, they may come back to haunt you. I don’t know if Gronkowski’s playing was diminished due to alleged head injuries, but with the high stakes of the game, it’s possible he was not at his best. Sometimes it’s hard to not play or ride when you’re hurt, and you have to judge if you’re able to perform anyway. Would a reserve player done better?
The Lesson: Listen to your body and realize that if you don’t take time to rest and recover, it will be ignored at your peril and come back to bit you on the buttocks.
5. The more you want to win, the harder it is to bounce back when you lose. So focus on improving, not winning. Maybe this isn’t possible at the pro level, but most of humans are not in the NFL or Tour de France. If your goal is only to win, and not to do your best, improve, have fun, stay active and healthy, and win if you can, you are missing out on meaningful enjoyment of your sport.
The Lesson: Don’t beat yourself up if you run four miles instead of five, or bike 50 miles in a week instead of a day. It’s not life or death, usually. Be human. Relax, reflect, and restart the next day.
Well, those are my thoughts on the big game as it relates to cycling. What do you think? Does football have other things to teach cyclists? Or that apply to your sport whether it’s running, ping pong, bobsledding, etc.?
A DUDE INVITES YOU TO TAKE A MOMENT TO:
- Email follow
- Share on Social Media
© 2015-18 A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.