Chasing Ambien with beer to sleep. Forty-pound weight loss. Chest pains. To stay in football, Urban Meyer had to address his mental health. Now, to help America tackle the issue, Ohio State’s head coach opens up in a B/R Mag exclusive.
This article is absolutely fascinating on many levels, and not just because I’m an Ohio State fan.
Let’s start with the obvious. We tend to look at the dedication and drive of people involved in sports, whether it be coaches like Meyer, or players, and think that the level of absolute dedication to their sport is the way we should live our lives to be as successful in whatever endeavor that we choose. But here’s one of the most successful college coaches in the country completely contradicting that.
Here is Meyer saying that yes being dedicated and chasing your goals is important, but you have to take the steps necessary to take care of yourself too, and losing site of that is going to cost you much more than that goal was ever worth.
Think about what he’s talking about in sharing his story. Sure, he was as successful as you could be at Florida, but what he was doing was hurting his physical and mental health, and ruining his relationship with his family. When we look at the athletes we admire for their dedication, and single-minded focus, do we stop to consider just what kind of human being they are off the field?
For that matter, do we stop to think about the successful entrepreneurs, the Steve Jobs of the world, and whether emulating them is always a good idea? Sure they may be successful in business, or in sports, but are they just shitty people? Do they leave behind a wake of crappy relationships and interactions? Is that what I want when I’m reading the “10 habits of the best athletes that you should follow to be successful”?
What if those habits include things like watching game film until 4AM, not sleeping, not interacting with my family, taking drugs to get through the workload, dealing with anxiety and stress levels that make chest pains a regular thing? In what world is that something we should emulate?
Good for Coach Meyer for taking the time to, as he says:
“To help that man or woman who’s going through some s–t right now, and struggling,” he says. He rattles off one profession after another that isn’t College Football Coach but is demanding all the same—teachers, police officers, firefighters, doctors, parents, soldiers and more. “These people that are in consuming jobs—you forget to do one thing,” Urban says. “And that’s to take care of yourself.”
Absolute truth right there, and my respect for being willing to say it. Even more for the lessons he is passing on to his players about taking care of themselves. It’s impressive to see how much time he puts into that kind of stuff with his players as well.
Janet Phillips McKensey
Similarly, I appreciate Abby Wambach’s recent revelations about her abuse of alcohol and other drugs. These are people with the courage to change.
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Loved the interview!! Really good stuff!
Brave of him.
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Sara McReynolds Payne
I read the article because I had been upset when he left coaching at Florida for health reason but then took the job at Ohio State. It completely changed my feelings on him coaching again, and I’m glad he is now doing well. It is nice to see such a prominent person talk about mental illness and hear it from such a different perspective.
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