Archive for January, 2015

Five lessons we can learn from the Ohio State Buckeyes National Championship Team

ohio state national champs The Ohio State Buckeyes were written off as a contender after their early season loss to Virginia Tech. To claw their way into the national title picture was all but inconceivable to just about everyone, except those boys of Fall in Columbus.

While the Buckeyes were an early season favorite to make the inaugural NCAA football playoffs, the loss of star quarterback Braxton Miller set into motion what should have been a disastrous season. But that’s not how things work in Columbus, where football is as ubiquitous to Ohioans as snowy winters, a burning river and speed traps on the Ohio Turnpike.

J.T. Barrett stepped in as the heir apparent and led the Buckeyes to a very successful season until he, too, sustained a season ending injury. There was no way a team could overcome the loss of two star quarterbacks, right? Guess again, because Buckeye coach Urban Meyer had a trick or two up his sleeve, including third string quarterback Cardale Jones, a six foot five inch, two hundred and fifty pound behemoth of a player.

Heading into the Big 10 Championship the Buckeyes were double digit underdogs to Wisconsin. They didn’t just beat the odds, they kicked the tar out of their opponent 59-0. I guess this starts to make sense when one considers that Cardale Jones hails from Glenville High School where the mascot is a Tarblooder. What exactly is a Tarblooder? The mascot was derived from an old saying that the team would kick the tar and take the blood of any who dare to oppose them.

It is this kind of grit and tenacity that allows a team to band together, overcoming obstacles and showing detractors what they are made of. This wasn’t a season of mere talent on display, it was something far greater. It harkens back to what football is all about; teaching lifelong lessons to young men. Teaching men how to be leaders and more importantly, to openly embrace faith.

The lessons we can learn from this Buckeye team transcend beyond just ourselves, but encompass our family, community and even society in general. So just what can we learn from this Ohio State Buckeye team to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us?


The first thing that comes to mind is determination. Winning is a culture in Columbus, just as it should be in our own lives. As coaching great Vince Lombardi once said, “If winning doesn’t matter, why do they keep score?” A very good question that we should pose to many in our society who scorn the mere thought of keeping score because someone’s feelings might get hurt.

There was a time in history when keeping score was important. Like football, it taught us life lessons about winning, losing and sportsmanship. The most successful in our society didn’t get to where they are by being afraid of having their feelings hurt. To the contrary, they took chances. They viewed life as a game and sought to win in every facet. That is the mentality of the Ohio State football team, and that is a key driver to their success.


Beyond determination is discipline. You don’t win 13 straight games with ineffective blocking and tackling. To the contrary, you have to be incredibly disciplined. The team has to work as a cohesive unit in every facet of the game. We need to do the same in every facet of own lives. We have to have some discipline in what we do, while fostering those same values in our children.

Discipline is difficult because it’s far easier to be lax. It is easier to eat junk than to eat healthy. It is easier to sleep in than go to church on Sunday. It is easier to call in sick than to go to work. It is easier to false start than to hold your stance until the football is snapped. But we can’t live our lives that way because there are consequences. This is a very important lesson in a society where individual responsibility has seemingly evaporated into thin air. Blaming people is easy. Being disciplined and accepting responsibility is much more challenging, but as the Buckeyes demonstrated, it is the right thing to do.

But we don’t have to be perfect. God never intended for us to be completely disciplined. It is understood that humans do err. Heck, the Buckeyes turned the ball over four times and still managed to win the national championship. The key to success is to strive to lead a disciplined life knowing that there will be times when the ref just might throw a flag.


It is said that Noah didn’t build the ark in a day. Rather it took hard work. In my book Kicked to the Curb: 20 Rules to Come Out On Top When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down there is an entire section dedicated to the concept of perseverance. This team toiled and the result was success. So too will this happen in our own lives. Things don’t magically happen to make our life better. Just as there is no such thing as free healthcare, there I also no such thing as a free lunch.

We are the masters of our destiny, guided by the hands of God. We are given opportunities and hurdles. Some of this is divine intervention, some may not be. That said, we are rewarded for our work. The harder we work, the higher the rewards. If you work really hard, even in the face of adversity, you just might win a national championship.


People from the heartland of America aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves. From the earliest days of our nation’s founding, there has been something different about those who left the confines of the colonies and ventured westward. Even today, there is an attitude of rigged individualism and grittiness that separates those in the middle part of our nation from those on the coasts.

We know what is needed to be successful and we know what the impediments to success are. By rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty, we succeed. That is exactly what the Buckeyes did this year. It is probably fair to say that there is not a player on the Buckeye roster that has never faced a daunting challenge. The same can be said of ourselves. It is how we handle the challenge that defines us.

Losing your two star quarterbacks is a challenge. So is having a parent or child with cancer, or other terminal illness. The reality is that the latter is far worse than the former, but each needs to be dealt with in its own way. Buckeye Nation did just that.


More than any single aspect in our lives, faith is what provides salvation. It is said that with God all things are possible. It is probably also true that without God nothing is possible. We have to have faith in ourselves and our abilities. There is no question that the Buckeyes played hard, but my guess is that they prayed even harder.

During my time coaching youth football we always prayed as a team, as I imagine the Buckeyes routinely do. After each practice our squad would recite the 23rd Psalm. Before each game there was a prayer. Much like keeping score, prayer has become a big no-no in a radical, but extremely vocal and intolerant, segment of our society. Interestingly, the downward spiral of our nation seems to be in direct correlation to the lack of faith among some.

Faith was the foundation upon which a national championship was won. There was an inherent belief that gave the players strength beyond what they could have possibly imagined enabling them to defy the odds. We need to embrace these same values, which will make our society better, stronger and more vibrant.

Chris Tidball is an author of multiple books, insurance claims consultant and frequent public speaker. To learn more please visit .


January 14, 2015 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

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Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at

Kicked to the Curb

Kicked to the Curb


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