Old Charlie Miller was the linemen coach on my high school football team. He was a man of few words, but spoke volumes by his actions. He must have been in his late sixties by the time he coached us, but there was still something very intimidating about his presence. He certainly wasn’t physically imposing, but he had a way about him.
At certain points when he felt our team was not practicing with as much intensity as he thought we should, he would approach each one of us on the field, grab us by the face mask, and shake vigorously. No one dared try to stop him. As I would see him turn towards me for my turn, I simply let him rattle my brains until he was done. It was his way of trying to shake some sense into us, I guess.
Charlie is one of those people in my life who made an impression that I could never forget. That man of few words left me with a phrase that I will always remember. While talking about blocking assignments, he always said, “If you can’t remember who to block, never make a mistake of omission. It is always better to make a mistake of commission”.
What he was saying was, in short, block someone, anyone, even if it isn’t the person you aren’t supposed block Don’t just stand there and block no one. I thought the way Charlie explained himself was quite eloquent. He took a football situation and explained in such a way that it applied to all facets of life. Better to make mistake by doing something rather than just standing idly by and doing nothing at all.
Sometimes you should listen most carefully to the people who say the fewest words.