Boomer Grandpa: Some locker room slogans are for life

The other day I was paging through some old magazines, among them several issues of Athletic Journal, a magazine for coaches.

The issues I had were dated from 1968 to 1970. As I scanned through them, each issue had instructional articles written by high school and college coaches on various aspects of baseball, basketball, track and field, wrestling, football and hockey.

There were some great ads as well for Adidas and Converse shoes, bike trainer supplies, and some classic old sports equipment such as ugly black sports eyeglasses like ones I had to wear, and some predecessor products to Gatorade.

One article from the February 1970 issue caught my eye. It was pretty straightforward and was called "Locker Room Slogans," compiled by Ken Rawlinson, athletic trainer for the University of Oklahoma.

Doing some internet searching, I found that Rawlinson is in the National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame. He became the trainer at OU in 1953. He also was the original author of "Modern Athletic Training," and I found copies of his 1960 book still out there for sale. He died in 1979.


I'm not quite sure why he listed a total of 111 locker room slogans, but I read through them several times and picked out the top 10 slogans that I feel applied not only in athletics, but life as well. I will not list them in any particular order.

Success is a journey, not a destination.This was written well before this was cool to say. I advised people during my career to "enjoy the journey" and not to wish their life away. As a retired federal government worker (Federal Medical Center); many talked about retirement as their sole focus in life. They wanted to get there so fast. To me, success was not getting to that point, it was everything along the way. It was working, raising my children, and having a loving partner in my life.

If you think you are good, then why not be better. If you think you are better, then be the best.When I played high school and college athletics and even slow pitch softball, I wanted to win. I felt that my athletic experiences gave me a desire to also want to be the best in my job. There was a great line from the movie "The Natural." As Roy Hobbs lay in the hospital bed he lamented about what he could have done. When a friend asked the question "And then?" Roy responded with, "And then? And then when I walked down the street, people would've looked and they would've said, 'There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.'" It's OK to have the drive to be the best at what you do.

The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

I will study and get ready, and then perhaps my chance will come.This is credited to Abraham Lincoln. Never stop learning, never stop trying to improve yourself, and never stop trying to be a better person. I really enjoyed being a veteran mentor the last few years of my career. Those who wished to advance in certain fields I would encourage continued study, taking courses, and preparing themselves for opportunities.

You may be on top of the heap, but remember you are still part of it.Throughout most of my career, I was a mid-management type of guy. I always sought to stay connected to all staff. Every officer, secretary, nurse, maintenance or food service worker was important. The respect of those "in the trenches" was most valuable to me.

No one becomes a ball player by walking after a ball.Hustle. Hustle on the athletic field and hustle in life. I was one of those guys who got to work early every single day, not occasionally — every single day. It was my way of hustling in my career.

Do not blame the officials for penalizing your mistakes.As a high school basketball official for 35 years, I couldn't resist picking this slogan out.


You can never get ahead of anyone as long as you are trying to get even with them.I tried hard to let things go and not carry grudges throughout my profession. There were few people that I was unable to get along with. For some, holding a grudge almost consumes them. It's not a good thing.

The best kind of pride is that which compels a man (or woman) to do his/her very best work, even if no one is watching.Not much to discuss on this one either.

Speeches are like steer horns — a point here, a point there with a lot of bull in between.I guess this has a political ring to it and I can't imagine this one hanging in a locker room, but with that said, I'd better wrap up this column.

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