A National Alliance for Youth Sports resource helping coaches, parents and administrators provide the best youth sports experiences for children.
Cowboys owner learned about never giving up as young football player
By Greg Bach
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones learned a valuable lesson during his youth football days in Little Rock, Ark.
And it’s never been forgotten.
Jones was a talented two-way player in high school – he excelled at running back and linebacker – and was chosen to play in a high school all-star game.
“I had the honor of being chosen to play in the high school all-star game as a roving linebacker and running back,” Jones shared when we asked him about his youth football days. “But when I got there they put me in at lineman and they were just beating the hell out of me and I quit and I went home.”
Resting in his bedroom, his father came home from work and delivered a message that Jones has held onto ever since.
“My father came into my bedroom and he said, ‘Son, if you lay in this bed you’ll be a quitter the rest of your life,’” Jones recalls. “He said, ‘Do you like football?’ I said, ‘Of course I do.’ And he said, ‘If I was you I would get up, re-think your decision and go on.’ That’s tough love but that was an important time for me because it showed me that the game is not necessarily about how it’s dealt to you but how you respond to it.”
Jones got out of bed, returned to the sport and went on to play and co-captain the University of Arkansas football team that won the 1964 national championship.
Ironically, the position he ended up playing for the Razorbacks was the very one that had him on the verge of quitting the sport as a teen – offensive lineman. As it turned out, he proved to be pretty good there too, as he was an all-conference performer.
Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month in Canton, Ohio. His lifelong journey to that honor began on the football fields of his youth, where the lessons he learned defined his work ethic and thirst for success.
“Football has been a real influence for me ever since I was a youngster,” Jones says. “The lessons of the game are what made the biggest impact.”
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