In sports, it's always easier said than done. But that doesn't stop coaches from trying to get the word out.
Most coaches carry inspirational phrases right next to their playbook, and though some may sound corny, their players soon know them by heart. The coaches can only hope their troops take the words to heart as well.
Retired Niagara-Wheatfield football coach Armand "Ace" Cacciatore said he'd write a new saying each week on the locker room chalkboard.
"And then I'd read them out loud for the kids who couldn't read," he mused. "You only get out of football what you put into it. Play like you practice. And I had tapes made of all the college fight songs, and I'd play them on the practice field or in the locker room. They didn't always appreciate that, but it was better than the stuff they wanted to play."
Whether they are pressed on T-shirts, made into posters, find their way onto coffee mugs or become bumper stickers, inspirational phrases have been used by coaches for decades.
Their popularity helped spawn a store in the Walden Galleria mall called Successories, which specializes in motivational and inspirational wall decor and gifts. The message is clear: "It's never crowded on the extra mile." "Victory happens when 10,000 hours of training meets one moment of opportunity." "To be a winner all you need to give is all you have."
In a recent History Channel documentary on basketball's dream teams, UCLA All-American Bill Walton recalled coach John Wooden's words. Walton remembered how anxious the Bruins would be in the locker room waiting to absorb the message from their legendary coach. "Be quick, but don't hurry." "Happiness begins where selfishness ends." "Disagree without being disagreeable." "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
And the most well-known phrase out of a local coach's mouth might have come from retired Bills coach Marv Levy, who became famous for asking, "Where would you rather be than right here, right now?"
Western New York football coaches have their share of messages that they pass along, and they'll take inspiration from any source possible.
Pat Braunschidel of West Seneca East was moved by Gale Sayers' "The program comes first, team comes second, the individual comes third," based on Sayers' book: "I Am Third."
"I like (Buffalo State coach) Jerry Boyes': 'One heart, one beat,' " said Canisius coach Dan Troy. "I think that says it all."
Bill Hurley, who later starred at Syracuse University, played for St. Joe's coach Tucker Reddington before he graduated in 1975. Hurley remembered him saying, "Football is a game of inches."
Here's what some other coaches had to say:
"Losing hurts winners most."
- Wally Huckno, Jamestown
"Eleven brothers can't be beat."
- Scot Greenough, Forestville
"Do things right when no one else is around."
- Jim Kuhn, West Seneca West
"Winners always find a way to win."
- Curt Fischer, Maple Grove
"Know your priorities."
- Alan Pogel, Niagara-Wheatfield
"Whatever we do is team."
- Dan Kelley, Williamsville East
"Practice like a champion today."
- Matt Chimera, Kenmore East
"We're not going to get outhit. We're not going to get outhustled."
- John Faller, Sweet Home
"Play like you practice."
- Bob O'Connor, St. Joe's
"You're going to be as good as you want to be."
- Ted Maier, Turner/Carroll
"Seize your time now."
- Jerry Smith, St. Francis
"Pursue excellence in everything you do, and everything else isn't worth your while."
- Joe Bremer, St. Mary's
"Victory has 1,000 fathers. Defeat is an orphan."
- Mike Kelly, Williamsville South
"We will improve as much as or as little as our least-skilled player."
- Mark Johnson, Lewiston-Porter
"You live in a great country and get to play a great game."
- Retired Williamsville South coach Chuck Huber
"The best is yet to come."
- Tom Goddard, Clarence
"Master the basics, minimize mental mistakes, and everything else will take care of itself."
- Adam Stoltman, Alden
"There are two seasons: Football season, and waiting for football season."
- Retired Kenmore East coach Lou Reuter
"Champions are made in the offseason."
- Joe Shifflet, Tonawanda
"There is no substitute for preparation."
- Gene Masters, Grand Island
"Winners never quit, and quitters never win."
- The late John Barnes Sr. as told by John Barnes Jr.
"You gotta push the nutty button for four seconds on every play."
- Retired Lackawanna coach Bill Pukalo
"If I don't talk about you that means I don't like you (and I talk about all of them)."
- Ron Pugh, Burgard
"If you want to be champions, you have to play like champions."
- Retired Springville coach Jim Duprey
"Just tell them the story about David and Goliath."
- Retired South Park coach Jerry Obstein