Herm Edwards uses anecdotes to give advice

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Herm Edwards, ESPN analyst and former National Football League head coach, talked about social relationships, passion and focusing on goals Feb. 12 in Reynolds Performance Hall. Edwards appeared as a part of Public Appearance’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
Edwards said setting goals is important. He said aspirations and having the drive to succeed in those aspirations is one of the most important aspects of life.
“A goal without a plan is a wish,” he said. “Everyone gets the same amount of time each day; you must decide how to use it.”
Edwards used anecdotes throughout his speech to illustrate the importance of friendships.
He said it’s imperative to have friends who feel close enough to you to tell you when you’re doing something wrong.
Some of the stories Edwards used were full of humor and made the audience erupt with laughter. However, one of his more effective stories was serious.
To illustrate the importance of leaving behind a positive legacy, Edwards told the audience a story from his childhood.
Edwards said when he was eight years old, his father, a military man, handed him a broom and told him to sweep the backyard.
He said he swept the yard, but as his father inspected his work, he realized he had forgotten to sweep the corners.
“Dad, nobody knows.” he said.
Edwards said his father’s rebuttal has stuck with him throughout the years.
“Son, you know,” his father said.
Edwards told the audience members to always do their best because they will know deep down if they don’t. He said everyone has corners they need to sweep out.
He said his father gave him some vital advice that at the time he was too young to fully appreciate.
“We don’t have a lot of money, so I can’t give you a good bike,” he said. “I’m going to give you something better, a good name. Don’t screw it up.”
Athletic Director Brad Teague said over 400 student-athletes attended the lecture.
Quarterback junior Wynrick Smothers said he was excited to get to attend.
“[The team] got to hear from someone who has been through the NFL and he knows what it takes to make it,” he said. “I hope the team got a great experience from it and gained knowledge.”
Smothers said Clint Conque, UCA’s head football coach, made the team’s attendance at the lecture mandatory.
“I think Coach Conque made us go because I think he knows what knowledge we could gain from it and hopefully apply it to the program here,” he said.
Edwards said he advised students to be themselves.
“Don’t try to make your career off of others’ misfortunes and be yourself,” he said. “Words are hurtful; you have to be careful.”
Edwards said the main part of being an analyst is asking “why.” He said most people report on what happened and how it happened, but a lot of people forget to talk about why it happened.
He used ESPN analyst Skip Bayless as an example, saying Bayless is outspoken on television, but that he backs his information up with facts and why he believes something even when he is wrong.
He said that when Bayless is wrong, he is not afraid to admit it and he will apologize.
Edwards used football analogies and stories to convey his message.
He also used Martin Luther King, Jr. as a prime example with his quote about the importance of where people stand in controversy.
He used this quote to challenge the audience at the end of the presentation: “Martin Luther King, Jr. lived his life to make a difference,” he said. “What’s your plan? Once you determine your plan, will you make a difference?”

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