Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Review of Everybody Fumbles by Earnest Byner

  Everybody Fumbles by Earnest Byner is ostensibly a book about playing football.   Earnest is known to many Browns fans as the guy who fumbled in the AFC Championship game, and thereafter was unfairly criticized as the man who cost the Browns a Super Bowl victory.  

    The fact of the matter is that Byner's TD would have merely tied the game, and there was still the matter of containing John Elway and the Broncos, never mind the problem of facing the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV.  Joe Montana and the 49ers rang up 55 points on the Broncos, so I don't have the feeling that they would have been easy pickings for the Browns,  But no matter, many Browns fans are convinced it was Earnest's complete fault that we didn't win that Super Bowl, and probably every one thereafter.  

   This then, is a book from a famous NFL player who knew great adversity and failure, yet one who was able to someone rise above it and win a Super Bowl ring with the Washington Redskins.  Hence I tend to listen to what he has to say.  He is a very special person.

   The format of the book is a series of short narratives, an average of two pages. It's easy reading, but still intellectually stimulating. Mostly the narratives deal with an aspect of being a pro athlete; for example, suggests to improve preparation for games, mental discipline and focus.   Hence I would strongly recommend this to any person wanting to play the game of football at a higher level. A junior high student would not have difficulty in picking this up.  

The story of Earnest Byner has a happy resolution, as he was a key member of the Washington team which won Super Bowl XXVI in 1992.     

   The principles of focus, dedication, visualization and others apply not only to football but to any worthwhile endeavor.  Some people may enjoy smooth sailing for their entire careers, but for most of us there are going to be upsets, battles, frustrations...and fumbles.   You need to be mentally tough and prepared in order to get through it.  

   To cite a personal example, one time I met an engineer, who frankly told me, "I got a guy killed one time.  He died in an accident.  I had told the company that that type of accident was impossible to occur, but it happened."    

    Talk about a fumble!  Mr. Byner, you were playing a kid's game.  This fellow was involved in life and death situations, and lost.  I can't imagine how he recovered, and as far as I know he never returned to the business of safety assessments, but did return to the profession of engineering and thermodynamic cycle analysis.   One of the most humble people that I have ever met.  I don't think he will ever get over the mistake he made, but somehow he was able to get to the point where life could go on despite his failure.

    That's the kind of difficult times that life often throws at us.   In some way, someone like Earnest can help coach us through difficult times.   Thus this book is not only excellent for your sports-minded youngsters, but also for Mom and Pop in the workaday world.   

    Yeah, everybody fumbles.  But Earnest tells us how to get up from those fumbles and go on to win Super Bowls.

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