The Bottom Line on Auburn Gimmicks

By intheknow72

There is a fine line between a fool and a leader. Both are willing to do things that others may consider ridiculous, but only one knows why he’s doing them. Much has been said…and debated…about the limo fiasco. It did create a buzz. But let me go on record as saying, I think it was great. Chizik wanted to create separation between Auburn and Alabama on the recruiting trail, and separation is what he got.

I honestly have no problem with what he attempted to accomplish. The problem is, I’m not sure what that was. We all tend to look at things with either orange and blue or crimson colored glasses, and I admit it’s easy to do. The Auburn fambly herald Gene’s efforts as “outside of the box thinking” while the Crimson faithful laugh at such a sophomoric stunt. Let me take my glasses off for a moment and offer a simple truth.

There is a truth that remains intact no matter what area one applies it to. My granddaddy said it, my dad said it, and it has been repeated to me over and over again by successful people I’ve been blessed to be around. That truth?

“There is no substitute for hard work.” Diligent, consistent, day-after-day, relentless, unstopping, unyielding, undying work. I don’t care if you sell shoes, if you are a farmer, if you are a teacher, if are an entrepreneur, if you are a pastor, or yes, if you are a head coach of a major college football program. If you outwork your competition, you win.

I do business with people every day that tell me yes. They work late to make happen what I need to happen. They think of ways to save me money. They make their competition look lazy in my eyes, and that’s the best advertising they can ever do for themselves. That doesn’t mean some don’t show up with a box of chocolates or peanut brittle at Christmas, or snake my birthdate from my assistant only to send me an e-greeting on my birthday…or learn my children’s names and ask me with concern every time they stop in how they’re doing in school. They want to take me to lunch and pull out all the stops to get my business, or set up a round of golf to discuss my options. I appreciate their gestures, but in the end I see through the stunts and remain with the ones who have proven over time that they know what they’re doing, and know why they’re doing it. They didn’t come up with what they’re doing today in a conference room last week to try and make a splash. In fact, the ones I do business with didn’t have to do that much to get my business in the first place. Because while their competition was printing coasters, coffee mugs, t-shirts, note pads, pens, golf shirts, mousepads and golf balls with their company name on it (to give to me), the ones I do business with were busy returning my calls, meeting my deadlines and through their actions and reputation assuring me that they are going to still be around in two to three years when I continue using their services.

Another good example is network marketing. Raise your hand if you’ve been hit up by someone wanting you to get involved with a pyramid scheme sure to take you to financial freedom, or if you’ve ever called those late night infomercials teaching the secrets of money making through real estate. You go right ahead. As for me, I think I’ll get up in the morning and go back to work. I know exactly zero people who bought in to these gimmicks who are financially free. But I know a lot of people who put in 10 hour days who control their own destiny. And I’m not just talking about business owners. The guy at the local UPS store that I use is one of the most impressive workers I have ever seen. I don’t know who his boss is, but I know that guy will have a job there as long as he wants one. His work ethic shines in the middle of for all I know is a crummy job.

Now, let me bring it on home for you. The reason Tommy Tubberville doesn’t have a job in Lee County any more is because he was lazy. He feasted off of a weakened rival for almost his entire tenure. And when a true leader came to Tuscaloosa, the jig was up. It took one beatdown to expose the difference between the head coaches, and Auburn panicked. Tubby did the same the year before. Realizing he could not go toe-to-toe with Nick Saban to recruit the same kind of physical, tough, down-hill-runners and athletes, he succumbed to the latest fad in his profession…the college football version of the coozee…the spread offense. He knew he couldn’t out work Saban, so he panicked and tried the gimmick.

Now it’s Chizik’s turn to pull out all the stops. But in the end, hard work and diligence will be the stuff that produces results. For those of you who contend that “if Saban would have thought of this idea, you bammers would be saying it’s the greatest idea in the world,” you need to get over that thought. Because the truth is, Saban would never stoop to such a prank. He doesn’t have to. Right now, Alabama football is a Mercedes, and we all know that these cars sell themselves without gimmicks. Amazingly, despite a decent ride, Auburn football has fallen from being a dependable Honda Accord to becoming a Suzuki SX4, complete with the Suzuki man out front making a fool out of himself in an orange jacket, fake nose and wig. Right now gimmicks are the best Auburn football can do, so don’t knock them.

But don’t ever mistake a gimmick for diligent work. And don’t kid yourself into thinking that a recruit and his family can’t tell the difference either.

—Intheknow72 provides commentary from time-to-time on issues involving college sports in Alabama.