What Gets You There, Won’t Keep You There

ADVOCACY / My father was 17 and my mother 16 when I was born. I am proud they are still married 53 years later. Growing up with parents who loved each other and remained married is an essential part of my life. In 1963 my father was a first round pick from Michigan State to the Kansas City Chiefs, I was 5. One of the highlights growing up with my National Footbal League (NFL) father was attending practice with him every Saturday morning for thirteen years. During the drive to the Chiefs Stadium we had great conversations. We spoke about life and the game of football. Like most fathers and sons, our conversations were short and to the point.

My father, Ed Budde, earned the reputation as one of the toughest ever to play the game of football. He talked to me like he played football, which meant, he was focused and intense! Having a conversation with my dad was often a double edged sword. On one hand, the sword of truth excited me because he gave me the real-scoop on things which I had actually watched him accomplish and yet, I was scared to death to ask questions about me and my accomplishments. I knew if I were to ask him to compare our football talents he would speak the truth, despite on what side of the talent fence I fell!


Finally, one Saturday morning I woke up and decided that I had to know, “do I, Brad Budde, have the talent to make it all the way to the NFL?” As our car entered the freeway heading north to Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, I began to experience nervous shakes! Today was judgment day. I had determined to ask my no-nonsense father if I had the “goods.” I took a deep breath and with all the confidence a sixth grader could muster, I mumbled, “DDDDaaaaaddddd dooo yyoouuuuuuu think that someday I could become a Pro football player like you?” To my horror, nothing but dead silence! Of course, I assumed the worst. All of a sudden, I felt something touch the top of my head. It was my fathers BIG PAW, gently touching my head and to my relief this brought me comfort. My father’s hand was known as a weapon used to dominate his toughest NFL opponents, but today, it became the instrument of my “knighting.” He spoke with a clear, firm voice, “Brad, yes, you have the talent to make your NFL dream come true, but son, your talent alone will not sustain you. “

Big “Ed” continued, “to survive and thrive in a competitive environment you need an ADVOCATE. An advocate is the person in authority to whom you are accountable. Seek the advocates EXPERTISE and ask them to teach you how to make all the right moves. When your advocates define their directives, give them exactly what they want, how they want it and when they want it. Talent alone will only get you only so far, longevity requires learning the art of developing a strong relationship with your advocate!”

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