“Bring the Wood”
Why would a football coach give each of his players a baseball bat?
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton gave each member of his team a baseball bat with the inscription “Bring the Wood” on it. This may seem crazy –I mean, what does a baseball bat have to do with football?
Payton’s idea was to fire up his team in their playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals. The results were spectacular.
- One newspaper reported, “The New Orleans Saints found the ‘on’ switch.”
- “Not only were the Saints healthy, but they were so fired up to play a meaningful game for the first time in three weeks that everybody on the field looked as if he was shot out of a cannon…”
- More than anyone on the field, it looked like Bush couldn’t wait to break out of the starting gate once the playoffs had finally arrived.
- “[Reggie Bush] sprinted past honorary captain Deuce McAllister after the team was introduced, holding a baseball bat with the inscription “Bring the Wood” that Payton had handed out to all the players Friday. Then he stayed out on the field, bat in hand, firing up the kickoff coverage team before the opening kickoff.
- “These types of games are the games you live for. As a competitor, as an athlete, this is what you work for through the offseason, training camp, the preseason, ” said Bush, who showed as much toughness as he did speed Saturday, fighting for first downs on short gains and lowering his shoulder into defenders. He finished with 84 yards on five rushes and 24 yards on four receptions, plus 109 yards on three punt returns.
- The Saints’ defense brought the wood, too.”
- McAllister was supposed to lead the Saints out of the tunnel and onto the field. Instead, it was Reggie Bush, once and now again his teammate, holding a black baseball bat, with the words inscribed, “Bring The Wood.”
- The Saints brought the wood, all right. They crushed the Arizona Cardinals, beating them up and down the field in a 45-14 rout that sends the Saints to the NFC championship game for just the second time in the franchise’s 43-year history.
Why would giving baseball bats to football players be effective?
The baseball bat embodies and inspires a mentality of crushing power.
You’ve heard me say this before, but if Payton had handed out 28 inch rattan sticks (or even hardwood sticks), the ploy would have fallen flat, and resulted in zero inspiration.
This is why it is important not to view the weapon as an extension of the hand; each weapon has its own unique characteristics, its own spirit. A fighter who grasps the essence of the rapier will fight differently than someone who is attuned to the baseball bat. Picking up the baseball bat is not just a matter of swinging a bigger stick, even though I have seen some treat the big stick as just that, a short stick, only longer.
In reality, the bat and the big stick guide the warrior toward power, toward simplicity, toward a sense of overwhelming power. It is a matter not of hitting, but of crushing. It is a concept that spills over into all other areas of contending, so whether you are swinging a bat, or punching, or playing football, you “bring the wood.”