There might be some who are able to transcend the process, but for most, in order for you to be great at something, you have to want to be great, and you have to dedicate yourself to greatness. It’s hard to achieve something unless you’re striving for it, and I’m sure the vast majority of those who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in some form or fashion, had ambitions of getting there one day.
Alan Faneca did, even if his wife had to remind him, a story that he shared recently during a radio appearance on the WDVE Morning Show following the news of his being officially elected for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year.
“I kept a notebook every year of all my notes from game preparation or things that I needed to work on. I literally still have 13 of these notebooks. I kept all of them, and in the front of them, I would write goals, things I needed to work on sometimes”, he said. “I had forgotten, but Julie remembered, I had written in there as a goal, ‘make the Hall of Fame’”.
Following a 13-year career that saw him reach the Pro Bowl nine times and be named All-Pro eight times (including six times on the first-team offense), capturing a championship along the way and featuring a signature career-defining play, he finally got there this year, even if he had to wait longer than he should have.
An LSU product and a former first-round draft pick, it was easy to predict when he was coming out of college that Faneca was going to be a good one. But you can’t be great at this level just by being skilled. You also have to have the drive and determination and the work ethic. And you also need the opportunity—which he says is easier for linemen than skill players.
“When you play wide receiver, you’re asked to do things. You may be a good receiver, but you’re on a running team, and you can’t display everything you can do”, he said. “As an offensive lineman, I felt, ‘I can do that, man. I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna work my best, and work hardest’. And you set that goal that’s way out in the distance and just really hard to touch and you try and go get it. I had forgotten that until Julie mentioned that yesterday”.
It’s a hell of a thing to forget, but it’s a matter of record that it was one of his driving goals during his playing career that he wanted to strive for greatness, and to achieve the ultimate individual honor in the sport. Those ambitions paid off and then some, I think it would be fair to say.