Path to perfection

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Brad Plante
  • 509th Maintenance Squadron
Being from New Hampshire and a life-long New England Patriot fan, I was extremely excited this year watching them work their way to a perfect season. They proved their dominance in the National Football League by being the first team in 35 years to go undefeated during the regular season and the only team to have ever accomplished that feat since the league extended their regular season to 16 games. 

The most exciting was probably the final game against the New York Giants when they found themselves down by 12 points only to come back for the win in the final minutes of the game. I was on my way to Florida that weekend but was able to see the game in a sports bar a few miles south of Nashville. While the game played on, I quickly realized that even though there were no Giants fans in the bar that night, nearly everyone in the establishment was rooting for them to win. The truth was they weren't rooting for the Giants to win so much as they were rooting for the Patriots to lose. 

This seemed to be the case more and more frequently as the weeks went by and the Patriots closed in on their perfect 16-0 record. They became a team people loved to hate. It happens often in sports when a team separates themselves from the others as a more dominant force. Everyone wants to see them lose. I believe the same holds true with our great nation. 

The United States has clearly separated itself from other nations as the greatest superpower in the world. And because of that, there are many people in the world who want to see us lose. As members of the United States military we play an important role in preventing that from happening. It's critical we do whatever it takes to remain on the path to perfection. 

The Patriots have a lot of talented players on their roster but just being a talented team isn't enough to stay perfect. Their players had to remain focused on their individual assignments throughout the entire season and they had to have faith their coaches would be clever enough to develop winning game plans week in and week out. As members of the United States Air Force, we need to do the same in order to remain the most dominant air power on the globe. 

It's critical we know our jobs and remain focused on performing them to the best of our ability. We all have an important piece in the defense of our nation and we can't continue to remain the best if we don't perform at our best. In the Patriot's locker room there is a sign that states "Do your job". 

Throughout their path to perfection, this motto became an important part of their success. Every player on every down has a specific and equally important assignment, whether it's blocking a line backer or running a timed passing route. Even the guy who holds the ball for the place kicker has an important role. If any one of those players misses an assignment, the play has a chance of going bad and the team fails as a whole. 

So whether we're standing guard at the front gate or caring for children at the Child Development Center, we can't afford to lose focus on what we're doing.
We must also have faith in our leadership and the vision they've created for us. If we second-guess our leaders' decisions then we're not likely to put forth 100 percent. The Patriots players trusted their coach to steer them in the right direction. They had faith he would call the right plays at the right time and knew the practices he put them through would prepare for them for the next game. It was easy for them to trust the coach because he is one of the most brilliant coaches in the game. He's been through it before and has won three Super Bowls in the process. 

They all trusted he knew what he was doing and let him lead them down the path to perfection. We too need to trust that our leaders are the most brilliant military-minded professors in our nation and that they have the right tools and education to keep us undefeated. We might not fully understand some of the decisions they've made but we all must have faith that they're the best decisions for our nation. 

The United States is clearly the most dominant super power on the globe, and because of that there are many people in the world who have us in their cross hairs. Just like the New England Patriots, if we want our nation to remain undefeated, we need to stay focused on performing our jobs to the best of our ability and we need to have faith our leaders are steering us in the right direction. Defeat is unacceptable in this game, and it is as important as ever we do what it takes to stay on the path to perfection.