Dance With The One Who Brung Ya

Darrell Royal
Vintage “Darrell Royal, Legend Of The Texas Longhorns” Vinyl Record

[November 7, 2023 – Blog] Perhaps some of the greatest lessons and quotes I have learned come from legendary athletic coaches. As I watched each game that the Texas Longhorns played this fall, I kept thinking of one of the many famous quotes by football legend, Coach Darrell K. Royal, who would often say, “Dance with the one who brung ya.”

Although this is an old proverb, the concept remains invaluable. In its purest sense, it means to be loyal to the people who have given you success in the past. On a personal level, it means you can rely on the skills that made you successful before, to push you forward again. 

For Coach Royal, this phrase meant to stick with the players and football plays that had been successful in past wins. I guess he was right because in his 20 seasons as head coach at the University of Texas (from 1957 to 1976), his teams won three national championships, 11 Southwest Conference titles and amassed a record 167 wins, to only 47 losses and five tied games. His winning record surpasses any coach in Texas Longhorn football history.

So, what can we take from his wisdom today? As much as I love to try new things and innovate, I have to admit that when the chips are down, I do just as Coach Royal said. I turn to my stable of trustworthy friends and advisors. In my book, I call them my “Rough Riders,” the people who you can always count on to ‘tell it like it is’ and steer you in the right direction.

At the same time, relying on my true skills and strengths has pushed me ahead, time and time again. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advising you to stay in your comfort zone, but rather use knowledge from past experiences as a guide.

This valuable lesson holds true in all things in life. Sometimes we just have to say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Dancing with my old pals,

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Gay Gaddis
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