April 25, 2017

Endurance Chronicles: Let’s Just Play

Larry, Jarie and Mike at the launch of #ENDURANCE tweet

The Endurance Chronicles are guest post and interviews from readers and interesting people that have endured hardships and struggles on their road to success. I’ll post them periodically so that we can all be inspired. If you have an endurance chronicle you would like to share, please send it on to jarie at enduranceleader dot com.

This Endurance Chronicles is an interview with San Francisco 49er Larry Grant who I sat down with at the Berlinetta Lounge during the launch of my new book #ENDURANCE tweet — A Little Nudge to Keep You Going

Special Thanks to Mike Yam of Pac-12 for being the emcee for the evening.

The transcript of the interview is below the video and audio.

Video: The Endurance Chronicles Interview with Larry Grant

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Audio: The Endurance Chronicles Interview with Larry Grant

Edited Interview Transcripts

Jarie Bolander: I wanted to do a little bit of a Q&A with San Francisco 49er Larry Grant. Not only is he a San Francisco 49er which is pretty cool but he’s a local boy. You grew up here in San Francisco?

Larry Grant: Yes sir. A local boy right here in San Francisco.

JB: So you grew up in the in the Hunters Point?

LG: Yeah, I lived some of my life in the inner Hunters Point?

JB: When did you start to play football?

LG: Well, I have always been a child of the game. I grew up watching it and playing in the streets with family and friends. I did not really get to play organized football until I was in high school.

JB: Why was that?

LG: Being that we did not have the means of getting the money because being a little guy in Pop Warner football it costs a certain amount of money to play and we were not able to raise the money so I had to play flag football.

JB: So like pickup football

LG: Yeah, pickup football in the street with a whole bunch of friends and other kids that were not able.

JB: When you first got drafted, it was with the niners. Was that a dream come true?

LG: Definitely. Growing up in the Hunters Point you can see the top of Candle Stick but you can’t see inside. Me and my friends would alway say that one day we would play in that stadium. On that day, being pick 214 of the draft for the San Francisco 49ers it was a true blessing to me and my family.

JB: Great. Great. And then you got transferred to the Rams.

LG: I got picked up from the 49ers somewhat close to the end of that season to St. Louis. It was actually a good and a bad thing. I got to play against the 49ers twice a year, that was good but now I’m just happy to be back.

JB: You guys just played them last week and tied right.

LG: Unfortunately we did tie.

JB: Yeah, but you were part of that play, turnaround, that fumble, that turned the momentum around.

I mean, I was like you know, that was a good job. I mean, my mom is in the audience. Which I won’t say what kind of swear words she says at the TV when you guys don’t do well. It was pretty impressive.

LG: I took advantage of that opportunity. It wasn’t just only me. There was others that was apart of that play, and it shifted the moment of the game and brought us back in the position to win. It didn’t come out the way it wanted to, but we still only have three in the losing column.

JB: So why don’t you tell me a little bit about how you prepare for playing in the game. It’s gotta be a lot of endurance to play football. Can you take us through a little bit about how you endure that?

LG: During the offseason, we have a certain amount of hours to prepare for the regular season. I don’t know if anyone knows about a training camp in the National Football League. I don’t know if there are too many things harder than that.

JB: A GORUCK probably? Sorry about that.

LG: When we wake up, we wake up about 6:30 or 7 am. And we don’t get home until 10 o’clock at night. And it’s a full day of football practice and honestly the most draining part of the day is sitting in the meeting room that is dark with no light and watching the TV screen and having to stay awake for almost 7 hours in the day. But you know, all that training and hard work, it just proves the endurance and the level of commitments we have to put in the game that we play today.

JB: Yeah, yeah you can clap for that.

So, you kinda have the reputation of being a loose, real easy-going guy. Where does that come from? How does Larry become loose Larry? Sorry mom, I didn’t mean it that way.

LG: Dealing with some of the things I’ve been through, I wasn’t always this guy. I was sometimes one of the rowdy guys, one of the talkative guys. Let’s get out there and be one of the rah rah guys. After my rookie season after I got cut, it brought a new vision to me. I don’t have to be this guy that everyone thinks that I am. Rah Rah this, and rah rah that. I just have to sit back and relax and do my job, and make sure that everything that I do I gotta be able to put my best forth out there. So everyone can see, I don’t have to say too much, I just have to do it.

JB: Did that come from your childhood?

LG: Yeah, you know, with my childhood, I’ve been through so many things. When it comes from moving around and having to do other things just to get what I want. I really just don’t stress anymore. Being that my childhood with my family was what it was. But as much stuff that happens nowadays, it really doesn’t bother me now, as I’ve been through before now. I’m able to get through anything, any troubles that I have now.

JB: That’s great. That’s great.

So, uh, what are some of the mantras and sayings that you use to pump yourself up? Do you have some of those that you repeat in your head?

LG: You know, I have two. One that comes from the Bible.

I can do all things through Christ that can strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13

That is Philippians 4:13. And that is from the bible for those of you that don’t know. And another saying that I’ve grown with for the last couple years of my life.

There ain’t nothing gonna come without hard work and sacrifice. — Larry Grant

And if I live by that and just believe that, that I can do that and nothing that I want. If I want it that bad, it’s gonna take a lot of hard work and sacrifice, for doing things that make you uncomfortable that makes you comfortable.

JB: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true.

So what’s the process like on game day. I mean, that’s just gotta be a lot of anxiety. I mean, I know anytime that I do an event, the five minutes before, I’m a mess, so how do you get through that? What are some of the things that you sorta do to endure that?

LG: Well on game day, like you said. You get really anxious on game day. But for some reason, I wake up every morning, every day. First thing, I get on my knees and pray and give him the thanks that I can. And I put my music on, and I just relax. And the beginning of the day, I don’t put rap music on. I put on some nice soul music, just to keep me calm. But for some reason, as soon as I step into the stadium. All the calmness in my body just goes away, for just a slight minute or two, until I get on the field. But you know I just listen to music. It kinda relaxes me. It keeps me from being uptight. You know, I’m a pretty relaxed and cool person, and I don’t get too anxious, but once I get on the field, my mood is good. I’ve done all my preparation. I’m relaxed. I know what I’m doing. It’s just time to go play.

JB: Great, great.

So, um, how about the guys around you? We’d talked a little bit before hand, that some are isolated. Some of them are rah rah. I mean, what’s the dynamic like? I mean, there’s just gotta be so much testosterone in the room. I mean, like oh my God, we just gotta get going. I know when you guys are doing the punt, you guys are doing this dance, trying to get loose. I don’t know if that’s just intimidation or you’re just trying to get things done. Kick the ball, just kick the ball.

LG: Everyone has a different way to prepare. Like some people just like in the locker room are laying down asleep before the game with a towel on their head. That’s just their way of focusing. But then there are other people who are up rapping. And whatever they have going on, singing or whatever. Music in their headphones, but everyone’s just got their different ways of preparing. But you can see their level of anxiety on their face, as you walk around the locker room. And shake hands and tell everyone good luck. You can just see the difference in everyone’s attitudes towards the game. Of course, uh the dance that you asked about. That’s the kick-off team. Our way of getting loose, having fun, getting pumped. Instead of being so tight. And just ready to go. We like to go up and have fun.

> The best way to play is to play with fun. — Larry Grant

JB: That’s actually a really good thing to know. It does sorta seem like it’s a business. It’s really serious. But in order to just get out and have fun. I mean, I think what you talked about, a little bit, about let’s just go play. It just seems like a great attitude to have.

You know, so outside of football, I mean, any words of wisdom, for how you just sorta endure fame. Obviously, since you’re a famous guy. How’s the dynamic of that coming from where you’ve come from? It’s a huge change, and it’s a great story, and I know you have a nonprofit that you’re working on. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the nonprofit, and what you guys are trying to do?

LG: Well me and my older brother LaSean. We’re working on an organization called A Better Hand Foundation. We just don’t want to work in one area personally. We want to go down in many areas.

My brother personal area is working with teenagers that getting out of Juvenile Hall. And me personally being that I was a foster care child, and I did do group homes as well. I want to work with less fortunate kids, and kids in foster care, and just show them that there is a difference that you can make, just being in group homes. And that these steps are just a process of your life. And if you just continue to say that you want to do something, and you know believe in what you believe in. At the end of the day, if you work hard, and you can get where you want to get.

JB: Yeah, because you uh, you used to go to the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club, that was just rebuilt a couple years ago. I know you were interested in giving back to them, specifically. Because they did a lot for you.

LG: Growing up in Hunter’s Point, I was one of the kids of one of the old Willie Mays. And they just rebuilt the new one Willie Mays, down the street. Up on Kiska, in the Hunter’s Point, and I’m actually going back down there on Tuesday. I’m doing some things with the kids. I’m gonna read books; I’m gonna speak wise words to the kids, and I’m just happy to give back from where I came from.

JB: That’s really good. So does uh, anyone have any questions for Larry. We can talk a couple of questions. Don’t be shy. Okay, there’s one of the back.

QA 1: What’s the difference in building schools and in educating children to endure? What’s the difference between talent, and you clearly have natural talent, and endurance? How have you separated the two?

LG: You know, uh, there are a lot of talented people in the world. I didn’t make it to where I came from on talent alone. You know, hard work, and school and all those good things you have to put them together along with your talent, to be able to make it in this world today. And you know there is a big difference. There is guys in the business that I play in now. There are guys that are way less talented than a lot of guys that I played with in the past, but they made it to this position because of the hard work they put in. You know, even though they are not as talented as others, their hardworking and drive and endurance that they have had has brought them to this position today.

JB: Any other questions? Wow, you did great.

QA 2: Who’s gonna win the Super Bowl?

JB: So yeah, uh you guys are favored to be in the Super Bowl? Yeah, we were.

LG: Yeah we probably still are, I hope.

JB: You know, that pressure is somewhat on, since the Giants won. We would love to have the dual crown, kinda thing. No pressure though, no pressure. That would be historic.

LG: We’ll talk about the Super Bowl in February. Now we gotta worry about Chicago.

JB: Yeah, Chicago is Monday Night. That will be great. One game at a time. Another question?

QA 3: Yeah so um, you know, none of us can get there alone. In Jarie’s book he talks about having a group of people around you to achieve your goals. It’s about being surrounded by the right people and the right team. You know when you were growing up, was there one person or a couple people that really helped you get through, some of the tough times?

LG: Definitely. I have a brother, who, I moved in with him in 7th grade, going into the 8th grade. His name is Jimmy Escalante. When I lived in Sacramento, CA. Being around him. Let me start from here.

One thing that my mom always told me is that your guilty by association, so make sure you be careful who you hang around with, and so, being that I got around my brother Jimmy Escalante. He helped me put my focus into so many right areas, when I wanted to go left. But having him on my side, and my older brother LaSean, when I moved with him all the way over to Atlanta, to take me under his wings and helped me become a man, from the little boy that I was, in the three years that I was with him. And I thank him for that, and they helped me turn my life around and become a better person. It definitely takes a team.

JB: For sure, definitely. Larry, thank you so much. Good luck getting to the Super Bowl. Larry Grant, everyone.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Larry Grant for taking the time to be interviewed and our sponsors which include: JSY Public Relations, Sports Basement, Players Sports Grill, Salt and Honey Catering, Massage Envy, Berlinetta Lounge and Zico.

I’m also thankful to Goruck and Clif Bar — two products that I use almost everyday.