Leadership: Pushing from Bottom

On the night of October 15, 2005, the USC Trojans were playing on the road at Notre Dame. As one of the biggest rivalries in college football, the Trojans and Fighting Irish squared off with much fanfare. More than 30 million viewers watch USC miraculously win with the last play of the game in a season in which they’d later go on to take the national title.

What’s important about this final play, later referred to as the “Bush Push”, is that the ultimate decision regarding the play came down to quarterback Mat Leinart and future Heisman trophy winner, Reggie Bush.

The play began with USC sitting at second and goal. The situation called, generally speaking, for Leinart to spike the football. Instead, in a last minute decision, Bush and Leinart decided to run the ball, which ultimately risked time expiring and losing the game. As Leinart was met with a strong defense, he only crossed the threshold of the goal line with a last minute push from Bush to solidify the positive outcome on a rouge decision made on the field.

This isn’t a message about insubordination. It’s a message about bottom up leadership. After all, these two kids made a decision in from of 30 million people that they, their teammates, the university, and their fans would have to live with. Without this touchdown, USC wouldn’t have been able to go on to win the National Championship.

Conversely, I find that grown adults are constantly looking up to someone “ahead of them” to tell them what to do. Can you imagine trying to score that touchdown with poor conviction let alone the audacity to make a decision quickly and decisively on your own? That’s leadership and it ultimately came from the footsoldiers of the Trojan organization.

There’s more examples to support groups and teams with heavily weighted leadership that comes from the bottom up, too. Is it any coincidence that the highest performing military groups (special forces groups) are the least topdown led groups in the military, which is notoriously rigid in hierarchy?

High castle leadership is fragile. Look in the trenches. If you find leadership there, you’re likely looking at a violently powerful team.


Logan Gelbrich   


4/24/19 WOD

Complete for time:


Deadlifts (225/155)

Hand Release Push Ups


1 Mile Run