Find a way to hang onto your goat so you can deal with your nemesis’

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An apocryphal story and an ancient word come to mind when I think of Nick Saban, the Alabama coach, and Les Miles, the LSU coach.

The old saying has to do with Seabiscuit, the popular race horse, who was prone to be nervous or agitated or both in his early years. A friend told the horse’s trainer to put a goat in the stall and it would relax the horse. The trainer did, and Seabiscuit relaxed.

Seabiscuit was winning and winning big after they gave him a goat, but the time came when a mean person who wanted to stop Seabiscuit from winning the next race stole Seabiscuit’s goat. Thus the saying was born: “Somebody got his goat.”

It is used today to describe as person who is nervous and agitated. In the case of Seabiscuit, the trainer just got him another goat, and the horse began winning again.

Now consider the ancient word nemesis. It has a long and convoluted history that goes back to Greek mythology, but my favorite definition is short and sweet: It is someone who can make you look stupid without really trying.

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