The Cubs are in the midst of playing 33 games in 34 days. It’s a reminder as to why the Major League schedule is referred to as a marathon season–162 games in roughly 180 days.

Furthermore, it explains why the month of August is known as the Dog Days of summer. Teams have more than 100 games in the books; players’ bodies are battered and beaten; the weather is dry and hot; and there’s still 50-plus games to go. It’s a grind.

But August is a key month in the pennant races, a time for the contenders to separate themselves from the pretenders: Good teams keep poised, remain focused and drive towards postseason baseball while lesser teams loosen their guard and succumb to the temptation to mail in the remainder of the campaign.

We’ve all experienced our own dog days, a time when the mere thought of taking an off-day is pure fantasy: the crush of a holiday sales season, moving into a new home or caring for a sick family member, etc. And it’s during our dog days we can understandably lose focus, make costly mistakes or simply choose to mail in our own season. The excuses are plentiful, if not justifiable.

In the Reverse The Curse office hangs a framed speech by the great Vince Lombardi, who reminds us winning is a habit–whether we’re in the Dog Days or the Golden Days. When we look at that picture hanging on the wall it’s our reminder to keep grinding–especially when it’s the toughest of times and we’re dog tired.

If you don’t already keep a ‘dog days’ reminder in your own workspace, make it a priority to get one; you’ll need it soon enough.

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing … And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.”

-Vince Lombardi