Why not you?
Despite your level of interest in professional football, it’s difficult to escape the tremendous hype that surrounds one of the worlds most talked about sporting events, the Super Bowl. Whether it’s the Starbucks cashier who asks if you’re going to watch “The Game” or your co-workers who simply can’t contain their excitement about which commercial will steal the show, Super Bowl frenzy is everywhere.
As a former football player and high school football coach, I’m not going to lie and say that the game has no significance in my life. The player in me craves the feeling of intense competition and the will to win that each of these athletes possess. The coach in me secretly wears the invisible headset, constantly strategizing and looking for that edge (mental or physical) over the opponent. Having said this, it’s not the game itself that intrigues me the most, but rather the human interest stories that make up a large part of the media coverage in the days leading up to the game. Stories that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the person underneath the pads and the adversity they may have encountered along their path. While very few of us can relate to the challenges of playing professional football, we can all relate to the terrain and landscape of a much different game; the game of life.
Perhaps the most intriguing behind-the-scenes story of this year’s Super Bowl was that of Russell Wilson, the starting quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. For the casual fan, he appears to have many of the same characteristics as other NFL quarterbacks; a high football IQ, a strong arm, and outstanding leadership skills. However, when you get a glimpse of the person underneath the pads, you will come to realize that he has spent his entire career defying the odds and refusing to allow his critics to define him. At only 5’11”, it was common for the “experts” to profess that he would never play quarterback in the NFL as his size would always be a limitation. Armed with a relentless desire to succeed, Russell found great comfort in something his father had always told him, which serves as a golden nugget in this story. He simply said, “Russell, why not you?”
Russell Wilson’s story transcends the game of football. I’m quite sure that everyone reading this has been told by someone else (maybe even the so-called experts) that it just can’t be you. Maybe you were too young or had too much to learn. Or perhaps you were too “green” and lacked the proper credentials. Who knows, it could have been that you were too ambitious and lacked a realistic approach. Whatever the nature of the opinions, they don’t have to define you. If you want something badly enough, then take the advice of Russell Wilson’s dad. In a world that may continue to tell you that it just can’t be you, choose to embrace the motto “Why not me?”