Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Image/"Good Word"

I stumbled across this on the Georgia Tech message board and had to share:


Recently, I have been struggling with my need for control. Audra, who has assisted me in track for the last five or six seasons, constantly slams me as a control freak. Don't fret-- Audra is amazing and she slams me very lovingly. And she's right. John, my assistant wrestling coach of the last 4 seasons, would testify the same.

It's just me. I have to be in control. I probably work too hard because I find it difficult to delegate. I prefer to be the driver, because I am in control. I gravitated towards individual sports such as wrestling and track and field in high school because I did not have to depend on others to get me the ball, set a screen or block up front (though I adored running the sprint relays). I like biking fast-- but only if I am in control. I don't do drugs or get drunk, not as much for a moral reason but because the result is I lose control.

The part of me that needs control probably stems from two things: a lack of faith and my own insecurities. I struggle with faith and trust. My entire faith has been a struggle of faith. Many relationships have been damaged because of issues of trust. The few times I have to miss wrestling practice or I am caught in a meeting, John likes to say, "Thank you for trusting me with practice". Part of it is jokingly, because he understands how little I like to give up that control. Part of it is sincere, because I think he understands that he has my trust and confidence.

I believe that the other issue is rooted in my feelings of inadequacy. If I do not prove myself constantly, then I am a failure. I must always be in control because, going back to trust, if someone else falls short it reflects on me. And then I fail. So I choose to do it myself. Much of my life has been trying to prove that I was adequate as a teacher, coach, friend, brother, student, athlete or whatever I was trying to be at the moment.

On the cross, Christ said "It is finished" (John 19:30). There lies the beauty of the Gospel. There's nothing to prove. It was finished there on Calvary. All my failures do not define me. Part of the glorious nature of the Bible is that it was filled with "failures": Moses, Jacob, David, Peter, Thomas, Paul.

If nothing else, all the snow we have received this winter reminded me that I am not in control. The cancellations of school, wrestling and constant adjustment we've had to make to our lives are reminders that no matter how much we think we have it together, we are not in control. There are things in our lives that our out of our control. The question of faith is: Do I believe the things out of my control are under control? If I do, there is hope for relationships, careers, dreams and desires.

There is hope for me yet. I'll come around, I'm working on it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday. Colts-Saints should be a great game. Two great cities, two great teams and two great quarterbacks. You have classy coaches, respected owners and loyal fans. Here are some thoughts on the two stars of the big game:

Peyton Manning- Yeah, I understand that he can be overexposed. And all those hand signals and audibles before the snap can get annoying. But he's so good at what he does and here's the evidence:
  • Dude is smart, but he also studies like no one else. He is always watching film and between series he is looking at photos and making a lot of the adjustments himself. No one is more prepared than Manning and no one is better at making strategic adjustments than him. Peyton was blessed with a lot of talent, but he works as hard as anyone else. When he showed up to do Saturday Night Live, he arrived at NBC studios with binders of stuff he had studied and was diligently taking notes during planning. If he takes SNL this seriously, imagine how serious he takes Sundays.

  • Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon: The Colts drafted two no names at wide receiver. Peyton's favorite, Marvin Harrison, was not resigned last season. Anthony Gonzalez, the slot receiver who played so well last season, was lost for the year with a knee injury. What do they do? They develop gems from gravel. Collie came out of the 4th round from BYU. Garcon? He was drafted in round six from Division III Mount Union. I believe that "champions" make those around them better. Michael Jordan did that. Drew Brees, of the Saints, does that. Peyton and the Colts do that so well.
- Drew Brees - I like Drew Brees, because he has achieved so much at so many levels in spite of the "experts". He is not supposed to set passing records and be the starting quarterback in the Super Bowl, but here he is. Signed in 2006, Brees has embraced New Orleans. The Crescent City needed a hero and Brees was that on many levels through his gameplay and his charitable efforts.

"Winner" might be one of the most overused cliches in sports. We've really watered down the meaning. But I mean it when I say Drew Brees is a "winner":
  • A three-sport star, he led Westlake High School (Austin, TX) to a perfect 16-0 season and a Texas 5A State Championship. Both were firsts in school history. Despite being the 1996 Texas 5A Player of the Year, he was not recruited by the Texas powerhouses: hometown Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Texas Christian. At 6 feet even, he was considered too small. His college choices for football: Big Ten bottom feeder Purdue and Ivy League Brown.
  • At Purdue, a school overshadowed by Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, etc, Brees was the Maxwell Award (for best college player) winner and a Heisman finalist in 2000. That season, he led the Boilermakers to their first Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance since 1967. Winners overachieve and make those around them better. Brees took Purdue past the tradition powers of the Big10 conference to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.
  • Most scouts thought Brees still too small for the NFL and that his arm strength was inadequate. Still, the San Diego Chargers took him in the second round of the 2001 draft. He beat out the famous (though old) Doug Flutie (see video below) for the starting job.

  • In 2004, the Chargers drafted NC State quarterback Philip Rivers with the 4th pick in the NFL Draft. This was essentially a vote of no-confidence for Brees. Rivers held out of training camp and Brees played the entire season and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
  • In 2005, Brees injured his shoulder while trying to recover a fumble. A free agent, Brees was offered a very un-lucrative contract with the Chargers (they basically chose Rivers) for someone who was just voted into his second consecutive Pro Bowl. He wanted to go to Miami, but Nick Saban (aka Satan), did not believe his shoulder to be healed. So Brees ended up in New Orleans post-Katrina.
  • And what has Brees done in New Orleans? Rallied the city behind the Saints (remember, the Superdome was a Katrina refugee camp), given money to local schools, started the Drew Brees Foundation, and advocated locally and nationally on behalf of the city of New Orleans. Oh, and he took the Saints- formerly the "Aints", who wore bags over their heads to games, one of three franchises to never play in Big Game- to their first ever Super Bowl appearance.