People constantly harp on sports’ ability to be inspirational. And I understand it because of what goes through our minds when we watch a game. Why is it so instinctual to find something to root for? Why do “we” use the royal “we” when the team “we” cheer for wins (as in “we won” when all “you” did was drink a beer and eat some hotdogs)?
What about sports inspires us? For some of us there is a personal connection. For some of us it’s a pure admiration of the athletic excellence on display. But for most of us sports is a retreat from a world where victories aren’t so easy to categorize. Watching the Philadelphia Eagles play these past two seasons has provided me with a rollercoasters of emotions more than I can remember as a sports fan. I will say in my personal and professional life I have also been experiencing a strange mixture of highs and lows.
This got me pondering what if any message can be distilled from my favorite sports Franchise. And besides the obvious cliché (Never Give Up!!). I came up with a few things. First, Victory is always improbable but never impossible. There are mathematical equations that can explain the odds you are up again in any endeavor. But there is only one thing you need to know. You are one of many who want the job, the car, the house, and your significant other. However only you made it there. You beat out all those other people who wanted that slot. However likely or unlikely it is be proud of where you are and how you got there. (Unless you are a member of the Trump Administration or a Kardashian/Jenner).
Second I would say be ready when opportunities present themselves. Nick Foles isn’t the first backup QB to win a Super Bowl and he definitely won’t be the last. His career hasn’t been smooth sailing. He went from 7 touchdowns in a single game to being benched in St. Louis to riding the pine in KC. On the verge of retirement he decided to give it a go and ended reaching the highest pinnacle in sports. And now he’s defying the odds again. So much so that some people have moved beyond the improbable firmly into the impossible (by suggesting that the Eagles trade Carson Wentz and stick with Foles).
Lastly I would say never be complacent. You can enjoy your accomplishments but get back to work as soon as you can. “What Have You Done For Me, Lately” is more than just a song by Janet Jackson. It’s basically what every person invested in your success says two days after your latest win. Part of actually believing in yourself is to approach the next mission with the same vigor. You did this before, you can do it again. And Mitigating Circumstances be damned.
I guess I actually didn’t avoid the cliché because I’m about to say it here: Never Give Up. I won’t quit just because it gets hard. It can be emotionally draining to deal with hardships but the next win is around the corner with that win be confident in the fact that you’ve already defied the odds simply by being here now in this moment.