Yesterday the world watched another Super Bowl. Perhaps one of the most poignant examples of inspiration you can find. For the players on the field, it's the culmination of years of hard work. Focus, drive, and determination. These are the things needed to get to the Super Bowl. Granted, no one does hype better than America, and for that it's tempting to dismiss the Super Bowl as an overblown hype bowl. It is so much more than that though. If you look past the hype, the various stories behind the players journeys really are inspiring.
I get that professional athletes may come across as prima donnas or overgrown children at times, but for every story like that there are five examples of athletes that truly deserve our admiration. Sunday February 2nd, 2014 was not Peyton Manning's day, but it doesn't take away from what he has accomplished in his career. He's won his Super Bowl sure, but more importantly he's demonstrated what the human spirit is all about. He suffered an injury which should have ended his career, but he refused to give up. He fought back, and yesterday he reached the pinnacle of his sport at 37. Truly inspiring.
Perhaps an even more inspiring example of accomplishment, in spite of the odds, is the story of Derrick Coleman, backup fullback for the Seattle Seahawks. Coleman lost most of his hearing at age 3. He wears hearing aids in both ears, and often has to revert to his ability to read lips in the huddle to ensure he understands the play. It would have been easy for Coleman to accept that his impairment would prevent him from accomplishing much in life, but he wasn't willing to settle for mediocrity. He chose to ignore his disability. He rose above the challenges, and there is no finer example of inspiration I can think of.
It doesn't matter if it's the Super Bowl or any other sporting event. The Winter Olympics start later this week and we will be bombarded with stories of the struggles of athletes to reach the upper echelons of their sport. Yes these stories make great television, but nonetheless they are still awe inspiring. We can all look to these athletes for inspiration in our own lives. Forget about the drug cheats and poor roll models. There are so many real examples of athletes worthy of our admiration. I choose to focus on these positive individuals, and ignore the rest. Let me know what you think, are athletes truly worthy of our admiration?