Unless you live under a rock, you know there was a Super Bowl recently, and you know that the Broncos took a beating. Since I live in Boulder, CO, I can attest – it was really hard to watch and massively disappointing. My husband didn’t wear his Broncos hat (which I thought was surgically attached to his head) for an entire week!
And if it was disappointing for fans, imagine how this crushing loss must have felt to the Bronco players, and in particular, Peyton Manning. Manning is one of the greatest players of his generation and arguably in the history of the game. This season, he led the Denver Broncos to the statistically greatest offensive season any NFL team has ever had, and earned a record-breaking 5th MVP title. Yet he has only triumphantly raised the Lombardi Trophy once in three tries.
So imagine for a moment being Peyton Manning right after the Super Bowl. What are your thoughts; your emotions? Would you be pissed? Would you be running the blame-game in your head thinking about whose ass you are going to kick when you get back to the locker room? Would you feel demoralized and hopeless knowing this could be your absolute last opportunity ever to play in a Super Bowl?
Not if you are Peyton Manning. Now arguably, I don’t know Peyton personally, and I would not be so bold as to claim that my psychic powers can reach into his mind. However, what I do know is what Peyton did as he was leaving the field that night. Peyton went out of his way to check in on on Seattle’s trash talking corner back Richard Sherman who suffered a high ankle sprain during the game. “That,” in Sherman’s words, is “class.”
Peyton may not have earned another gawdy Super Bowl ring, but he demonstrated the inner qualities of class and graciousness in spades. He is a living, breathing, man-ifested example of, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Because in the game of life, you WILL lose. No matter how well you’ve prepared, no matter how badly you want it, no matter how good you are, in fact, even if you are the best – you WILL lose – at least according to the rules and standards of the average and the mundane.
Greatness, however, is not concerned with winning or losing; it plays on another field. Greatness plays on the field of “higher purpose,” where you get to choose who you are becoming. Peyton showed up. Played his best and lost the game in spite of it, but he chose to take the opportunity to cultivate personal greatness even in the hard reality of defeat.
Take away: I have a favorite query from Rev. Michael Beckweth, where he encourages us in times of personal challenge to ask the question, “What (spiritual quality) is seeking to emerge through me as me?” Is it patience, kindness, compassion, integrity, discernment, fortitude, love?
What is that spiritual quality that is seeking to emerge through you as you?
Seek that and you will win. Achieve that, to even the smallest degree, and you are a champion. Pursue that which your soul is calling you to become, and you will never look back in disappointment on what could have been.
Image Credit: USA Today
Post Inspiration Credit: James Holmes of JamesHolmesonline.com (pssst – check him out!)