Last night I went to dinner with my son and grandson. They were talking about football, the Detroit Lions, and the Lions’ history of wins and losses. This led them to a bit of nostalgia for Barry Sanders, the former Lions running back, now retired.
Said Nate Sr., “Sometimes it didn’t matter whether they won or lost, you watched the game just to watch Barry Sanders and see what he was going to do.”
Since I’ve never been into sports, I asked what made Barry Sanders special.
That question led to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cxZ1u9RMxk (37 seconds)
And this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBhn1wMyzV4 (10 mins.)
I had goosebumps watching those two videos. Like I said, I’ve never been into sports at all, but I recognize excellence when I see it, and I appreciate those who have something special and use it whether they’re winning or losing. Winning probably mattered a lot to Lions’ players, their fans, the coaches, those making bets, and anyone else who loves sports, but like Nate said, sometimes we can watch the game just to enjoy the moments of excellence.
We are in a Barry Sanders moment in this country. Are we headed for a civil war? A financial crash? Is there going to be a food shortage? What will happen with the election? Is the U.S. going to break up? We have the ball and there are pressures bearing down on us. We could be tackled from any direction by any number of forces intent on preventing us from winning. But I think we have to do what Barry did: dodge, twist, turn, leap, change directions as needed, look for the hole in the forces arrayed against us, and run like hell toward the goal.
Barry Sanders was a little guy, only 5’8”, but he was fast, he was light on his feet, he was alert, and he was supremely flexible. It didn’t matter that the forces arrayed against him were huge, heavy, and coming from every direction, all of them ready to pile on.
Each of us is a little guy compared to the forces we now face. I think it’s time to decide if you’re going to be around long enough to help build a new civilization. If you have any doubts about your abilities, go back and look at that first video link in which it appears Sanders is being tackled by linemen coming from all sides…then suddenly, there he is taking a step back, watching as they all crash into one another, while he remains unconcerned because he’s watching for the opening, sees it, and leaves them all on the ground behind him. Like an aikido expert, Sanders uses their own forward motion to stop them while he deftly pauses and waits for the perfect moment to continue his run toward a touchdown.
Do not get caught in your own forward motion pushed by biases, agendas, self-righteous outrage, demands for your version of fairness, or whatever else pushes your buttons. The journey is about navigating wisely, so be light on your feet, alert, flexible, and quick to change as needed! Above all, never think for a moment that you’re too small to succeed. The goal is a world that works well and smoothly, fosters personal growth, and allows for a little laughter, song, and dance along the way.