How far will you go – I mean REALLY allow yourself to be tested – before throwing in the towel? How much pressure, bad news, or endless dead ends do you need to hit before tapping out? Conversely, how committed are you to what you believe in? Well, you don’t have to be a sports fan of any kind to have a new respect for the Seattle Seahawks, a team who redefined what it means to believe.
“I just believed,” Wilson said as he stood at his locker, taking in the emotion of the moment. “We all just kept believing in each other, and I just believed we were going to make the plays that we needed to make — that somehow, we would get it done. I believed we could overcome the turnovers and the mistakes and the adversity.”
Now for those of you who are not sports fans, don’t worry, I have not taken over blogging for ESPN. However, this game embodies what life is about more than any other story I have heard in recent years. It is about what is possible versus what is probable. It is about maintaining a laser focus into the only outcome that we believe somehow, someway… will in fact happen. For those of you that didn’t see the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks needed two touchdowns within minutes of the clock running out. Imagine being in the game that determines whether or not you go to the Super Bowl with a score of 19 – 7 with less than 3 minutes remaining. That means that in nearly an hour they had only managed to pull off one touchdown; and now they needed two… within 180 seconds.
I know we can all relate to having tried something many times and been unsuccessful. Now let’s throw in that you aren’t getting any younger, and it feels like time is running out. If you feel like that at all, or can relate in any way… so could the Seahawks on Sunday. Further, everyone around you is telling you your plan just won’t work out – just like every sports announcer saying it would be a miracle to pull off a win at this point. To shed even more light on this dismal game, Russell Wilson threw not just once or twice – but FOUR times to Jermaine Kearse and every single time the ball was instead intercepted by Green Bay. FOUR TIMES TO THE SAME GUY! If you think that’s nuts, then this takes crazy to a whole new level:
“I told (offensive coordinator) Darrell Bevell I was going to get the look I wanted, make the check we’d practiced and hit Jermaine Kearse for the winning touchdown,” Wilson said.
Yes, that’s right- Wilson threw to Kearse for a FIFTH time, to win the game in overtime. That, is when what you believe… defies all logic or reason.
Now, before this tale is done, we cannot just talk about the side of the coin that says “Believe,” without talking about the other side of the coin that says, “Quit.” The surprising group I am talking about here, are the fans that walked out of the stadium with three minutes left to go on the clock. You see, they knew beyond the shadow of a doubt the game was over. The Seahawks had lost, and it was not worth their time or effort to sit in their seat until the end…you know, the extra three minutes.
Imagine what it felt like to cross through the exit gates only to hear the wildest cheering that had happened all season. Then, to be followed by louder and louder thunderous roars in the following moments. The second they realized that the game must have turned and tried to go back in, they were quickly told they were not allowed to re-enter the game. Have you ever wondered how many times you have walked out or quit something three minutes too soon? That is the equivalent of trying for another day…making one more phone call, or asking one more person for help. What if you didn’t quit? What if instead you saw the game all the way to the end, without knowing how or exactly when…but that it would work out? What would it be like to live your entire life with that level of belief?
This is what truly believing looks like – Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse at half-time:
“I’m going to keep coming back to you and we are going to find a way to win the game.”
While we are at the start of a New Year – and new beginnings – you don’t want to be the one in the parking lot listening to the most amazing victory that you chose to not be a part of because you didn’t believe. It’s not about the how. It’s not about the when. All you have to do is have a big enough why to believe, and know the rest will figure itself out.