LIFE’S EQUIPMENT BAG
ü The Adversity Advantage
Good players inspire themselves. Great players inspire others
Drew Brees, six-time NFL pro-bowler and 2010 Super Bowl MVP, almost wasn’t. As a sophomore at Westlake High School in Austin, he found himself as the back-up QB on the JV squad, while his brother started as the varsity QB. During two-a-days he thought, I’m never going to see the field. Why am I wasting my time? I’m more of a baseball player anyway.
He was ready to quit, but his Mom talked him into staying and the next week the starter on JV tore his ACL and Drew was on his way, or so it seemed. As a junior, and now the varsity QB, he led Westlake to a 12–0 season, and the college offers began pouring in. However, tragedy struck between his junior and senior seasons as he too tore his ACL. After a six month recovery the letters and phone calls stopped and he went into his senior year not being recruited by anyone. Brees ended up guiding Westlake to the state championship game and a 16–0 record. Drew recalls that the only two schools that called me were Purdue and Kentucky. They said, “Hey, we’re throwing together a recruiting class, you want to come play for one of us?” Those were my only opportunities. He chose the Purdue Boilermakers and the rest is history.
Adversity is an equal opportunity offender. Every player faces adversity and it hurts. Veterans and rookies alike can be blindsided by it.
Many players believe that, if they play just right nothing bad will happen to them, they’ll side step adversity. But adversity isn’t picky about who it tackles. Every player has or will be knocked back by adversity.
Sometimes we bring adversity on ourselves, sometimes others are to blame, and sometimes adversity just comes and finds us.
Adversity suits out in disappointments, blown calls, injuries, losses, and failures to name a few. When adversity strikes most players are tempted to respond in surprise, anger and or confusion. Why did this happen to me?
Adversity looks like an enemy, and when it first hits it’s hard to see it any other way. But adversity, given time and handled correctly, can serve as a friend to player development.
… Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. James 1:2–4
Adversities advantage is found in what it reveals and the opportunities it provides. It’s an unexpected opening in the line of life, offering a shot at greatness. However, it can strengthen or shatter. It can deepen desire or drive to despair. It brings out the best or the worst. It develops character and exposes when character is lacking. It ignites faith or extinguishes it. It either drives one to the Coach or away from him. There is no third position.
I think anybody who’s achieved some level of success has had their fair share of adversity along the way. And in the end, it’s that adversity that has created the opportunity for them to be successful. Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints