“Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’”
They are born mere mortals.
Regular flesh and bone.
Men and women of humble beginnings.
But somehow, in ways we can’t fathom, they seize the moment, rise and conquer their foes. They burn a little brighter. Overcoming all odds to become the everyday man’s hero.
We grow up reading story after story of regular people turned immortal. Each story, different, so we keep going back for more looking for ourselves in them. Whether it be on the battle field, stage, boardroom or court, we are captivated by those that have won. We are inspired and filled with hope in a world that works daily to erode that same belief in greatness. So their renown grows with each victory! They seem immune to the darkness.
But that is why myself, and so many like me, loved Tom Brady. He was somewhat goofy, very ordinary in stature, likable smile and gentle demeanor but somehow channeled the vicious killer in himself as soon as the football was snapped. He was a David fighting Goliath after Goliath.
Each step in his athletic career was that of an ordinary athlete that worked his way into the spotlight when he was given a chance. Nothing was given to him. He rarely dominated but just worked hard and learned so he could find a way to beat you if it meant at the very last second. Death by a thousands cuts is the way he worked. His courage was his weapon. He was fearless when all others were asking if he was scared. We saw ourselves in him. He was an ordinary man that could instill belief in anyone, and because of that, accomplished incredible things.
Every middle aged person understands how incredibly difficult it is to keep persevering, believing and willing your way through life. Most of us stop at some point and just say, “It is what it is . . .” as the days just click on by. Apathy and disbelief find their home in our heart and mind. But each season for the past 22 years, we saw a guy, just like us, that could keep that fire alive and overcame the odds at so many different times.
It became more than football. It was hope, faith and belief that we could do it too in our lives no matter the odds. He consistently embodied that belief. He never spoke of his accomplishments but rather what was achieved as a team. He knew he was nothing if he didn’t lead and understand the 10 other guys out on the field. We respected his humility and leadership and reveled in his ferocious competitive nature.
So Tom, thanks for fighting with all you got . . . Every single day.
Thanks for giving people someone to believe in. Thanks for the sacrifices none of us will really know about. Thanks for honoring your teammates and coaches so well. Thanks for being imperfect so we could all see that our own imperfections weren’t an excuse to give up.
Thanks for being the man in the arena. On to the next! #lfg