Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drew Brees and Peyton Manning on Character

Here's a Super Bowl story you could use to reinforce characteristics like compassion, friendship, priorities and acts of kindness:

Drew Brees and Peyton Manning: Winners On and Off the Field

A pro Quarterback is tough.

Physically tough: on every play, he’s the target of 300 pound defensive linemen whose primary goal in life is to plough quarterbacks into the ground before they can get rid of the football.

Mentally tough: drawing upon his knowledge gleaned from countless hours watching films of the opposing team, he knows that the position of that tackle typically betrays a blitz on a third down and short yardage. With the final seconds of the clock ticking away, he calls an audible – changing the play at the line of scrimmage to hopefully reverse an impending disaster. His words can’t be intelligible to the defense, so he yells it in precisely memorized code, like this Manning audible recorded live in a game - “deuce right 255 times block slant, h disco alert 12 trap…no!, no!, no!...alert 14 belly!”

But mental and physical grit doesn’t imply meanness. In fact, get to know the 2010 Super Bowl quarterbacks and you’ll find, not the men you’d most fear in a barroom brawl, but the guys you’d call for when you desperately need someone who truly cares. Let’s take a brief look at their lives off the playing field.

Peyton Manning will tell you up front that football is his fourth priority, tagging along behind God, family and friends. 1) And these aren’t just words he conjures up when he speaks at schools. He lives and breathes them. He called home almost every night in college, having a huge respect and affection for his parents and brothers. 2) His college town also remembers his numerous visits to children’s wards in hospitals and inspirational talks to school kids. 3) And he’s loyal to his friends – like Drew Brees, whom Manning, as a pro, befriended when Brees was still in college. Peyton called him regularly to encourage him. For Brees, Manning became a mentor to go to for advice. And who knows, perhaps that encouragement and advice gave Brees that little edge that allowed him to take the 2010 Super Bowl away from Manning. But hey, football’s only the fourth priority. According to Peyton, friendships trump sports. 4)

While many players spend their free time relaxing with video games or watching TV, Drew Brees is more likely to be found meeting with a group of community leaders, scheming ways to improve the lives of the less fortunate. According to Brees, “…this is my outlet. This is what I love to do.” 5) Beyond his vast service to the local community, he’s travelled to faraway lands like Afghanistan and Kuwait to encourage troops who risk their lives and miss their families.

Both run foundations, through which they funnel large amounts of time and money to worthy causes. The Brees Dream Foundation gives millions of dollars for cancer research, caring for cancer patients, helping children who face adversity, rebuilding schools, parks, and playgrounds. Peyton’s PeyBack Foundation gives millions to programs that assist disadvantaged youth.

No wonder Peyton received the 2005 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which honors players known for outstanding volunteer and charity work. Brees received the award the next year.

Few of us can equal the performances of Manning and Brees on the field. But after all, football’s just a game, low on their list of top priorities. What makes their success more fulfilling is how they use their platform and wealth and time to help the less fortunate.

What can I learn from Drew Brees and Peyton Manning? Get off the couch; turn off the TV, and go make a difference in someone’s life.

Sources: 1) Manning, by Archie and Peyton Manning, with John Underwood (New York: Harper Entertainment, 2001), p. 362 2) p. 9 3) p. 7 4) Face of the Enemy, by Rick Cleveland, Clarion Ledger, 2/7/10 , Will the Student Take Down the Master? , Joe Fortenbaugh, National Football Post, 1/29/10. 5) Peter King, The Heart of New Orleans, 1/18/10, Sports

(Copyright J. Steve Miller, , 2/15/10)

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1 comment:

MJunaid said...

I was eagerly looking for this kind of story, I hope lot of guys will love reading this story.
Character Education Resources