Living in Central Ohio, what NFL team you root for is defined usually by a 200 mile radius.
For many families, the start of football season also means getting out some kind of Dawg Pound emblem, Who Dey t-shirt, or a Terrible Towel. We put some form of it in our front yards and on our cars. We wear it on our jerseys. The entire family, no matter how much or how little you know about the game, rallies around their team in front of the TV with Sunday afternoon appetizers and a nice warm indentation on the couch.
I grew up as one of three girls and we did not watch a lot of sports. My dad liked the Kansas City Chiefs. Lamar Hunt, my grandfather’s cousin, owned the team and I would see one of their helmets everyday after school when I walked downstairs to the basement office to work on my homework. But beyond that knowledge, I had little connection to team sports. No allegiances. No alliances. I just wasn’t into it.
That changed when I met my husband. A sports-lover from Dallas, Texas that rooted for… of all teams… the Pittsburgh Steelers. You’ll probably ask why, when the Cowboys played every Sunday just 20 miles from him. The short story: the Steelers played against his dad’s beloved Green Bay Packers in amazing gridiron fashion when he was growing up and he chose the Steelers as His Team.
That allegiance stuck– to the point where when we met and started dating, we drove almost 14 hours one weekend to go to his first Steelers game in Pittsburgh. We were living in Central Illinois and I had gotten hooked on the team and the Sunday pastime too. One of the main reasons: the cast of characters that included Jerome Bettis.
Something about Bettis was real. It was funny. He was making the most out of life and was a force to be reckoned with on the field. That’s why they called him “The Bus.” He rolled right over you, but he had a kind twinkle in his eye. I connected with that love of the game. No, I didn’t buy his jersey… but I truly liked who he was.
Fast forward a few years and it seems like divine football providence that we live in Columbus, Ohio– where you can be a Bengals, Browns, or Steelers fan and can find many bars where you’re more than welcome to watch the game. Yes, we’re busy with the kids on Sundays. Yes, I’ve watched fewer games in the last few years because of that. But, the players that I like(d) still mean something to me.
I smiled from ear-to-ear when Jerome Bettis was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night. We stayed up after a long day on the road coming home from vacation to listen to what he had to say. He did not disappoint. And one of my favorite moments was when he relayed some wisdom that all of us can understand, whether you’re a sports fan or not.
It’s at 32:03 in the video. As you can tell, the NFL won’t let me play it right off my website. They have some rules on what can and can’t be embedded.
But all you have to do is just just press play below and then click the “Watch on YouTube” link.
I can tell you this– it’s definitely worth a listen as we start a brand new week.
Greatness is not a sports term, it’s a life term.
We must sacrifice, go through pain, fail, and love what we do… to be Great.
Many thanks to The Bus– for reminding us what it takes to find success, in the moments when it’s hard to see.