Remember in grade school when you would go to a rival school and just hate on the opposing team and their fans? Then, the following year, you'd move on to the middle grades or high school, where everyone was combined. Suddenly, that rival sat next to you in class, or was your teammate, and bam...new best friend.
That's what fantasy football is to me.
For the record, I bleed Indianapolis Colts blue and white. However, like the schools combining, fantasy football made me reconsider players I previously hated. Case in point? Tom Brady. As any real Colts fan will tell you, we loathe the New England Patriots. Their rivalry was one for the ages, man. It was easy to bandwagon the hate against Brady. Pretty boy looks, supermodel wife, the list goes on and on.
A few years ago now, a buddy asked me to play in his fantasy football league. I didn't know then I would be signing up for an addiction. I also had no clue that during the draft, Tom Brady would fall to me as my starting quarterback. (Mom, that's the guy who throws the ball.) Cut to Aaron weeks later rooting for Brady to throw another touchdown.
Little did I know then my respect for Tom Brady was only just beginning.
Tonight kicks off the NFL season. Packers vs. Seahawks. I've been waiting for this Fail Mary rematch since Game of Thrones ended. Oh, and what's that NFL? You say Sunday you're also giving me my Indianapolis Colts vs. the Denver Broncos?
I love me some football season, though I do miss the weather changes. Quite the scrawny guy in high school, (yeah, 110 pounds!), I didn't think it wise to throw down against the gridiron giants. Still, every fall I miss my Ball State years of rounding up guys to slog our way through mud in some tackle football.
Ah, the glory days. ;)
Anywho, back to Tom Brady.
I remembered a cool contest NFL.com hosted last year called Together We Make Football. Applicants would make a video of themselves stating why football was important to them. I watched more than a few of the submissions, but none stood out like Heidi, (even if she did mention being a Patriots right off the top).
I kept watching anyway and loved the excitement in her voice. Her creative passion alone spoke to me, but she won me over with the mention of that doubting voice every artist hears in their head. You're not good enough. Your work isn't good enough.
How many times have I heard that same voice? Thought I. How many times have I fought the voice back down?
That doubt is always there, lingering in the depths, waiting for a negative review, to whisper in my ear again. I think we all struggle with that it, and I promise you I'll call B.S. on any creative spirit who says they don't hear the voice.
Heidi's video package was such a great piece, however, because right when you feel awful for her story, she brings you back up with her respect and mad love for Tom Brady. Listening to her rattle off the "expert" list of Brady's shortcomings is laughable when you know what he's accomplished. My favorite two lines are the broadcast announcer saying, "Tom Brady...just...won't...quit." And, later, Brady's response after his scouting report is read back to him.
After I watched the video, I realized that, like Heidi, I too thought Tom Brady has been considered one of the best quarterbacks ever. Obviously everyone had to know that, right? Sooo I researched him and learned he's been a career underdog: 7th on the depth chart while in college, went in the sixth round of the NFL draft (199th overall), and even then only got his start for the Patriots after a Drew Bledsoe injury.
I love quotes and Mom sent me a good one the other day that I find very fitting for this post. "Champions aren't made in the ring. They're merely recognized there."
No one starts at the top. Not even Tom Brady. You have to fight that doubt every single day. Forget the haters. Bust your tail so when opportunity knocks, it's no big deal. You've prepared for it all your life.
My respect for Mr. Brady hasn't stopped since learning more about him and the internal fire he keeps burning. In fact, just the other day he made laugh again when I read reporters asked him when he might give up football. Brady's response?
"When I suck, I'll retire."
Couldn't have said it better myself...but I'm still rooting for the Colts come game day.
For those interested in watching Heidi's video, click here. I dare you not to tear up.
Author. Actor. Rascal.