Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6 

My dad used to cut them off right from the beginning.  A new shirt out of the bag immediately meant looking for scissors to cut the irritating tag. I wondered why he didn't just wait to first determine if the tag would bother him. His mission to eradicate the irritant was with the same resolve he shewed flies from a car while driving.  

Sunday at church, I found myself shifting in my seat and mind, agitated. Strangely, I wasn't sure if it was the message or not. I tried to tag the cause of the irritation.

Just to let you know, I am not one that removes tags from clothing upon first receiving them. I have lived with tags on most of my clothes. It makes sense to have directions for maintenance at hand.  At times, I have had tags remain on shirts that scraped the back of my neck or flipped up too often causing others to claim they needed to dress me. 

Even those few that I claimed out loud needed to be taken off because they highly irritated me, I tolerated way too long before I took the time and effort to cut them off.  A few times, tags clearly needed to be cut off because they ruined the look of the outfit.  The tag could be prominently seen through the clothing, and I have definitively ripped them from the material much to the chagrin of anyone standing near me.

Like choosing whether to leave tags on or not, I would suppose it takes me time to reason through the muck of thoughts and feelings to process what agitates and moves me. It can be a slow Sunday walk to figure the trigger of my agitation. I wish it were as simple as rolling down a window to release a fly buzzing around my face. But the thoughts buzzing in my head just don't always seem to present themselves as quickly or clearly.

What often begins as a stirring in my heart  isn't always obvious at first to my brain.  I usually struggle to figure out the reason for this chosen emotional impulse of agitation. I can struggle to find a label for it.  To label it,  I have to be patient and wait for the thoughts secretly flying behind the source of it to land clearly in view.

Sometimes the confusing feelings and chaos seem to rear up rebellious insurgents within my own heart's ranks. Literally, I feel at war within my own heart and thinking, between what I experience and my thoughts about it, between what I experience and adequately expressing what I feel about it, between what I believe and how life is happening in the real world, between what I hope for and what I am willing to work for, between what I will tolerate as inconsequential in the realm of life and what I will determine is of utmost importance in the scheme of life.

Moving through the mound of thoughts seems a bit like sorting through a hoarders belongings. Somehow, I end up at a pile that I thought I had sorted. It is the slow figuring to seek what the heart is finding. Like the thousand voices that vie for my attention, today I try to give attention to what I see and hear in order to press out the wrinkles that are forming around the doubting and questioning eyes of my heart.

Sunday, processing another person's thoughts about change seemed to create an entire wardrobe of new tag choices for me. My thoughts about change come with a myriad of alternatives and decisions and perspectives and experiences and consequences. Would it be so much easier if change were a simple yes or no decision from the beginning, if I chose to just rip the tags from from the new shirt or not?

Yet, I do not just rip the tag. There are maintenance issues to think about that go along with this change. There are vital directions to understand and choose and follow. Each change brings content choices.  These tags serve a relevance and provide necessary information. Change, in my mind's reality, is more of an evaluative process like a slow drawl speech.

I may need to put the tagged shirts through a real life wash and wear cycle before I decide if the tags will remain. It will take me time and real life experience before I make a choice about the change.

Being certain about my ideas and conversations on change may take awhile, a processing, before I realize that it is really me that chooses these thoughts. It takes me time to be certain these changes are true representations of those things I desire and deem as truth. Once I sort through these tags, these possible irritants and aggravations, the impact of the tag ( the directions) will be what changes my involvement in the entire process of change.


When change keeps buzzing around like flies, and I keep swatting in all directions, I am ever mindful of this process:

Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of the God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Friday, February 21, 2014



Some days we are clogged in the gutter, hands stuck in the built-up frozen muck and mire that stop-leaks our souls to sing. 

Some days we cling to the edge of patience for sanity. Our wild-eyed windy thoughts rage across our cold hearts, whirling far and wide with no settling rest.

Some days we slip fall fast face down this walk, slapped hard to the unforgiving cold concrete, weighed down by the bags we carry.  

Can you see the bunny?

We huddle hide to the tree to escape our captive heart's white-out. 

Yet comes the drip by drip...drip by drip the freeze moves...drip by drip His blood slow spills real over our souls...drop by drop His voice pierces our snowbound thoughts...drop by drop words storm our buried souls...drop by drop the melt bores a crater hole into our hearts...drop by drop the gentle melt of a life laid bare slowly seeps hope.

This desperate sounding jargon we refuse to label and leave solely whirling the baggage claim. 

Our heavy-sigh exasperation will still freeze-dry the soul. Our spinning round  blindness will still dizzy overwhelm the eyes of our heart. 

Claim it or not; these life moments seem to sweep through our heartland fast, furious, and easy.  These moments we all live to survive. 

These moments lived by high school girls (yet penned in my voice), who claim crazy spinning exasperation from overwhelming baggage, whirl around all of us.

These are the I never seem to measure up to what I want to be or others expect of me moments. 

These are the why does what people keep telling me is so important right now in my life really seem to have little meaning or significance for my tomorrow moments. 

These are the you have no idea how hard life has been already, and I just want something to be easy moments

These are the UGH I am so frustrated with ME because I keep doing the very thing that I don't want to do moments.

These are the I just want to live risky, yell loudly, cut hard, and eat until I make myself sick, but I don't want to know why I do these things because they strangely bring relief and provide the control I crave moments

These are the I just want some one, any one, a friend who sees me as talented, smart, loving, beautiful, moments.  

These are the I want to hide behind my appearances and hope no one finds out what I am really like because they would be disappointed in what I have done and thought moments. 

These are the I am supposed to be grateful for my life, but I can't see anything to be happy about moments.

These are the I keep failing to live up to what I profess and stand for moments.  

These are the I don't see  how this Jesus impacts my life when everyone around me says He does moments.

These are the I wish this Jesus that holds me strong, would take me away from all this falling over the edge mess moments. 

And if 
those storms 
of doubt 
by teens 
are not yours, 
then we adults 
are stop-leak 
to our gutters' 
frozen avalanches. 

Yet comes the drip by drip...drip by drip the freeze moves...drip by drip His blood slow spills real over our souls...drop by drop His voice pierces our snowbound thoughts...drop by drop Words storm our buried souls...drop by drop the melt bores a crater hole into our hearts...drop by drop the gentle melt of a life laid bare slowly seeps hope.

And today I pray the snow blowing, the shovel digging, the frozen ice picking melts the burden you carry away. I pray for those days that we are overwhelmingly frozen still in our gut, in the gutter of our life, and we beg for the drip by drip that melts the freeze and frees our souls to sing. 

Girls (and you too), today I will pray for the storm that avalanches your soul!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


"But I want my kids to hear that doing what they do, and learning about who God created them to be, is a joy to watch as it unfolds. --Brad Griffin 

This began with an article,
The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids about Sports (or Any Performance)  by  Brad Griffin, Associate Director of Fuller Youth Institute, who referenced an article by student leadership development expert Tim Elmore  whose research discusses the most encouraging words a parent can say before a competition without getting into performance:

1: Have fun
2. Play hard
3. I love you

Then, after the competition say these things:

1. Did you have fun?
2. I'm proud of you
3. I love you.

I love to watch you play! These were the words college athletes wish to hear from their parents.

While ALL of those were accurate, I dared to say that MORE NEEDS TO BE SAID. Thus, my list began, and here are my final remarks.


Playing hard means  BEING ALL IN, being wholly committed with energy and enthusiasm. The backbone of this is commitment. Commitment to what? to the team? to myself? to my personal skills? to winning? YES!

Commitment to anything involves setting goals for self-improvement but also for excellent performance for your team. 

Commitment drives better decisions on those difficult days when things are not falling into place and skill improvement is at a standstill. Commitment implies a mindset for immediate efforts, but also understands the longevity of accomplishment. It is step-by-step progression for the duration despite exasperation. Of course, there is self-examination, drive, push, and the will needed to battle through adversity and criticism. 

Let's face it. Who hasn't wanted to just avoid practice on a given day? Who hasn't felt like they were dragging and just couldn't run the court quickly or come with an Olympic size effort to every practice? But the decision to work as best as possible through all these days breeds further commitment.

I hear the parents chiming in now that they just want their children to have fun and not get all concerned with this life long commitment to a sport, these early morning practices, these traveling days, these long-night games. 

But one day, kids see playing the sport as not so fun when losing is frequent. Continuing to play hard despite many losses and still calling it fun is a hard attitude to posit and to sustain without some immediate gratification for our efforts.  Suddenly, commitment will be greatly needed. 

Because one day, life itself might just wrestle us down hard and pin us to the mat.  How will we grapple then? What reversals and maneuvers will we have to escape to battle another day? Or will we call full submission and and tap out?

That's why the simple, developmental goal setting needs to be established early on so that kids begin to see the joy in the small and individual accomplishments being part of a overall team plan and sport dedication. Truly, this is where the game becomes less about competition and more about playing for true love of the game. It requires a bit of simple forethought and intentionality.  It requires input and mental direction from a coach or parent. 

Dale Carnegie once said, "If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don't want to be." 



Just don't!  No really! I mean this with my stomping foot and whole heart and soul.

When you quit, you leave behind a coach, a team, and teammates that built a foundation of hope for a season on you; you say NO to those you said you would represent when you decided to commit to your team. There is morale lost when a team has to juggle to refigure when one piece of the puzzle, no matter significant, drops out mid-way.

I can catalog right now the many reasons kids have and you have for your child to quit mid-season. Yet, as a coach, I can also still say, don't let those be the reason your YES became a NO.

A team doesn't have to be a forever friend; but if you chose it for that time, then give it the dedication that you set out to at the beginning.  Let your YES at the beginning of the season be a YES all the way to the end of the season.

Parents have excused their kids and allowed them to change their minds about remaining on a team for all the reasons we can think. We parents need to use our words to steady our children's emotions and hearts and minds and help them choose dedication, perseverance, and commitment. Where else will the simulated battle get any easier?  Life's battles will certainly be much harder.  This is the practice game to teach them to keep up the good fight. No excuses.

If all the other points on commitment and mental fortitude and perspective were spoken into your life, then this one will be less of struggle.

And at the end of the season, if you cannot redeem the feelings or reasons for quitting, and all efforts have been made to resolve the heart issues, and if it still seems reasonable, then choose it when the time is right, at the end. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


When being involved in sports or band or robotics or dance or chess club or _____   (insert whatever hobby or interest you have ), we parents really just want to watch our kids enjoy the process.  We really don't want the kids so hung up on performance that they develop anxiety (this surely seems to be what is happening a lot). After all, this is a voluntary activity and who volunteers for turmoil and torture, right?

Yet, many times our game responses, both in actions and words, heighten the level of expectations and tension already being self-inflicted. The pressure leveled is that of a haunting giant.While many parenting experts are telling us to say nothing but the basics of I love you, I am proud of you, and play hard, I believe that we need to provide giant mental guidance for our kids who are now involved in sports and activities in record numbers.

According to research which admits the numbers are probably much higher, in 2011, 28.7 million United States students ages 8 to 17 were playing organized sports, more than the population of Texas today and most of Oklahoma. (http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/9469252/hidden-demographics-youth-sports-espn-magazine).   We cannot let the opportunity pass by to speak into our children's lives, especially when they are spending a large portion of their time and energy focusing on activities that are developing their thinking about themselves.

So I continue with my rant that MORE NEEDS TO BE SAID:

Writers don't suddenly believe they are writers because they penned one piece.  Even if an acclaimed author tells me my writing is good, I couldn't be sure it wasn't a nicety or fluke.

Just as physical strength is developed through a good regimen of lifting weights, mental strength  must also be gained through continual workouts. It takes much practice at gaining the right perspective about our performance.

It takes practice to get to the place that mentally we don't fall apart when loss is imminent or we find that we are by far the underdog, that we determine that we can continue with the same zeal and effort when the critics corner calls us to cowardice, that we find joy even when a moment bleeds painful, that we recall our love for this sport when we don't love the current mind games.

Mental strength gains are gradual, and mental muscle atrophy is quick when the right muscles are not flexed frequently. Often these muscles are most accurately massaged with the right thinking.  And while I love you, I am proud of you, and play hard are the foundation  for all these muscles, there will be more building blocks needed to fortify the kind of strength necessary for the long haul play through life's games.

Consider this quote from one of my favorite players, Michael Jordan:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games.  26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I've failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed."

Parents, friends, coaches, and teachers will need to add the verbal blocks to build strength into these muscles. Let's battle to build one another up: MORE WORDS NEED TO BE SAID.


Sometimes, we have asked our kids what the coach said about a particular game or how he spoke about the team's play to recap a team performance.  Mostly, we do that for balance because some coaches just don't have the balance when it comes to giving perspective on a team or an individual performance. There is no place in any activity for being berated and boxed with words.  Encouragement comes in many colors, but it doesn't come in that color. My son has expressed ( and been blessed) that he knows that his coach cares most about who he is in life outside of the basketball court.  With that kind of foundation, he will better hear critiques for improvement.

When 34% of girls and 61% of boys from all grades 3-12 say sports are a big part of who they are, then we better be sure what is being used to build who they are becoming.  The words that coaches and teammates and teachers are speaking are like drops in a bucket; they all hit the soul, whether good or bad, and create a ripple effect of thinking for the rest of life.  We may have to apply some band-aids and salve with our inserted words when some of these words become misguided missiles.

These sporting activities simulate the competitive world our children will live in at large. Why not take the opportunities to develop the correct neurological synapses while we have the chance.  These words may make them more empathetic and cooperative performers in the future work place.

We've been fortunate through the years to have many car-pooling opportunities and friends whose kids play the same sports as ours.  Sometimes, as the boys bantered and ranted in the back or in the basement, it was that car-pooling parent that nudged a more correct perspective.

The mob mentality created by the back seat rhetoric may need to be squelched or redirected by a voice of calm reason and encouragement.  Often parents are mistakenly more voyeuristic, however, thinking they don't want to stifle conversation or be known as the meddling mom. Sometimes, kids' banter is just funny light humor, not deep seated unsound thinking.

One time my oldest son's friend was ranting in my kitchen that his football coach was constantly on him, constantly telling him what he was doing wrong and needed to do better.  From this, he deduced the coach didn't like him.  I provided another perspective.  I told him that perhaps he should be thankful, to which he gave me the you don't even understand look.  I told him he should be thankful the coach was talking to him and seeking him out to direct him, for when the coach isn't talking to him is when the coach doesn't really care to improve him as a player.  When the coach doesn't take the time to give him pointers, that is when he should worry.

It pays to listen and speak into the kids' lives to discover when better strength and perspectives are needed.


We were fortunate to be able to attend most of my kids activities.  Even grandparents and aunts and uncles, and friends come to watch their activities. Not every child is so fortunate.  Sadly, not every child has parents that are proud of their children just because of who they are, not how they perform. Even still, some parents would profess they are proud of their children, but their proclamations from the stands relate otherwise. Every person in the bleachers, standing on the sidelines, watching from the corners, needs to be a cheerleader for all the kids that are performing, not just their own.

A friend told me once that I didn't have to come to watch her daughter's game because she doesn't play much anyway. Whether she plays or not, I went to support  her and her team.  I went because I wanted her to know she was valued to me, whether she got playing time or not, whether she played a good game or not.

Sometimes, the parents in the stands relate more performance anxiety than the kids. At my oldest son's junior high recreational basketball game, a mother sat in the stands and yelled directives at her son the entire time he was on the court.  I couldn't focus because I worriedly winced every time she called a new command to him. I am sure she made him a nervous or embarrassed wreck. Finally, after warning me that he couldn't take it any longer either, my husband turned around and asked her to be quiet and leave her son alone.
          It was brave; it was bold; it was necessary.

This cultural illness of  a parent believing he is measured by his child's performance is contagious. To eradicate it, we need the other people in the stands.  That's why grandparents and friends and aunts and uncles are a valued commodity at games. They can calm parents, watch, cheer, and not get all wrapped up in the performance of one child.  Some parents feel they are measured by their children's performances and value to a team. Grandparents and friends and aunts and uncles just love the child... no pressure needed... no panic necessary.


During sports, band competitions, scholastic bowls, or single-handed hobbies, parents cannot abdicate the opportunity to provide wise thinking and perspective for their children's fragile growing hearts and minds.  They need to be strengthened with the right glue so they aren't later undone with wrong thinking.  When their thinking is distorted and warped, we need to speak perspective.

MORE NEEDS TO BE SAID ALL ALONG THE WAY (My final points on this subject to be written another day.)

Monday, February 17, 2014


"But I want my kids to hear that doing what they do, and learning about who God created them to be, is a joy to watch as it unfolds. --Brad Griffin 

I know I am going to catch some guff for setting sports up as a primary mode for learning life's important lessons. For those of us that are or were athletes, we get it.  For those who abhor claiming such a title, please substitute your hobby when you were young in place of the sport as you look through my looking glass.

My daughter was not an athlete, but she was in the band and all these lessons could apply to that activity, also. But since I played sports and now have the perspective of a mother and a coach, I will speak from that court.

My brother sent me an article The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids about Sports (or Any Performance)  by  Brad Griffin, Associate Director of Fuller Youth Institute, which referenced an article by student leadership development expert Tim Elmore  whose research discusses the most encouraging words a parent can say before a competition without getting into performance:

1: Have fun
2. Play hard
3. I love you

Then, after the competition say these things:

1. Did you have fun?
2. I'm proud of you
3. I love you.

The article went on to say that college athletes most love to hear these six words: I love to watch you play

I realize this is research with data to back it up and yet wondered if that statement was true in my life. Probably by the time I started to play college volleyball, that comment was true.  By then, enough coaches had attempted to fine-hone my skills that I might not have believed my parents negative or positive criticism anyway.

Yet, I had to really analyze what I had said to my kids when they were growing up.  I may have said a lot more to them than the suggested three statements.  While we don't want a culture that is riddled with performance anxiety, I have had to speak into my children's world through sports to combat false paradigms.

First off, I do agree that we should always play a sport because we find it fun. Also, we always want to know no matter how we played, win or lose, good or bad performance,  that our parents are proud of us and love us.


So I have said a lot of words through my kids' years from little league through high school, but what I have said were used to teach lessons that are necessary for life at large, not to just make my child perform better in the next game.  My experience in sports makes me disagree with the Mr. Griffin.  I believe MORE DOES NEED TO BE SAID.

As a teacher, if I tell a child that I love him, he may believe me because, after all, I am a teacher and loving kids is what I do. But what about the days a child misinterprets my actions?  What happens when what is good for her seems really hard to her. MORE MAY NEED TO BE SAID.

When I claim I am proud of a junior high student without further explanation, he doesn't believe that blanket statement.  He quizzically stares in wait of the why.  

So here I quickly contemplated what else have I said to students, athletes, and my own children before and after games because I believe more needs to be said.

Just these last couple weeks through the job interviewing process, I had to remind my 24 year old son as he left our home to return to his home in Chicago and start his new job that he is this company's new asset.  He learned that way back when he was chosen for a high school team.  He learned that he was wanted and needed. He was a valued member of their performance.

However, at times, sports also tear away at the very fiber of confidence they can build.  While he is a very skilled game developer, in high school he may not have felt as valued by the coach as other members of his soccer team.  He recognized that the soccer players' value was represented by their playing time, especially on a senior night when the coach barely allowed him to play.  It took our words as parents to sort the emotional entanglement of  his heart judging his value by a coach determining his value to the team. MORE WORDS NEEDED TO BE SAID.

Family, team, clicks, gangs...we all want a place to belong.  We long to be safely placed under the covering. Yet, once kids hit junior high sports, they may begin to struggle with coaches and other players.  The child that once loved this sport goes home and complains and feels pressure. Parents begin to wonder why their child would even want to play this game they profess to love. Parents' first outlet is to blame the obvious change, the coach. Yet, the switch from giving students equal time to play to developing a team that can compete successfully  requires coaches that work to find and develop the best niche for each player.

This is the first time that some young minds will begin to be challenged to accept the true concept of TEAM. The mind that pushes himself to understand and develop his roll on the team no matter how small, will thrive. The player that only assesses playing time will feel defeated and quit. The pressure imposed by life and on jobs will  require continual personal evaluation, change, and adjustment, and because of that life lesson, MORE WORDS NEED TO BE SAID.

Whoever is taken out of the game to sit on the bench and complains it's not fair;
whoever squabbles with the referee that the call is not fair;
whoever complains to the coach that their child's playing time is not fair;
whoever complains that early morning practices are not fair....to these people I say that FAIR is not part of the game. Yes, you will hear me say that LIFE IS NOT FAIR....

In sports, I tell my athletes that they will live and die by the referee, not to let any one call affect their playing the game mentally strong. There will be calls that seem clearly unfair and unreasonable to us, and to those sitting on the opposing bench, they will  appear to be most accurate and wise.

In the classroom, I explain with words that I may not always treat students equally, but I will be fair.  Then, when I treat students differently, they hark "that's not fair." Fair is giving each student what he needs; it is not treating every student equally. In our day and age of fighting for equality, we need to remember that we are also fighting to meet a diverse group of needs.

Tori Veldman, my niece
Teams have a diverse group of needs depending on the opponents' skills.  If one athlete's skills aren't able to combat the opponents' strength, another option may be attempted.  When one student has struggled with serving during a game, no matter how much better she usually is, I may substitute her out during this given game. To those that say it isn't fair, that it depletes an athlete's confidence, an explanation may be beneficial. MORE WORDS MAY NEED TO BE SAID.

I've watched American Idol for some seasons now.  Clearly, some contestants who strongly believe they have talent, should not have been encouraged to attend even the audition phase, even though this makes for funny television. I call this the Grandma syndrome. Grandma always tells you that you are good because she loves you. Yet, Grandma may not be helping you face reality.

I am not saying some kids shouldn't play sports, but I am saying that when the games become competitive play, then some kids will be cut from teams because they are not ready for that level of play. 

I know I don't have what it takes to sing on the American Idol level, no matter how much I want to hold the microphone high and belt out a Whitney Houston song. That doesn't mean that I am horrible or that I can't sing in church or that I can't bring enjoyment to my students by singing to them in class (ahem). It does mean that I am definitely not what that TV show needs.

It is true that some athletes will later develop with perseverance and a great work ethic.  Good coaches may be able to determine those opportunities and not cut those kids.  However, some coaches will make mistakes. Even Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team. Admittedly, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. reserve the right to tell some musicians to return for auditions the next season because they are that good.

When someone else determines you are not good enough for their stage, MORE WORDS MAY NEED TO BE SAID.

I realize I have said many more words before and after the game that really weren't about performance but rather life.  Performance anxiety is a rampant real life illness, and if words can combat the stage  fright,  I think we need to say them.

MORE WORDS WILL NEED TO BE SAID....(to be continued...)

Monday, February 10, 2014


"Give what you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think."  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There was talk of LEGACY... 
the NFL MVP.

But that was before Peyton's  team was annihilated on Sunday.

This year, I  must admit, I only watched Super Bowl XLVIII because of Peyton Manning.  The fact that he was in the game made me host a small party. I hoped it would be a proud Mama moment at the end of the game as he evened  the sibling score of two Super Bowl rings. 

That seems so silly, I know. It is only a game. It is so like a  woman to watch only because you hope for the quarterback.  But you have to understand that this was the man whose shirts my football loving son wore. This was the man we stood in line to get autographs from when my son was young. This was the man who played football in our backyard during training camps at Rose Hulmann  in Terre Haute when my football son's dreams were not yet won.  

I watched the Super Bowl game to watch the man Peyton play.
(I had a secret camaraderie maybe because I had immense admiration for the bravery this man displayed as he dared to stare down a defensive line after his neck surgery, the same painful one that I endured.)


It was a super season quicksand sinking game before the second quarter. 

It was marred. It wasn't seamless. It was a rough  pigskin mess.

It wasn't the usual display of Peyton's perseverance paid off; we kept waiting for the turn up field. 

It was bad to the bone, bared before millions.


But I DARE to say a brave baring before millions: Sitting on the sideline bench with his helmet donned, chin down, and eyes lowered, he wiped a tear from his cheek.

And this IS the stuff of legacy.  This is the message I want  passed down to my son. Not this particular game or even so much this man's name. Not his startling statistics but rather his life logistics.

If you know anything about this man at these game moments, Peyton came at this game ready: He read, researched, analyzed, planned, coordinated, and implemented. And  yet LOST.

So forget the number and title legacies and remember our lives are legacies to be lived out loud. This man displays strength of spirit.

Be ready in season and out with passion and a full heart and forgiveness and without pointing fingers or collecting shame.

Peyton bares the responsibility to leave a legacy. When it is our job to leave a legacy, we have to work at leaving a good one.  Work at it with all your being. Put on the full armor before every game time, not just the big ones. 

Then once we gear up we can STAND in EXPECTATION at the line!
No competitive athlete expects to lose but he knows it is within the realm of the game.  By the nature of a game, not everyone comes out on top.

So if you dared to watch, Peyton's Super Bowl XLVIII game display readied us for life. 

Even when he lead with full expectation to win and the world seemed to be at his back, he fell flat.  

We may fall hard even when we are most prepared.  We may be surprisingly sacked face down on the ground only to have to get up to face a brutal sea of swarming hawks again and again. We may miss the message and run forward when others expected us to pitch from some other place. We may not communicate our next move well, leaving others to question and wonder what we are thinking. Others may dare to even question our usefulness and  impact.

In life, there is more than one way to win as I expect Peyton has figured out by now.  The warrior with the least points can still be the winner. Legacy leavers define winning differently. They define the winning moments; they are not defined by winning moments.

And a legacy leaver is a winner who is often defined by his worst moments. A winner is defined in the moments after their greatest pursuit. When the accolades have stopped being flung and Saturday's mentions of MVP award have turned to Sunday's shards of shame, a winner is defined by that to which he clings. 

And Peyton defined his legacy in those moments for my son, for all the sons of football.

He STOOD and clung to his EXPECTATIONS.

He stood before cameras and tapes and said he expected more from himself.  He expected the fierce play of the other team.  He expected to be placed here in front of questions and concerns, win or lose. He gave what he had and it was not enough. He expected to give a better performance.  When his chin dropped and his lips pursed together, he didn't point fingers or slink away in a tantrum of turmoil and anger, as we expect others to do after a loss. 

And this is exactly the legacy I expected: He didn't give his heart away. He still raised his banner of no excuses, sacrifice, commitment, honor, brotherhood.


Because legacy leavers are those that push forward despite the score. They play for more than one game, one super win.

Legacy leaders redeem their team even when they can't redeem the score.  They are less afraid of looking bad and more afraid of not looking brave.  They look defeat in the face and plan to kick its pigskin off at the next chance. 

Because this is more than a game to them.  It represents who they are in life. 

People sarcastically commented that his reputation is still in tact, as if he feared he would lose it. Legacy leaders fear not measuring up to their own standards, regardless of the measures others place on them. 

And his legacy is exactly as EXPECTED. He joined my senior son, my second round high school football playoff defeated son, in knowing that we are only truly defeated in the game and life when our heart and soul can't get up any longer. We are only defeated when we throw the towel in with accusations and excuses, when we play the blame game on everyone else. We are never defeated, down and truly out, until we proclaim we are.

So Peyton, we all have to look up and rewind the tapes a time or two and then throw them in the box of history where they belong, if we want to get ourselves off the floor. Stats can be pulled out of the hat like records in a box and played over and over, but then they are broken and forgotten. 

YET, a legacy lives beyond the books. A legacy hands down memorabilia that is elusive but life altering.  

A legacy breathes life into other champions.