Read this at your own risk. It's going to get political. It's going to get racial. It's going to get you thinking. And it sure as hell is going to get real.
I love this country, with all my heart. I also love football. Next to auto racing it's my favorite sport. One of the absolute best shows on TV is A Football Life on the NFL Network. It tells the WHOLE story of famous football players. From childhood, to NFL stardom to the Hall of Fame, and unfortunately sometimes the bad places poor decisions can leave you. I have players I love, I have players I can't stand. But when you see the long odds some of these players face, and their ability to have that singular focus to make their dreams come true, it causes you to reflect.
I watch the NFL. I told you I love football. Colin Kaepernick decided to make a statement during the national anthem. President Trump thought he should weigh in to stir the pot. The NFL Commissioner and the owners all wanted to get on this negativity train. I've had my moments with the anthem. My family knows very well where I stand. To keep peace, we typically just turn the channel, or I leave the room. When I am at a live event, I stand respectfully, but really don't like the creative license some "performers" take with the song. I love football. You are not going to politicize it, and take it away from me. If you choose not to watch the NFL, that's fine, I love football. I enjoy it, entertain me. Step away from Facebook for a minute, have an original thought and look for the good. STOP PAINTING WITH A BIG BRUSH AND BROAD STROKES. STOP THE NEGATIVITY. YOU. STOP.
Today I just watched an episode of A Football Life. It was about Aeneas Williams, an outstanding corner back. In college he focused on his studies, didn't even play football until his junior year. He played on some pretty bad teams, never complained. He wound up in the Hall of Fame. He actually wrote his obituary. If you know the end, it makes everything else getting to the end goal easier. He talks about dying empty. Think about that one. Die empty. That means you got all you could out of this life. You met your potential. You did all you could, left it all here. That puts "all in" to a new light.
In 2014, Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson MO. His killing sparked racial unrest in Ferguson. At the time, Aeneas Williams and his wife were serving a church in St Louis. The mayor of Ferguson reached out and asked him for help. Aeneas went into the community. He wanted to listen, learn and see what he could do. Mr. Williams was born in New Orleans. His parents were both in the home, and well educated. As he met with the youth in the area, he really had a difficult time understanding their situation. Many of them without fathers, some raising themselves. He wanted to understand their perspective. As he was meeting them on the street, and he finally understood where he could help, he told them, "don't get stuck by what's happened, get moved by what can happen". I had to stop the show, rewind it, and make sure I heard what he just said, blew me away. He is there in that community, showing everyone, black and white, to "get moved by what can happen".
I was born a white kid in rural northern Indiana. I don't have a lot of perspective of southern racial interaction. I don't need it. Aeneas Williams has shown me what to do. How can I help the kids at The Methodist Youth home "get moved by what can happen". That's all the perspective I need. How can you help them get moved? I'll talk to anybody, anytime, anywhere about these kids. I need to tell their story, and show them how to get moved by what can be.