Before I get back to my power rankings, this week I chose to switch it up and write something about two football players’, two men who rose above tremendous adversity in their lives and were able to come out and put up colossal performances to contribute to their teams’ success. I call this piece “Inspiration” because that it the first word that comes to mind when I think about what these guys were able to accomplish while dealing with personal tragedies. The strength the courage to go out there and get it done showed remarkable heart and character. As you may see some of these words repeated, it is only to emphasize their importance:
Manti Te’o #5 Notre Dame:
All American senior linebacker and team captain Manti Te’o is widely regarded as not only as leader of this Notre Dame squad but one of the best linebackers to play in school history. A Sure first round pick in next years draft Te’o draws comparisons to the late Junior Seau. The Hawaiian native posses heart, passion, focus and execution, all the attributes that you would want in your leader and star linebacker. With his motor and drive never in question Two weeks ago Te’o would take an unforgettable detour in his life as Notre Dame faced then ranked a #10 Mich St. team. Earlier in the week leading up to the game Te’o lost his grandmother and his girlfriend within 48 hours of each other. This obviously taking a huge toll on him but never the less he decided to go out and play. With the emotion all over his face throughout the game Te’o went out there and had 12 tackles holding standout running back Le’Veon Bell and the high powered Spartan ground game scoreless. Manti followed that up with another standout and fired up performance recording 8 tackles and 2 interceptions shutting down Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines. Te’o has lead the Fighting Irish defense to holding opposing offenses to a 4th in the Nation in points against allowing just 9.0 ppg. Notre Dame is 4-0 and currently ranked 10th in the country.
Torrey Smith #82 Baltimore Ravens:
Second year wide out Torrey Smith came on the scene out of the blue as a blessing in disguise for the Ravens offense a season ago, giving them the explosive deep threat that offence has lacked for years. Getting off to a sluggish start this season with just over 100 yards combined in the first two games, Torrey was looking to have a big game on Sunday night against the New England Patriots, the team that served as their road block enroot to the Super Bowl just a year ago. Unfortunately, Smith would be hit with a devastating curveball when he learned just 24 hours before kickoff his 19 year old brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. Barley sleeping the night prior Smith decided to suit up for the game. With visible raw emotion before during and after the game Torrey delivered one of his finest and definitely most memorable game as a Raven posting 6 catches for 127 yards and touchdowns in a game that went all the way down to the final seconds in a thrilling victory for the Ravens. Baltimore is now 2-1 and sit at the top of the AFC North.
These two guys showed that football to them is more then just a game. It’s a family away from their own family. It’s an outlet in which they were and are able to honor their names as well as the ones they lost more significantly. Both of these guys were courageous examples of how to carry yourself with class and dignity when life gets in the way. We all have our daily diatribes and mishaps which seem to get us down or out of character, myself included but we all need to look deep in the mirror as to what’s really important. The message I received by these guys simply going out to play the game of football was not only a testament to their characters but an inspiration to many people and sports fans around the country. We come to learn that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but instead bringing out those dancing shoes and doing our own two step in the rain. As the little things may get to us, regardless of your own personal faith, the connection we share with family and loved ones are paramount and we must cherish the time we have with them. So my condolences go out to Manti Te’o and Torrey Smith and their families and I also salute them for going out there and balling out! Not everyone possesses the will power to have gone out there and performed at a high level no matter what your profession. These are two special men and I’m sure we will see continued success.
"Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly ... and if left unresolved for very long, you can almost forget that you were ever created to fly in the first place"
-William P. Young
" Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself."