Building a Legacy Through Sportsmanship, Not Game Wins

by omni

I’ve always held the opinion that football, not baseball, is America’s sport. Even non-football fans make guacamole and gather around the TV every year to watch the Superbowl. You can’t say that about the World Series. During this year’s Superbowl, I cheered on the Seahawks and shamefully performed a victory dance in my living room after every touchdown from the offense and every interception from the defense. However, as much as the Seahawks embarrassed the Broncos, I (and I think many fans of any football team) will always have respect for the Broncos’ quarterback, Peyton Manning. In the Denver Post, Broncos fan Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann contributed a great article called “Dear Mr. Manning…” about the respect many have for Peyton Manning and she hit the head on the hammer: ultimately, the respect really doesn’t have to do with his technical skills; rather, it has to do with his gracious sportsmanship. Laurie begins by saying that she’s no football expert, but she is a football fan and a mother with two boys who are two of Peyton Manning’s biggest fans. She writes that legacy isn’t based on statistics; it’s based on something much less tangible than a trophy. She writes: “Legacy is something handed down that matters. It is something that matters to young players and athletes and kids looking for mentors to help them find their way. You don’t hand down Super Bowl trophies. You don’t hand down NFL MVPs or franchise records. And you don’t hand down touchdowns, statistics or win-loss records. You hand down an example of work ethic, of courage to come back after a career-threatening injury, of humility in victory and graciousness in defeat, and of perspective on one’s own accomplishments. That legacy matters, and that’s why yours is untarnished even‚ and especially‚ after Sunday’s loss. It matters that you’re professional in the way you talk to reporters. It matters that you give credit to others‚ coaches, teammates, mentors. It matters that you don’t give up in a bad game and keep fighting no matter the odds. It matters that you take time to write hand-written notes to fans and sign autographs‚ even after crushing defeat. It matters that you know the difference between being embarrassed by your team’s performance and just not being the best team on the field that day. And it matters that you meticulously prepare to play the game … and encourage everyone around you to do the same. Laurie argues that it’s Peyton’s character that sets him apart from his peers and predecessors and that is what he will be remembered for years after he retires. Read the rest of Laurie’s great article on The Denver Post here.

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