Youth Training: From “What a Champion Looks Like” Series (Part 7 of 8)
Humility: A Champion’s Heart
When Drew Brees, the long-time quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, broke Peyton Manning’s all-time passing yards record, he had a few wise words for the camera.
If you happened to tune in to this 2018 Monday Night NFL game, you realized just what a big deal this was. The commentators talked about where Drew Brees stood at the beginning of the game. They showed infographics and pictures and stats of Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and in third, Drew Brees. The commentators discussed how many years each had played the game, and the amount of consistent success required to even reach this highest echelon of achievement. For Drew Brees, it was his 18th season. The other two quarterbacks had already retired, and so, the announcers, the teams and the crowd were waiting in anticipation for what they believed would be inevitable: Brees passing the #2 and #1 quarterbacks for this highly prized record.
No one knew how it was going to happen. Would he squeak it out with a short corner route? Would it be a play-action pass, a screen, or maybe an out route? Only time would tell as the game began to unfold.
Within the first quarter, Brees passed Favre’s record of 71,838 yards. And then… on a 62-yd touchdown pass to Tre-Quan Smith, he did it- 71,968 yards to pass Peyton Manning’s all time record. (1)
And everyone stopped to cheer.
I mean, everyone.
His team surrounding him with chants and cheers, the fans in ecstatic uproar, and commentators smiling through their congratulatory words. If you were watching, I can’t help but think you had a smile on your face too. It was magical.
And mostly because of who Drew Brees is.
The sound bites of his live interview after the game are just a sample of his character and signifies his focus throughout his career. He credited all the receivers and coaches who worked with him through the years. He credited his family, especially his mother and grandfather, who passed away prior to this moment in his career but who encouraged him in his early days. He thanked his current teammates, Sean Payton the Saints Head Coach, and the fans. Everyone around him. And his statement was simply, “I’m just grateful.”
When he clearly could have pointed to himself and shown glory in this moment, he chose to defer and to credit those who had brought him to this victorious milestone. Instead of pumping himself up, he elevated those around him. Instead of taking personal pride in the accomplishment, he expressed gratitude for receiving it and thankfulness to everyone who helped along the way.
That’s what it looks like in real life.
So, let us never forget that we have arrived where we are because of the aid of other people. Those in the background. Those that labored and supported and encouraged and worked with us… it is their victory too.
True champions realize this.