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Thursday, March 08, 2012
What I've Learned from Peyton Manning
If you lived in Indianapolis over the past few days, and you have any interest in sports, football in general, you probably are a little sad today, sad that we will no longer see #18 throwing touchdowns while wearing the horseshoe on his helmet. I am realist when it comes to these things, and I know that things change, so I am hoping for the best for Peyton and for the Colts. I find it interesting however, to watch a city like ours deal with this change. Last night on one of the local news stations they had produced an hour long special remembering the player and person Peyton Manning (almost like he had died). As a part of this special they had interviewed 6 local teenagers, all athletes, who had in their short lives, known no one else but Peyton as the Colts quarterback. The news anchor went from adolescent to adolescent asking what at first seemed a strange question, "What did Peyton Manning teach you?" At first I laughed a little because it was most likely these young people had never even met Manning, let alone had him teach them anything, but then I reconsidered. As a public figure, Manning more than anyone realizes has a responsibility to use his position in the public eye to instruct. These children have actually learned from Peyton Manning, and now that I think about it so have I. So, here are some things I have learned from our now released Hall of Fame quarterback.
1. Relationships should take priority. In the press conference Peyton and Colts owner Jim Irsay answered some questions from reporters and as a part of one of his answers Peyton relayed a truth that his father, the once NFL quarterback, conveyed to him, that this is a "relationship business". He went on to say how much he will miss the support and equipment staff and how they played an important part. A millionaire star quarterback on the day he leaves the franchise he put on the map mentions the relationships with support staff as what will be among the hardest thing to lose. This is a reminder to me that the tasks I have to do are not as important as the people that are in my life. We should spend more time on relationships than check lists.
2. It is not about me. As we have gone through the last couple of months, not knowing whether Manning would be in a blue and white uniform or not, it became clear of how different Manning dealt with the situations than many athletes. He could have spouted off all the things, that being true, support why Irsay and the Colts should pony up the money. The 10+ years of 10 win or more seasons; the multiple passing records; the superbowl; the fact the team can only win 3 games without him; and so on and so on. But he didn't. Even in his conversation with Irsay, the owner admitted that Manning was thinking about what was best for the franchise. I know, it is more complicated than this, however it reminds me that as a Christian it is not about me, or even about my role, it is about the larger plan of God and how I should be willing to set aside my desires for kingdom purposes.
3. Preparation matters. When asked what sets Peyton Manning apart from other quarterbacks, former Colts coach Tony Dungy says it is "his dedication and willingness to go all out in preparation". For those of you who are Colts fans this is not news to you. We have all heard stories about Peyton's preparation; long nights in the film room; pushing receivers on the field to be perfect with timing; always being the last to leave the Colts complex. His work ethic is unsurpassed. Don't get me wrong I do realize you can work too much and it can become a hindrance in life more than a help, but I am reminded looking at Manning that we should all, no matter what our vocation, work as hard as we can to do the best that we can. It is an inspiration and challenge to me.

So, these are just few things I have learned from Peyton as I watched from a far, and know that he will be missed. I don't pretend to know Peyton the man and I am sure he is not perfect, none of us are, however, where ever he goes I will root for him because I believe, not only in sports but in life, we need more examples like his.
posted by Ben Thomas @ 3:08 PM  
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