Giving of yourself for higher goals and purposes is always the high road. Brett Favre proved that for 270-some straight games for the Green Bay Packers. Playing through pain, broken bones, cracked things, sprained things, coughing up blood, he put himself out there for a higher purpose, for the benefit of his team, not himself.
Granted, football is not the ultimate purpose in life, but the character one develops during the process can certainly be related to the disciplines, attitudes, commitment, desire, and teamwork that one experiences while practicing, preparing for and playing the game. And solid character is one of the purposes of life.
Favre continually sacrificed his body to relentless defensive assaults, and did whatever else he could, to help his team win. We understand that type of commitment and probably all share the same kind of admiration, appreciation and respect for him for such faithfulness.
Lt. Col. Greg Gadson also knows what sacrifice is. The U. S. Army officer lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq last May. He put himself out there for his country, and it cost him more than most NFL players or any of us ever have to pay.
Gadson, who went to West Point, played football there with New York Giants' receivers coach Mike Sullivan. Sullivan and head coach Tom Coughlin brought the courageous Army officer in to address the team before the Washington Redskins game. Having already lost their first two games, both coaches were hoping that Gadson would be able to give the struggling Giants some needed perspective and inspiration. It worked. New York went out and beat the Redskins and turned their season around.
So what did the Lt. Col say to them to spark such a turn around? He told them to: 1) concentrate on the mission, 2) never give up, and 3) always believe in each other. We cannot know what it was like to be in the Giants' locker room that morning, looking upon a soldier who's own sacrifice makes anything one can do on a football field seem insignificant, but we can see what such perspective and inspiration does for a group of men who have had that experience.
The night before the Super Bowl, Lt. Col. Gadson once again addressed the team. This time he spoke of, "pride, poise, team and belief in each other." Of course we now know that the Giants listened once again, and went out and won it all.
So things like mission, never giving up, belief in one another, team, pride, poise not only work for a war-zone Army unit, but they work for the guys in a huddle as well. Is it any surprise that Vince Lombardi himself learned much of his football coaching philosophy while coaching at West Point? These traits make you indomitable.
And once committed to these common noble values, the sacrifice of your own things, or yourself, for the benefit of the team is part of the personal price you pay for success in a mutual effort. Favre proved that. Gadson proved it more.
And now the New York Giants' Corey Webster has proven it once again. Webster, who intercepted now-retired Favre's final pass in the NFC Championship game, which then led to a Giants win, has demonstrated sacrifice like Favre and like Gadson.
In a moving display of respect, honor and appreciation for what Gadson gave for all of us Americans, Webster has given that iconic ball, legendary quarterback Brett Favre's very last, to double-amputee, Lt. Col. Greg Gadson.
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