Bart Starr: Honoring the Sports Veteran On A Memorable Memorial Day

Bart Starr
Bart Starr: 1934 – 2019

How sad and yet how fitting is it that Bart Starr, the sports veteran many never knew, but we all knew of, passed away on Memorial Day. His fame stretched far and his fans spread wide. And his fans, both in and outside of Green Bay, loved him.

“They loved him because as a quarterback he led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships. They loved him because he represented everything that was special about the team in the NFL’s smallest market. And they even loved him after his nine-year tenure as the team’s head coach that resulted in only one playoff appearance. And most of all, they loved him because he embodied the competitive spirit that was his coach, Vince Lombardi, during the glory years of the 1960s.”

Here’s a very nice tribute to the legend from Sports Illustrated:

“Legendary Packers quarterback Bart Starr is among the most celebrated quarterbacks in NFL history. He won Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II in his 16-year career under center in Green Bay. However, Starr’s tenure as the Packers’ head coach was less celebrated with a 52–76–3 record over nine seasons.

Starr took the criticism of his coaching in stride, according to a letter obtained by The MMQB’s Andrew Brandt on Tuesday following Starr’s death at the age of 85. The Green Bay legend penned a response to Dan Clumper of Eau Claire, Wisc. in 1976 and even thanked Clumper for his notes on the state of the franchise.

‘We are sorry to lose you as a fan of course, but what is sadder is the example you are setting for your own sons,’ Starr wrote. ‘I hope, while you are re-directing their young minds in the future, you will include tolerance so that when you occasionally err or unintentionally disappoint them, they will not lose their faith in you. May your sons always excel and enjoy the numerous rewards of athletic competition.'” https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/05/28/bart-starr-letter-green-bay-packers-coach-disgruntled-fan

Rest in peace, Bart Starr.

Is Cam Newton For Real?

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Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are undefeated at 8-0. In other words, Cam Newton is for real. He’s fit and he’s legit and he’s not about to quit. He’s got his game face on and, most importantly, he’s winning football games.

Winning is a wonderful thing. Winning cures and covers; winning soothes and smoothes; and winning pacifies and mollifies. There’s nothing like winning. And as Cam said, 8-0 is 8-0.  Nuff said. 

Winning seems to prove legacy and legitimacy, authority and authenticity; because everyone loves, or at least lauds, a winner. Winners just have to win, because, as has been said, “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” This is a well-known quotation in sports. It is attributed to UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders.

The quotation is widely, but wrongly attributed to American football coach Vince Lombardi, who probably heard the phrase from UCLA coach Sanders. Lombardi is on record using the quotation as early as 1959 in his opening talk on the first day of the Packers’ training camp. The quotation captured the American public’s attention during Lombardi’s highly successful reign as coach of the Packers in the 1960s.

Over time, the quotation took on a life of its own. The words graced the walls of locker rooms, ignited pre-game pep talks, and echoed from the rafters of banquet halls. According to the late James Michener’s Sports in America, Lombardi claimed to have been misquoted. What he intended to say was “Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”

Cam is a winner who is winning because he has the will to win. So it’s not hard to root for him as we watch his progression and admire his aggression. We admire those who win, and envy and emulate them and even try imitating them to a certain degree.

Spiritually speaking, God is a winner. God doesn’t like to lose, so he put this in us. Where do you think we get it from? So, this trait is a trust that we must choose to use, for if you snooze, you lose.

Is Cam Newton for real? Time will tell. For now, he and his team are 8-0, and on a collision course with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots or Andy Dalton (who’s he?) and the Cincinnati Bengals, also undefeated at 8-0.

So at halftime and the halfway point of this 2015 season, it appears that Cam has come of age. He won a national championship in College at Auburn. Now let’s see if he can finish in the NFL as well as he’s started — this season and in college. Because, as we all know, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

A Win, Is A Win, Is A Win

 vince-lombardi-SI Cover

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

We all want to win big. But winning big all the time just doesn’t happen. Sometimes mistakes get in the way and we barely eke out a victory.  Football mistakes include a running back’s fumble in the red zone; a place kicker’s field goal attempt missing wide right; a quarterback’s poor throw leading to an interception.  Missed tackles, holding penalties and blown coverage’s are also mistakes that diminish the luster of a victory and take away from the overall performance of a team. But what’s important is not the mistake, but the recovery.

We all don’t play football, but we all are on the football field of life trying to score touchdowns or at least kick field goals.  So, spiritually speaking, what do you do when you fumble the ball, or throw the interception, or miss the field goal?   What do you do when you miss the tackle or get caught holding or miss an assignment? You get over it.  You get over it, quickly, and keep playing.  You are not the mistake; you may have made a mistake or two, but you are not defined by the physical limitations you may have or the foibles you may make; this is true only if you get up and try again.

Winning all the time is a mindset. Winning is all about how you see yourself. Continue reading

Cinderella: Undergoing and Overcoming

Cinderella

Vince Lombardi, the immortal coach of the Green Bay Packers said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  Naturally speaking, this phrase has been overblown and misunderstood.  But spiritually speaking, Lombardi was right.  Who remembers who came in second place?  Is being the second runner-up as rewarding as finishing first?  Is honorable mention as gratifying as the championship trophy?

Winning is everything. And not just winning, but winning big. I’m not talking about the margin of victory, but the quality of victory.  The fiercer the battle, the sweeter the victory. Hard fought wins are more memorable, more satisfying, and more gratifying than all others. And so it is with life.  The life God wants us to live is about quality, not necessary quantity.  That’s why we all love Cinderella Stories.  The improbable victories no one, not even Hollywood, can script.  And this is some of our lives.

God loves the long-shot.  God loves the underdog.  God loves Cinderella.  She had undergone mistreatment and maladjustment before she met the prince at the ball.  “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”  Cinderella believed.  I come back to this because if you can believe, you can achieve.

Believing is the first step.  Many of us have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, beaten bigger, better, more talented teams, and won when no-one gave us a chance.  Many of us have undergone major surgery, endured unforeseen layoffs, weathered 100-year storms, and yet overcame big setbacks and huge letdowns.  We bounced-back, with the help of God and God-sent friends and fans, to overcome the worst of circumstances.  Cinderella had mice, sparrows, a pumpkin and a Fairy Godmother.  We have those who are Heaven-sent into our lives, who, just when we need them most, come to our rescue.

And so the question is, since you have overcome, who are you helping as they undergo to overcome?