photo from USAToday
Our family LOVES football! Often we spend Sunday afternoons watching the NFL and checking our Fantasy Football League points. We poke fun at each other, give the Mile High Salute when the Denver Broncos score, and whine when one of our fantasy players performs poorly!
Recently we gathered to watch the Indianapolis Colts play the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Broncos, was the focus of the media hype for this game. His opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, had been his former long-time team. Throughout the game, highlights of Manning’s greatest moments as the Colts’ prior quarterback, were shown. His excellence was indisputable! However, this night, his abilities were not enough to pull off a victory for the Broncos.
As the game ended, Peyton dropped his head and began his post-game trek to the locker room. Camera men swarmed him, but he continued to gaze at the turf as he pressed past them. Suddenly, rushing up to him, were workers from the Indianapolis Colts’ Club House. When Peyton heard their voices, his head snapped up, he stopped mid-stride, a genuine smile appeared and he embraced each one! While their admiration for him was unmistakable, there seemed to be something more being expressed between all of them. Peyton’s sluggish demeanor vanished and each man became the focus of his undivided attention. It was refreshing to see this popular, professional quarterback, set his feelings of defeat aside, and honor these unknown men.
One of the announcers, John Gruden, spoke highly of Peyton’s commitment to remain friends with these guys who worked in and around the Colts locker room. Gruden reported that Peyton still makes a weekly call to these workers, even though he now lives in Denver. Moved by the sincerity we had witnessed, we continued to replay Peyton’s encounter with these men – men who some might deem insignificant.
As we ended our evening together, I heard my grandson Jesse say,
“I’ve always liked Peyton Manning as a quarterback, but NOW, I respect him as a great man!”
Me too Jesse, me too!