Tag Archives: Ray Lewis

Hate, Jealousy and Fighting the Green-eyed Monsters

This past Sunday was Super Bowl XLVII (aka “The Harbowl”) and in the weeks leading up to the game, I had a dilemma.  Not something earth-shattering, mind you – I wasn’t making huge decisions on the direction of my life and my place in the universe (at least not in relation to this football game)… but the dilemma of trying to decide who to root for in the game.  And while this was not a decision of much import, it did reveal something interesting about myself in the process.

I still hate Dwight Clark, mind you...
I still hate Dwight Clark, mind you…

When I first began to consider which team to cheer for, my first instinct was based on my diehard fandom for the Dallas Cowboys: The 49ers have long been a major rival of ours and we are tied with 5 Super Bowl titles each.  The 49ers winning would mean they pulled ahead of my beloved Cowboys! Sweet mother of God… such an injustice must be avoided!  I must shout to the heavens my rage at such a thought!

But I thought about it a bit more and came to an uncomfortable realization: while it’s fine not to  cheer for a long-time rival, the fact that I didn’t want them to pull ahead of my team on Super Bowl problems wasn’t a 49ers problem… it was a Cowboys problem.  My issue was jealousy, really… jealousy over their team doing the right things to place themselves in a position to win that title while my own team has a record of 128-128 with 1 playoff win in 16 years.

I was having myself a nice, tall, bitter glass of Haterade and not even realizing it.

I decided to basically watch the game to enjoy it from an independent perspective, but I didn’t forget about that uncomfortable thought.  You don’t have to cheer for your opponents, but when you resent their success, all you are really doing is ignoring the ugly truth of your own shortcomings or, worse still, making excuses to cover for them.  I don’t ever want to be that guy.  That guy is small and bitter and likely not that much fun at parties.

Along a similar line, I noticed something similar cropping up right before and just after Baltimore’s win in the Super Bowl and all of it focused on their talismanic leader, Ray Lewis.  Lewis is considered one of the greatest (if not the greatest) to ever play his position in the NFL, but he also has a very dark chapter in his past from a murder trial in 2000.  Some believe Lewis was more involved in a fight that killed 2 men during Super Bowl week in Atlanta 13 years ago than he would admit or plead guilty to.  Lewis agreed to testified against two other men in exchange for the murder charges being dropped against him.  All in all, there is nothing good about this story.

But this is what struck me of late – the story has essentially disappeared from view over the last decade and with almost zero mention of it.  The fans and press had basically moved on… well, moved on until Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis won this most recent Super Bowl in what would be the final game of his career.  Suddenly that story was everywhere on Facebook, Twitter, the news, etc.  Why had it become relevant all over again?  Did new evidence emerge?  Was there some new defining factor that made the story different?

No… all that changed was that Ray Lewis was ending his career winning one more title and I guess people didn’t like that.  Out came the green-eyed monsters to tear him down.

Now, let’s be clear for a second – I’m not here to comment on whether Ray Lewis did it or not.  I have no idea and I haven’t spent hours of time poring over the evidence and court testimony from the 2000 trial.  That’s not my point.  What strikes me is the extent to which people will bring a story like this back up when someone achieves such a high level of success.  That there are those who only use this story as a tool to try and bring someone else down.

Do we really believe that the people doing this had a deep level of caring for the two men that were murdered that night in Atlanta?  That they were crusaders of justice and truth?  Of course not.

No one needs to be a fan of the 49ers.  Or Ray Lewis.  Or even my Cowboys (although you should really reconsider if you aren’t).  But we all must guard against tearing down people, teams and organizations simply because they succeed.  In those situations, we simply announce to the world our own insecurities when we should be praising the commitment of the winners.  Even when we don’t like them.

Non-Stop, Full Tilt, Every Day Mayhem


It’s probably not surprising that I enjoy a very well-done inspiration speech.  Certain people who truly have the gift – whether by virtue of being blessed by the gods of Olympus from birth or through, careful, meticulous practice over time – really capture my attention.  The ability to move inspire people to do more and be more than they thought possible just fascinates me.

But something about Ray Lewis’s speech struck a slightly different chord with me when I watched it.  I still had the chills and felt fired up at the end… but a few minutes later, I found myself pausing to think about what he said from a slightly different vantage point.  Ray starts off with:

If tomorrow wasn’t promised, what would you give for today?  Forget everything else.  Forget everything else.  Forget that there was any sunlight left.  What would you spend today thinking about?

The reason this got me to thinking was twofold.  First, it’s about taking nothing for granted today and if tomorrow is never promised, how will you live today.  Second, it also got me thinking about the motto of this blog: Relentlessly push yourself forward.  These two ideas taken together basically add up to an idea of going non-stop, full tilt, every single day.  All good things, right?

The Road to Ribblesdale
Photo Credit: Luc B via Compfight

But can we really do that?  Should we expect ourselves to really and truly do that?  I don’t mean that in some absurdly constructed argument sense where someone says, “No one would live that way since they would make horrible choices, spend all their money and live like lunatics if they 100% committed to that day being their last on earth!”  But what I mean instead is… can you go 100% every single day?  Furthermore, should you even try?

The reason I got to thinking about this was not to say that embracing utter sloth is somehow a good idea, but to wonder how to pace this effort… how to handle the daily ebbs and flows of time, energy and desire.  No one is going to be “ON” 24/7 – not even the most dedicated and motivated.  Burn out would be inevitable with a blistering pace like that.

But hard effort every day?  The best attitude you can bring to the table every day?  Doable without a doubt.  Will your best on a rainy Monday with all-day meetings be as good as your best on a sunny Friday with bluebirds serenading your every step?  Probably not, but that’s fine.  It’s the daily practice that matters.

And that’s where the importance of finding inspiration – whether in a speech, book, song or conversation with a good friend – matters so much.  For in those moments, you can see the possibility of moving a few steps past what you thought was your upper limit.  And when you get past those sticking points to a new, brave place… then you have progress and you have moved yourself forward.

I can’t say how this day will turn out, but I am going to take Ray’s advice and be “pissed off for greatness”… for I can feel a little bit more mojo pushing me to that place beyond what I knew possible.  Time to hustle.