Saturday, February 8, 2014

'Dear Mr. Manning' letter goes viral

I teach my students that good writing will get attention. And that a topic that resonates with people along with the right timing will ensure a lot of attention.

But I had no idea how much attention my "Open Letter to Peyton Manning" would actually get.

Thanks to all of you who read, shared, commented, debated and reached out to me.

I knew my thoughts were neither revolutionary nor remarkable. But the overwhelming response on social media and the news media proves my point - Peyton Manning deserves to be celebrated no matter how good/bad he plays in the most recent game.

*And for those who called me a soccer mom who just wanted to emphasize playing the game and not winning it, you missed the point. I'm all for winning and preparing to win - just as I believe Manning is. And while I know the Super Bowl loss will tarnish his NFL storied career, it does nothing to tarnish his legacy.

But I digress.

For those interested, here is a round-up of some of the media play:

'Dear Mr. Manning' 

A Broncos fan's letter to Manning a fantastic read

A mom's letter to Peyton Manning

Mt. Pleasant woman's 'Dear Mr. Manning' letter goes viral

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Open Letter to Peyton Manning

Dear Mr. Manning –

I am not a sports reporter, not an NFL analyst, not a former player.

I’ve never studied film, and I’ve not catalogued all the best and worst moments in football history.

I know the game of football well, though I still can’t figure out why you can challenge a first down spot but not a pass interference call.

What I have done is played some seriously rugged flag football games, donned blue and orange every Sunday from August to January for the past 43 years, sat through some unbelievably frigid games at Mile High (once while 7 months pregnant) and cheered for the Denver Broncos since before I can remember…even during the heart-crushing games.

I even named my beloved Black Lab after John Mobley (who I still believe is responsible for saving the Broncos’ victory in Super Bowl XXXII against the Packers.)

And most proudly, I am a mom of two little boys who adore their #18 jerseys and can’t wait to find out “how Peyton Manning’s team did?” every Monday morning.

So I am undeniably biased.

And it is because of my bias – and lack of NFL analysis experience – that makes me far more qualified to talk about your legacy than any of those analysts, former players, coaches and commentators (I’m looking at you, Mike Greenberg and Cris Carter).

They operate in a world where recency dictates everything, and controversy and sensationalism make the headlines.

No, I am more qualified because I am a mom.

I actually understand – on the most basic level – what legacy truly means.

Legacy is something handed down that matters.

It is something that matters to young players and athletes and kids looking for mentors to help them find their way.

You don’t hand down Super Bowl trophies. You don’t hand down NFL MVPs or franchise records. And you don’t hand down touchdowns, statistics or win-loss records.

You hand down an example of work ethic, of courage to come back after a career-threatening injury, of humility in victory and graciousness in defeat, and of perspective on one’s own accomplishments.

That legacy matters, and that’s why yours is untarnished even - and especially - after Sunday's loss.

It matters that you’re professional in the way you talk to reporters.

It matters that you give credit to others – coaches, teammates, mentors.

It matters that you don’t give up in a bad game and keep fighting no matter the odds.

It matters that you take time to write hand-written notes to fans and sign autographs – even after crushing defeat.

It matters that you know the difference between being embarrassed by your team’s performance and just not being the best team on the field that day.

And it matters that you meticulously prepare to play the game...and encourage everyone around you to do the same.

I doubt you take stock in what those analysts say about your legacy (no doubt a trait your father has clearly bestowed upon you and your brothers), but I want you to know that this mom of two young boys who already recognize you’re different from the others, believes your legacy has never been stronger.

And I'm confident thousands of others agree with me. 

Whether you win another game, your accomplishments in football are nothing short of remarkable – alongside many other outstanding players.

But it’s your character that sets you apart from so many of your predecessors and peers.

And that’s a legacy that matters.