There is a Little Eli in Us All
How do you respond in the face of imminent defeat? Do you focus and hone in on the skill that it requires for greatness to exude through your actions? How are you ELITE? What defines you and makes you unique? A lot of questions, I know, and your first thought is probably, “uh oh, not another article about sports.” Well its is my hope that after you read this article there will be some level of enlightenment, and hopefully you will send it to a friend who has kids, who can use this as a teaching tool for their young athlete.
Eli Manning, we all know he is the offspring of the great Archie Manning and little bother to, arguably the greatest regular season quarterback in the history of the NFL, Peyton Manning. So, why isn’t Eli a household name with the likes of his bother and other athletes like Tom Brady? Well it is simply, the cool factor! Why is it that in our society that many of the heroes and entertainers that we tend to place on god-like pedestals giving them inhuman characteristics of perfection are the ones who embody that “cool factor”? Is there some type of link between what is popular and what is ELITE?
Embrace Your inner ELI
As I researched and looked at the different athletes from various sports it stuck out to me that Eli Manning was the one athlete who seemingly fit the bill of an accomplished athlete who lacked the “cool factor” (Tim Duncan was a close second). If you are reading this, then you know all too well what I am talking about. It traces back your childhood—remember Middle School? Were you that kid who could do absolutely no wrong because you embodied that coolness that trumps any wrong doing, or were you that kid who was invisible unless faced with taking a test, answering the teachers questions, or simply being a suck up because you wanted the affirmation that you were doing something correct? It is something to be said about that “cool factor” in that it masks the very human nature that we all are inherently born with and on some plain need to embrace daily.
The Element of Elite
Now look at Eli Manning, quite the dork and nerd by some people’s assertion, who has won two Superbowls and 2 Superbowl MVP awards. He is unquestionably the best 4th quarter Quarterback in the league over the past two years; winning 8 come from behind victories. Just as the game is on the line is when Eli morphs into a “won’t lose” quarterback that finds a way to will his team to a victory. In his element, and in your element is where you too can embody this type of resiliency and will power. However, outside that element is where Eli, like many of us lose the ability to articulate our hidden “superman” or “superwoman” in a manner consistent with our greatness—lets just say we re-morph to the dork.
NIKE AD: Envision ELIte
Nike should take my title and make it a slogan and Eli the endorser of it, “You can’t Spell Elite without Eli”. The culture of what is cool and popular has to change. Being ourselves and focusing on being pure in heart and true to who we are needs to be the movement in which we aspire to. It starts in our homes, it starts in the schools, and as an athlete it starts with recognizing and embracing the uncouth behavior that resides in us all. Eli is the embodiment of all the uncouth athletes and people out there in the world who when faced with defeat can rise to any challenge, shedding off any fear while employing the strength and courage for the occasion.