17.8.09

Day 245. The Booed One.

I mentioned a bit last week that I was able to attend the NFL Hall of Fame Induction ceremony last weekend. The main reason we were there was to honor and celebrate the induction of Rod Woodson - arguably one of the best men to play the game - particularly in the defensive backfield. But, as I mentioned last week, this induction was truly for men who were of an even higher quality off the field.

Rod spoke during his acceptance speech not even once about himself. Instead, he honored all those he loved in his life. We just kept enjoying his speech and looking at each other saying "he's talking about everyone else!" As he did honor each individual - he ended his tribute to each with "I love you." Just as I did before with Randall McDaniel, I encourage you to take the time to watch Rod's speech. Even if you don't like football there is wisdom, value and respect to be found in the 27 minutes that Rod spoke. Its a lesson on class and grace.

Now I called this the booed one. Doesn't seem to make sense since I am extolling Rod's virtues now, does it? Well here's the final point I wanted to make. Rod mentioned a few times during the weekend that someone he held in extremely high esteem was Art Modell. Now, let me explain to you who Art Modell is - he was an NFL owner - first of the Cleveland Browns and then, after taking the Browns away from Cleveland of the Baltimore Ravens. Therein lies the rub. The NFL Hall of Fame is located in Canton Ohio. When Mr. Modell took the Browns away, it literally happened in the dead of night. I spent a lot of time in Cleveland growing up and, regardless of if it was the right or wrong decision, it ticked off the collective city of Cleveland. They now hate Art Modell. He is persona non-grata forever and always. Whenever Rod mentioned Art, even as a new Hall of Famer, he was booed by the many Clevelanders in attendance. And Rod said "go ahead and boo me, I've been booed before. I can take it". And this is just as important as all the good stuff I already mentioned. Rod is strong enough in what he knows and who he is and what he believes in. And he'll tell you.

To be a strong enough person in mind and spirit to uphold your beliefs and values and opinions in the face of popular opinion, or dissenting views is something that does not come easily. And, its harder than many may realize. To throw into the world that which you know to be your truth regardless of how it will be received is the epitome of strength - and Rod is that. Congratulations Rod, congratulations on Who. You. Are.

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