“Do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?” — Proverbs 25:8
A couple weeks ago, in seemingly anti-climatic fashion, longtime NFL quarterback Tom Brady shocked the sports world with a heartfelt social media post announcing he was stepping away from football. Other than some leaked media reports a few days prior, there had been no indication Brady was considering leaving the game, especially when he appeared to be getting better with age, like a fine wine.
As people of all sports and fans of all teams began reflecting on Brady’s stunning career, tributes poured in applauding arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game. But equally on people’s thoughts was the path he took to reach the pinnacle of football. Many remember that Brady was passed over multiple times in the NFL draft more than two decades ago, finally getting selected by the New England Patriots at pick No. 199.
While a solid player in college, Brady never was the fastest or the strongest, and obviously didn’t make a big impression on the scouts during his draft process. How many of those teams, owners and coaches now hold regret that they passed over a quarterback who went on to win seven Super Bowls and set records that will likely take years to be broken!?
Thinking back on the way Brady’s career played out, I realize how so many of us do to each other what those NFL organizations did all those years ago to him. We jump to conclusions about one another, write each other off, and pre-determine each other’s destinies based on our own first impressions. We decide the end of the story before it’s even had a chance to play out.
Coaches, you likely have a “Tom Brady” on your team right now. They’re riding the bench, quietly putting in the work behind the scenes, waiting for their opportunity. In their heart, they know they’ve got what it takes to make you and the team proud. But perhaps you’ve written them off and are deliberately passing over them because you’ve jumped to conclusions about who they are as a person or an athlete.
Teammates, you can probably think of somebody on your team that falls into this category also. Maybe you tease or belittle the “Tom Brady” on your squad and remind them over and over that they’re never going to make it to the top. While you do so, they’re just preparing to take advantage of their chance when it comes — to slingshot past you and prove your assumptions wrong.
Brady’s story is a reminder to us all to never determine somebody’s destiny until it plays out. God has unique journeys carved out for each of us and, while they will not all look alike, they are each valuable in their own way. We all bring talents and ideas to the table that He can use, and we just have to be ready when He gives us the opportunity. So why don’t we all give each other a little more grace and a whole lot more support because we never really know the story until it’s over.
— Katherine Singer
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