Adversity brings out the best in us all
“Adversity introduces a man to himself.” — Albert Einstein
I cannot think of a more appropriate statement to describe how an athlete responds when adversity comes their way. We only know our true character as an athlete, coach, or generally as a human being when we face adversity. How we respond tells a lot about our experience and how that experience has shaped us.
Who saw this past Super Bowl? I am assuming mostly everyone who is reading this sports section did.
I believe that Super Bowl LI was the pinnacle of Tom Brady’s career. He summited the peak of mental strength and stability and came out victorious when all odds were stacked against him.
Brady started his college career at the University of Michigan seventh on the depth chart and struggled to get on the field. He even hired a sports psychologist at one point to help him with his frustration and anxiety. He ultimately overcame some of this frustration and anxiety and started every game in his final two seasons.
His professional career began when he was drafted by the New England Patriots 199th overall in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. He started his pro career a bit higher than his college career in that he was second on the depth chart behind Drew Bledsoe. He was given the opportunity to start in his second season when Bledsoe went down with an injury. We all know the rest of the story following this point.
Brady’s career could have gone several different ways; he could have tanked during his first start with the Patriots and may have never seen the field again. Don’t get me wrong; he has had low points in his career, but ultimately, he has been on a consistent climb to the summit that I spoke about earlier.
During Super Bowl LI we saw the greatest comeback in NFL history, and we may never see anything like it again. Brady went up and down the field in that final quarter and during overtime as a man on a mission. This was nothing short of his previous preperation meeting his current opportunity.
All athletes are somewhere on this mountain of mental strength and stability. It is important to be conscious of how an athlete responds to this adversity and to have others in your life direct your path.
We at the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Southeast are very fortunate to have Courtney Marchesin working with us. She is a qualified mental skills coach and is working daily with our athletes to help format a road map for the future adversity that our athletes might face.
Einstein encountered adversity, and went down in history as one of the greastest scientists in history. Let that man or woman looking back at you in the mirror be someone you are proud of.
Cory Coehoorn is the coordinator of the Alberta Sport Develpment Centre – Southeast and would love to hear from you. He can be reached via phone at 403504-3547 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The ASDC-SE website can be found at mhc.ab.ca/ASDCSE.