JOHANNESBURG – In the early hours of Monday morning (SA time) the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a major sporting shock by defeating the New England Patriots in the NFL’s grand finale, the Super Bowl.
It was an upset for a whole number of reasons; the Eagles had never won a Super Bowl, the Patriots had won two in the previous three years, the Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick along with quarterback Tom Brady had combined for a total of five Super Bowl titles over 16 years and the Eagles were starting with a back-up quarterback, because the main starting “QB” got injured midway through the season.
That back-up quarterback, Nick Foles, nearly gave up playing American football two years ago, but on Monday he was the toast of Philadelphia and virtually all of the US following an MVP performance in the final game of the NFL season. Besides an obvious lesson with regards to perseverance, Foles’ tale is also one about the importance of failure.
“In our society today, Instagram and Twitter is the highlight reel,” Foles said after returning to Philadelphia on Tuesday. “When you are having a rough day you think you are failing. But failure is a part of life. It’s about building character and growing. Without failure who would you be?
I wouldn’t be up here if I didn’t fall thousands of times and make mistakes I know when people speak and are sharing their weaknesses, I’m listening, because I can resonate. I’m not perfect. I’m not Superman. We might be in the NFL, we might have won the Super Bowl, but we still have our daily struggles.
When you look at a struggle in your life you (should) look at it as an opportunity in your life for your character to grow. If something is going on and you are struggling, embrace it. You are growing.”
Indeed, trawling through social media on Sunday and Monday following the Proteas’ loss - a bad one it must be noted - in the second one-day international at Centurion last Sunday, was to see opinions based purely on watching the highlight reel.
This will be a difficult few weeks for the national side, it could even be a difficult few months, but there is a plan in place if one listens to convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, head coach Ottis Gibson and regular captain Faf du Plessis. The latter hates losing, it’s just not in his nature, and it’s most likely the same for the kid standing in for him for the next few weeks, Aiden Markram.
Markram’s had enormous success come his way very early in his sporting career - before he’d even turned professional.
But while he won’t like to hear it, Markram needs to fail too, for in failing, as Foles said, he will grow. So will the Proteas - hopefully.