How many times have you challenged yourself and fell a bit short? How many times would you dust yourself off and head back onto the playing field with optimism that this was it, your chance to succeed?
NFL’s Oakland Raiders did it 10 times while serving up a lesson in perseverance and resiliency to us all.
When I tuned into the Thursday night game between the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, the field was muddy and the rain was pouring down in buckets. Despite the wet conditions, there was a certain electricity coursing through the costumed Raider nation in the stands and on the field.
Everything captured on the roaming cameras said, “This is it.” The 0-10 Raiders were going to break their 368 day losing streak.The entire football watching community was waiting for the moment when the clock would tick down and the Raiders would be in the lead.
And Thursday was it. The Raiders won their first game this season and they celebrated like it was the Super Bowl. There was hootin and hollerin, prayer circles and group hugs. Rookie QB Derek Carr kept the game ball so he could take it home to his infant son.
It was during pre-season match-ups that the struggling Raiders caught my attention. They had a new quarterback that showed the signs of great potential, much like my beloved Seahawks’ Russell Wilson. #4 Derek Carr was finding his footing in his new role. There were a few awkward first steps but every week he gained a bit more ground, a bit more confidence.
The inspirational part of their story doesn’t come from the immediate glory of wins, but rather the heart and soul that the men in black and silver demonstrated every game. 0-10 and those boys suited up with high hopes and optimism. They went out there and played their hardest, celebrating every point and learning from the near misses. The team was developing and marching to a different tune under new management of interim coach Tony Sparano and Carr.
One of the things I enjoy most is studying leadership, resiliency, creativity and how those elements work to further our passions. It was heartbreaking to watch the boys in silver and black come close and then lose, sometimes by a few points, every week.
We all could learn a lesson from the Raiders. We all go through a rebuilding period. Whether it is a new career or idea, we all suit up, try something new and hope for the best. The key is to get up, dust off and try again. Keep trying. You too will discover the winning, muddy formula for success.
Raiders Shock Chiefs, Notch First Win of 2014