Can You Imagine Being Like Tom Brady?

In the distant future, archaeologists and divers will swim to the bottom of the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida in search of the fabled Super Bowl LV Vince Lombardi Trophy. They will have heard whispered rumors that the coveted artifact lay there because of some fumble-fingered human tossing it (almost) from one boat to the other. And they’d be wrong.

A prime reason they’d be wrong is that it was tossed by Tom Brady, who has won 7 Super Bowls and 5 Super Bowl MVP awards (and counting).

Brady completed the open-water pass even at the advanced football age of forty-three, which is like one hundred thirty in human years. He also had a bandaged knee and enjoyed a thoroughly drunken stupor. And yet the only reason it wasn’t a perfect spiral throw is because the silver football has a clunky base attached.

Has there ever been anyone more favored by the gods? How does he do it at forty-three years old? I read an article that speculated on three possible explanations:

  • He may have been blessed with excellent genes
  • The mystical influence of his controversial personal trainer, Alex Guerrero
  • Just plain old stubbornness

So how do we stack up to Tom?

We can’t do much about the first factor. We’re born with the genes we have, without the opportunity to pick our parents.

The second factor or training regimen is the basis for Brady’s TB12 business venture with Alex, his partner. Want to be like Brady? Sign up for TB12. Be warned, however, that it’s not for the faint of heart. From what I’ve heard, you have to be willing to substitute avocado for ice cream, and air for pizza.

If my choice is to live to ninety without pizza, or eighty with it, I’m opting for the latter. In the winter, my biggest motivation for shoveling snow is to create a path for the pizza-delivery guy. I’m not going to make the dietary sacrifices of Brady, but I will bike an extra mile or do more exercises in the gym so I can fit things like pecan pie into my diet. I think it was Einstein who said something like why live longer if you have to give up all the things that make life worth living?

And now for the third factor: stubbornness. I imagine Brady can’t stand to be eclipsed by any young up-and-comers, and he will do everything in his power to keep that from happening for as long as possible.

So can stubbornness be channeled for good in the rest of us? Here’s an example from (of course) a Sci-Fi movie.

Gattaca was in the theaters in 1997. It starred Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. Ethan’s character, Vincent, was the older of two brothers. His younger brother, Anton, was genetically enhanced. Ethan was born before the procedure was available.

As boys, the brothers would compete to see who would swim back first after they both swam straight out into the ocean. The physically-enhanced Anton would always win, but Vincent had something that Anton didn’t: a driving ambition to go into space. Unfortunately his unenhanced condition would ban him from the space program. So he disappeared, adopted someone else’s identity, and worked to improve himself. Later, when the boys met as adults, they engaged in their swimming challenge again. For the first time, Vincent won. He even had to rescue his brother.

Back on the beach, a gasping Anton asked how he did it. Vincent replied that he was willing to die to win. There was no way he was turning back. Talk about stubborn!

Can you recall similar experiences? Was there a time you’d do anything to reach some goal?

Given the three factors above, I guess all of them contribute to Tom’s success. Most of us don’t compete in his circles; but wherever we strive to succeed, contented satisfaction is our reward when we push to be the best fill in your name we can be.

 

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