Maybe like a lot of you, I sort of lost interest in the Super Bowl once the Patriots were no longer in the picture. But even I am not immune to the hype and I must confess that I am sensitive to Manning's position as a more limited but still brilliant quarterback. And I also see the charm of the prowess and youthful energy of Cam Newton. So I have paid more attention. Today two stories that centered on coaching caught my eye. The PROJO discusses the amazing success of Kubiak with his history of a mini-stroke being hired by the Broncos. That story attests to some loyalty in a world where coaches and players are discarded daily with the mantra--nothing personal. But I guess that between Elway and Kubiak there was a personal bond of friendship which Elway honored, On my own I did admire the way Kubiak brought Peyton Manning back to his position part way through a game where temporary QB Osweiler was faltering. Peyton turned the debacle back into a triumph and the relief of the team and fans to have Manning back was palpable.
Also I learned something about the origins of the KEEP POUNDING war cry of the Panthers. That phrase originated with a sick and dying coach, Sam Mills. There is no recording of the speech which gives it the power of legend, but it seems that the ailing coach transmitted his own indomitable fighting spirit to his team when he described the ways he was pounding back at the incurable cancer that was destroying him. A Panther player who heard the talk reports that it was so powerful that "grown men wept," I was moved also by the longevity and power of this story and how it continues to inspire the team. One player remembered the message as "No matter what the circumstance is; no matter what the situation is, no matter what the score is, you continue to just keep going, and keep pounding. You don't give up,"
As I read these testimonies, I could not help but feel their power and energy.
I thought about my recent low points; made worse by two deaths since Christmas--my wonderful cousin Grace and my dearest friend Nick. A mourning spirit has stolen my energy and lowered my sense of my own health and possibilities. I stopped pounding--I was awash in grief and frequent tears. But somehow the words of Coach Mills to his team brought me up short.
How can I keep pounding here in Pawtucket? How can I both honor the dead and include their struggle and their fighting spirit into my life?
I don't have the answers yet to those questions, but I do know that by asking that question every day I will discover what my answer is and what KEEP POUNDING means in the Bucket.