Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bench Strength

Those of us who followed the St. Louis Rams Football team during the 1999 NFL regular season can appreciate the power of bench strength. When our starting quarterback Trent Green went down in a pre-season game, some thought the season was over. But we had Kurt Warner, a humble back-up QB who paid his dues. I mean the dude spent time stocking groceries, playing arena football and even playing for the NFL in Europe. But by the time Super Bowl XXXIV was complete the undrafted kid from Iowa was holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy as a world champion.
Similarly, the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team found ways to win when they were more than ten games out of the running in the 2011 season with just a couple of months left in the season. By October, David Freese extended game six in the World Series in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and later hitting a game winning walk-off home run to set up a game seven that resulted in the team capturing its11th World Series Championship. The St. Louis Cardinals had the local kid from Lafayette High School, who didn’t get a shot at a starting role until an injury occurred to the Cardinals third baseman just three seasons earlier. Freese worked through injuries of his own in the next few years before the conclusion of this amazing championship season. He didn’t quit.

I have become keenly aware of a lot of talented people who are currently benched or injured themselves. At the risk of extending this sports metaphor too far – these are players with great potential that might just have the kind of character and drive to be MVPs in their own right when the time comes. Look around, You will see people who can make a huge difference because they are workers. They have a passion for what they do. They don’t give up. They know they who they are and they do what they do every day because they want to be ready when they get a shot.   

Look around. These are rare individuals with something extra. Maybe you are one of them. Just be ready. You might have to put up with setbacks. You might have to prove yourself and work within a system but opportunities will present themselves. You might just be in a position to help a team win the big one. I hope so. I hate to see great talent wasted.   

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