It’s no secret, all of Louisiana knows by now.
Even if you are not a sports fan, your Facebook feed and news outlets are probably inundated with the dismay of every Saints fan after yesterday’s NFC Championship loss. It was a hard blow, gut wrenching to say the least, and the no call that literally changed the outcome of the game for us all – well, I don’t want to go down that path.
Yesterday, for the first time, my little one wore a #9 t-shirt for Drew Brees. I am not big into sports paraphernalia. Yes he owns Ragin’ Cajun red and LSU purple and gold – but very little. I am sure this wardrobe will grow larger once he has an opinion and a team that he loves and follows on his own agenda. But this is the first time he has worn a particular player’s number, and I am 100% ok that he is sporting Drew Brees’ digits.
Professional athletes do not particularly thrill me as a role model for my child.
You see, they focus on athletics (yes, because of their God given talents), and speed through their education so they can play for the highest level in sports. This, in and of itself, sends the wrong message. The message that athletics trumps education; but for 95% of the masses, this is not true. More than that, there are many athletes out there who represent less than what a role model should – fancy cars and lifestyles, mistreating and abusing women, profanity, mistresses, use of performance enhancing drugs, and more. Now I know there are many, many decent and respectful athletes in professional leagues, but few who come close to the level of Drew Brees.
You see last night, after potentially one of the most devastating losses in his career, he was caught on camera playing and throwing the football on the Dome field to his young boys.
I came across this image on social media, and could not think of a stronger, more honorable, and more selfless man who is showing his family that they are first and foremost in his life, and football is secondary. When he should have been down the most, he was strong enough to pull himself up and remember what really matters in life – to be there for your family and those you love.
You might also remember when he broke the all-time NFL passing record, he passed on this message to his children,
I love you guys so much. You can accomplish anything in life if you are willing to work for it.
And I might have teared up at the sentiment – like every other Saints fan out there.
Of course, he is still every bit the leader of the team.
Rallying his teammates and leading them to win after win, showing them on and off the field how to stay focused and keeping the morale high. He is every bit a phenomenal player who has excelled in this sport, dedicated endless hours to perfect his passing routes, to perfect the touch on the ball, to perfect his craft. I would never short change him of the greatness that he has become as an athlete nor the great carrier of hope he has become for the city of New Orleans, but his priorities are clear as day.
And beyond this simple act of showing his family that they are priority number one, he has invested his time and energy to many charities in New Orleans and even started his own – the Brees Dream Foundation which improves the quality of life for cancer patients. He even recently opened a park in New Orleans for disabled and special needs children – an all-inclusive park!
So Drew Brees, my son is allowed to wear your number and root for you yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.
Not because you are a Saints player and represent our home state, but because you are a good and honorable man. You are someone who invests first and foremost in your family, who shows up to work and dedicates hours to perfect your craft, who leads your team by example, and who uses what’s left of your strenuous home and work life to pour into the community. My son is allowed to sport #9 on his shirt and root for you week after week. Thank you for teaching him the life lessons that will better him as a young man and an adult. The lesson of family first – to honor your wife and to love your children; the lesson of strength and resilience – when you could have been wallowing in your loss, you picked up the pieces and played catch with your boys; the lesson of dedication – showing up week after week to better yourself and your team and also the city of New Orleans; the lesson of charity and hope – by bettering your community through charitable works and supporting philanthropic organizations.