Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Keep Pounding: A Lesson from the Super Bowl

The Headlines:

I went to my #firstsuperbowlever

But my team lost.

It was tough but sometimes there's a bigger lesson in losing.

From the start of the Super Bowl run most fans, players, analysts and even Vegas odds makers were picking the Carolina Panthers to win Sunday night.  So when they didn't it was a shock to almost everyone.  Including this girl.

But when you lose, you learn.  Perhaps more than winning.

For my personal journey, my Super Bowl lesson started with a little football during the NFC Championship game.  I wrote about how my nieces were given the ball on national television after the first touchdown HERE ...  Within 2 weeks I found myself on a plane bound for the bay area in Northern California.  BP (the husband) and I, along with hundreds of friends and family of the Carolina Panthers were traveling to witness history.  The Panthers first Super Bowl win.

Mr Richardson, the owner of the team, spared no expenses.  He was kind enough to charter a plane for 600 plus Carolina Panthers staff and families to attend the big event.  The weekend was filled with fun parties, celebrities and players, food and drinks, sight seeing and of course the game.  The only problem - in the end - they didn't win.  Everyone came all this way and despite an almost pristine record... the team couldn't pull it off.

The Panthers after party was scheduled to to be a celebratory rager!  A few big bands, excellent food, open bar, coaches and players everywhere.  In the end, it was not to be.  Surprising to many... Coach Rivera still showed up and was gracious enough to take pictures (even though none were technically allowed) and eventually some players straggled in.  The room was understandably deflated.

Payton Manning and his bucking Bronco's conquered again and he looks poised to be much like a cowboy riding off into the sunset as he stands at the pinnacle of his long, mostly admirable, career.
This, while Cam Newton ticked off a lot of people, with what he didn't say, in his post game press conference.  Maybe that was a good thing.  Mama always says, "if you can't say something nice - don't say anything at all."  If he was a tad older and wiser he might've said something simple like,  "We lost but our team will Keep Pounding."

Because that's what the Panthers and really all of us should do.  It's a good phrase even if you don't know what it stands for...

It started years ago when, a former player turned coach, Sam Mills Jr, gave speech to the team telling them to "keep pounding" before a game against the Cowboys in 2004.  He knew what it was like to be in the fight of his life.  He was in one back then.  The phrase stuck.  Well beyond Mills.  He died in 2005 at the young age of 45.  The words were trademarked by a local hospital that helps Cancer patients battle their ailment but the Panthers continued to use it for their battle cry.  The symbiotic relationship has proved to be a strong one.  The Panthers Organization has helped raise approximately $1.4 million dollars for the Levine Cancer Institute at the Carolina Healthcare Foundation.  You can read more HERE.  Eventually, when the team uses it in mass marketing and products... the institute will most likely profit even more as they help cancer patients believe that they too can "Keep Pounding" while in the fight for their life.

The Panthers were in the fight of a life time on Sunday.  But they're still here to talk about it today.  Because unfortunately, or fortunately - however you choose to look at it - losing is part of life.  Some do it in a hospital bed and some do it on the football field.  It just takes far more grace to hold your head high when you come in second.

Winning is easy.  Losing takes guts.

I think there's no question people pay attention when you're number 1... but you look deeper and find better answers when you're number 2.   That's what I try to teach my kids.  Honestly, it's a constant struggle for everyone.

It was a devastating drag that The Panthers lost.  People in that organization feel disappointed and defeated and some may even lose their jobs.  But everything happens the way it should.   Carry on, "Keep Pounding," fight forward and eventually people see that.

Sam Mills Jr. did.  Coach Rivera will.  The kids at the Levine Institute do everyday.  Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Jared Allen and the rest of the team get some time to lick their wounds.  Then they'll pound forward too... just like the rest of us.

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