The next Heisman Trophy will be dished out December 13th. And Heisman has problems: Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, and Cam Newton. Three of the past four Heisman winners have been great players on the college gridiron, but present so much trouble off field.
There’s also Robert Griffin III. The former 2011 Heisman winner looks eerily similar to that of Ryan Leaf – out of the league in four seasons. Griffin received extensive criticism of both work ethic and leadership. The most scathing assessment came from Coach Gruden, who described Griffin being “coddled” in past accomplishments. Gruden said Washington’s offensive output was “awful” and lambasted Griffin for passing blame onto teammates.
Approaching this weekend’s Heisman, the award is presented to the most outstanding player in college football whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. Accordingly, the debate is always whether off-field stuff should be considered at all in a vote for the most outstanding player.
Have any of the past winners exhibited anything close to excellence with integrity? Unfortunately, sportswriters don’t like to change their process when giving awards. They focus upon statistics, lacking both research and introspection. There’s no objective standard for picking the Heisman winner. It’s just football.
I was reminded of this disparity while sitting in an airport waiting for a flight to nowhere, overhearing two men:
“Jameis Winston is a true leader, a good Heisman candidate.”
“Yeah,” quipped the other. “FSU is the best. Winston’s right up there.”
“What happened to integrity?” said a woman overhearing.
“Hey, Winston is a great field general. True leader,” one responded mockingly.
“Really?” queried the woman.
“Yeah,” both men nodded.
“Either of you hear of ‘The Collegiate Women Sports Awards?’”
“Nope,” both men nodded.
“The Collegiate Women Sports Awards is like the Heisman for women. The award recognizes not only superior athletic skills, but also leadership, academic excellence, and eagerness to participate in community service.”
“Wow,” each man murmured.
“Now imagine the women’s nominee standing on a table, in the middle of a dinning hall, yelling ‘Kick the quarterback in the balls.’ Do either of you think she’d still be a nominee?
With that, she gathered her luggage and left to catch her Flight.
From a Buddhist perspective, everyone has to examine the life being led, your world-view and things taken for granted. Integrity is speaking with love, compassion, and understanding. Integrity is looking another in the eye who is causing suffering and telling them to stop. This form of integrity comes from compassion and for their victim. It is a truthfulness, which is not only within you, but is also in the world before you.
We all need integrity – more so if your a Heisman Trophy winner.
Categories: Life Lessons