Junior Seau's Plan
"Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
We spend a lot of time in the Periscope newsletter talking about what we "see" in the news: the economy, government and politics, stock markets, and other investments. We can measure these things and learn about them because we frequently see them in the news. Ultimately, however, we have to let them go, focusing on what we can control. As Antoine Saint-Exupéry says, we must see with our hearts.
Junior Seau had the best eyes of any linebacker in the NFL. He was awesome to watch. He saw everything. The first Polynesian and Samoan to play in the NFL, Junior played for 20 years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. His daughter wrote a great speech.
An athlete's legacy is no better than the legacy of any of the rest of us just because they are paid well. In fact, the newsworthy stories are horror stories about how our professional athletes lose all their money. Junior played (arguably) the most violent position on a football team: linebacker. He filled quarterbacks across the country with fear. This is a larger part of his legacy than his family's financial inheritance.
As he sat in the audience in Canton this Saturday, how did Peyton remember Seau? Does he have a picture of Junior's eyes staring at him from across the line, before a snap? An interception? A sack? Ask the same questions of John Elway. After all, Seau's highlight reel includes more interceptions and sacks of #7 than #18.
I have the honor to be one of the coaches for my son's first tackle football team. Henry is a linebacker like his dad and Junior Seau. And, like us, my son loves this sport. The sports we're playing are shaping our legacy. They are creating the stories that my son will tell his kids, and their kids, who will likely play too.
Junior Seau's plan was to make it to the Hall of Fame, but he didn't live to see it. His death was tragic, infamously newsworthy, and brings pause to all football parents.
Seau lived long enough to tell his kids he loved them, to play his ukulele, and to build an eponymous foundation. He impacted a lot of lucky folks in big enough ways that his story becomes part of our story, in our household, and on our football team, as we learn to play the game, and live, the right way. What else could we ask of anyone? Of ourselves? Strive to be part of something bigger than we are and impact someone else's life story.