#72

First and foremost, I must take this time to sincerely apologize to my thousands upon thousands of dedicated readers for my prolonged absence. I get the sense that all of you from Nicaragua to Haiti, From Azerbaijan to China, have been patiently waiting for my next blogg post like The Better Half awaits for the mail after ordering a new pair of boots. The truth is, as we have gradually carried on with normal life, it has been more difficult to find time to write–but alas– I am back like Slim Shady, and hope not to disappoint you all again.

I wanted to restart by addressing an interesting phenomenon occurring in sports rights now, involving your Denver Broncos. The story began in 2017 on a lovely evening, when the Broncos selected a young man from the University of Utah named Garrett Bolles to become our new offensive tackle, whose job was to protect the quarterback and open up the run game. It was a beautiful moment- Bolles has a tough upbringing, and made it to this level. Upon getting drafted he brought up his new born baby, and held him out like the mighty Lion King held baby Simba out over the majestic kingdom.

It was all well and good, until the season started. And the one after. And the one after. In his first three seasons he tallied a whole lot of holding penalties. For those of you non football experts out there, that is bad. Said John Elway, a year ago:

Well, it’s got to stop. Period,” Elway said on his weekly appearance on KOA NewsRadio. “There are no more excuses for it. He’s had 26 holding penalties in the last two years and two games, so it’s got to stop. The bottom line is if he thinks he’s getting singled out, he is. He’s got to understand that. He’s got to understand what he’s doing. And that was my question [Sunday], ‘Does he know what holding is?’ Does he know what he can and can’t do?’ If he thinks he’s getting targeted, he’s got to realize he isn’t. We’ll keep working for it and he’s still a talented guy. He cannot do that because it’s beating us.”

Denver sports talk show host and former offensive linemen who won two Super Bowls with the Broncos in the 90’s was so disgusted with his play, he stopped referring to him by his name, instead calling him , #72. Said Schlereth, “You think you can continue to run him out and not every guy in that locker room is (angry)? `Why is he on our team? Why is he playing? Why does he get this opportunity?’” Schlereth said. “No other guy gets that? Why does he get it?”

Truthfully, it was bad, and hard to watch. Every time I saw a yellow penalty flag thrown when the Broncos were on offensive, millions of viewers cringed as he got called for a penalty.

And then, everything changed. A couple days ago Pro Football Focus graded Bolles as the top rated Offensive Tackle in the NFL. He appears to be headed toward a Pro-Bowl, and a major contract with the Broncos to be here for the long haul. In an interview with the media the other day he related how he relentlessly trained to improve his technique, having his wife help him, and even practicing in the kitchen.

There really are many lessons to be learned from this amazing story, but the one I want to focus on is that sometimes in life, people go through rough patches, and the haters hate, trying to drag us down. But like Bolles, when that happens, it is vital that we maintain faith in ourselves and our G-d given abilities. We must believe in ourselves, and not allow the outside noise bring us down.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches that a person must never despair, and never give up. We must never forget that by virtue of our humanity we contain a G-dly spark deep within us– that endures through thick and thin. And even when things appear hopeless, and we cannot seem to get it together, like Garrett Bolles, with enough patience and endurance and sheer will-power, we can achieve true greatness and rise back to the top.

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