Mr. Wilson and Me: The Journey Toward Greater

     My life hit its lowest point in September 2014.  A relationship that moved me 2,600 miles ended. My career brought me into a new line of business, leaving me struggling to learn a new way of life. At 40-years old, I lived out of suitcases and off the grace of my brother and his wife. I needed something to believe in – my confidence was shaken and my insides were raw. Back in my once hometown, I was poor, lost and desperate. My brother’s wife’s family graciously included me in their weekly ritual of watching the Seahawks. This, it turned out, would be my saving grace. Not the game, not the wins - but the loss of the Super Bowl and a guy called Russell Wilson.  How could a devastating loss save someone? Because in life, we lose and break. That doesn’t make us losers or broken. Makes us human.

Family Tradition
     The details of my relationship failed mirror the Super Bowl loss in such a way that I can write one phrase and it applies to both. It has taken months to gather the courage to write about this.

     A risk taken didn’t go as planned. What woman (after the age of 40) really finds their soulmate? What team wins the Super Bowl two years in a row?  (Eight , but let’s be honest – winning the Super Bowl consecutively isn’t the point here.) The point is that I believed and went all in.

     Surrounded by loved ones, a decision was made and changed my intended course: a marriage, a family, a Super Celebration. Once the play was complete, coming back for victory was the thing of miracles. Miracles weren’t granted. When I climbed out of the fog of disbelief, I was shaken. Sleepless nights passed, wondering how the other players were coping. A search for answers produced nothing.

     Monday after the Super Bowl, Russell Wilson posted pictures of himself getting his haircut. “Russell got a haircut,” I relayed to a friend. They didn't seem as concerned as I was. On Tuesday he went to the hospital to visit sick children. At this point I was peripherally part of the Russell Wilson fan club. He was a kid – a super star, who worked next door, but existed in a parallel universe. I was (now) a 41-year-old woman living with her two dogs in a tiny apartment. Football was part of my world only because it was a way to connect with my family (and I’m a sucker for party food). But when he got a haircut, when he visited those kids, my mind got wrapped around this idea: no matter how messed up things get, life moves on and you have two choices: let it move on or move on with it.

     Russell moved on with it, refusing to let one play define him. Who was I to let a failed relationship define me? He was moving forward. Who was I to wallow in my self-pity, embarrassment and guilt? I was a fool in desperate need of moving forward, that’s who I was. If he can get a haircut, I can too. If he can get back to visiting kids, I can get back to me. So I did. Everything became about achieving greater.

Why not?
     There’s a story Russell tells about “Why not us?” There is no reason why we can't achieve greater - well, there is one: you choose less. After my loss, I had the strength, but not the tools. Therapy, wine or intense exercise didn't work. What did? I decided I was destined for greater. The losses were part of the past - they no longer had the power to define today. That's my blessing. I define my future, which is going to be amazeballs. 

     I’ve now closely followed Russell for more than four months and can tell something is amiss. To say I have a clue is to create the very false impression I have inside knowledge. I have a gut instinct that’s usually precise. If you read the papers, you know that contract negotiations aren’t wrapping up as quickly as anticipated. His future as a Seahawk isn’t solidified. I know what is solid – that his future is going to be amazeballs (just like mine).  He'll be a great athlete for a long time.  But I see football as a stepping stone for Russell. This is the thing he’s doing now to propel him to greater. He will use his fame and influence to change the world. I blieve this with every fiber of my being.

Ready for Greater
     In the deepest recesses of my heart, I see him using athletics to change lives through charity work. He’s going to need a solid strategic advisor to run the business side of it. He’ll need someone who is hell-bent on helping the world move toward greater. That’s me. Likelihood of this happening? Small. But why not me? Why not? Why not believe in greater? Why not believe that I can use my journey to inspire others? Believing any different is a betrayal of this lesson.

     Just like the team, I had to lose. I had to be rebuilt for something greater. That’s how we all are coming out of this – stronger, wiser, greater. What the future holds for me is anyone’s guess. I haven’t come this far to stop. I came this far because I decided greater is what I’m going to achieve.

     Had Russell never posted the haircut picture, I don’t know if I would have understood. But he did and I do. I believe life moves on and you have to move on with it. Anything less is not worthy of greatness.


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