I love historical biographies.
John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and others have SO much they can teach us. We can learn from their breathtaking successes and their stunning defeats. We can learn from their brilliant insights and their bone-headed stubbornness. To ignore these influential giants it to miss out on an education that only hindsight can give.
A couple years ago, I read a book entitled, “His Excellency: George Washington“. (I had just finished reading David McCollough’s 1776, which, of course, included many details of Washington’s life in that year.) Since I have loved reading about our presidents since I was about 8, much of the information in the biography was review for me. What was new, however, was a three-dimensional Washington. A Washington with ego, vanity, brilliance, courage, and, occasionally, a man who looked like he had problems making decisions.
The beauty of leaders like Washington, however, is that THEY learn from their lives, too, making mid course adjustments when the game is on the line. The attack on the Hessian encampment on Christmas Day after crossing the Delaware was daring, risky, and altogether brilliant. WHen it was showtime, Washington, the leader, had his “A” game.
Enter Tim Tebow. I know, a football player has no right being placed in the same sentence as one of the world’s great leaders. Still, while I personally like Tebow, I was among the throngs of people laughing at the Broncos when they drafted him. I thought his throwing motion looked like he belonged in high school, and that professional football players wouldn’t follow a guy who had such marginal skill.
I, like most everybody, underestimated the power of a leader.
Yes, he looks horrible for most of the game. Yes, it seems unimaginable, even to the uninformed observer, that Tebow has a job as a quarterback in the greatest football league in the world. But, in those key moments, when other players shy from the spolight, Tebow shows up. Again, and again, and again.
Champ Bailey, an almost sure-fire Hall of Fame cornerback, spoke for the rest of his teammates after Denver’s improbable 17-13 win over the Jets last night when he said, “I know people are still going to talk bad about us, but I don’t care. … We always have a chance with 15 as our quarterback.”
Sure, the bubble may burst. But there is no doubt that Tebow is another illustration, (albeit a more temporary one), of the importance of leadership. We know it’s true because we see it in history.
Past and present.
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