where I stand

I grew up in Indianapolis. Indy natives generally agree on three primary premises:.

  • One, basketball is best in the Hoosier state (ahem… Boilermaker state).
  • Two, the greatest spectacle in far more than racing occurs each Memorial Day weekend.
  • And three, Tom Brady is deserving of scorn.

As Super Bowl LV is now before us — the day when some 11 million pizza slices are expected to be consumed and over 100 million of us will tune in sometime during the contest — it seems appropriate to wrestle with the third premise, as Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is set to appear in his unprecedented, tenth NFL championship game.

Now before my East Coast inhabitant friends accuse me of hate speech, allow me to first semi-humbly offer the basis for said scorn. 

As one who rooted for the Colts (after they fled Baltimore in the middle of the night, which would later prompt the original Browns to flee Cleveland), we began to thrive during the era of the infamous #18, Peyton Manning. In the early 2000’s, led by Manning, we did great — until it annually came to playing the dreaded Patriots. Suffice it to say, they were a most prickly thorn in our side… or at least in our yearly playoff hopes. Tom was seemingly always in Peyton’s way.

We would finally overcome the challenge in the 2006 postseason, besting New England in another classic game and earning a trip to Super Bowl XLI. Still it seemed it was always Tom vs. Peyton. Peyton vs. Tom. We knew then that one of the two would one day be colloquially crowned the G.O.A.T.

To further justify my city’s scorn, no less, Brady led the Patriots during multiple (well, at least a humongous two) scandals… “Spygate” in 2007, in which Patriot staffers secretly videotaped opposing coaches’ signals — and “Deflategate” in 2015, in which the Patriots used deliberately, under-inflated footballs to give their team an unfair advantage during the playoffs. Brady would end up being suspended for his no doubt grievous role in the process.

But a funny thing soon happened.

I moved.

Now before any rush to judgment (as I may possibly be guilty of above, slightly maybe, potentially, along with most of the entire city of Indianapolis), allow me to offer a simple truth I recently heard one wise man say…

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

In other words, where we stand on an issue, idea, impression of a person, etc. is determined by the vantage point from where we’re sitting. We can’t see all perspectives from singular vantage points; it’s impossible. Such means then that our perspectives are each incomplete.

Where did I move to?

Florida. And Tom did, too.

I see a few things I couldn’t see before, as now I’m a little nearer to the person. I see a family man, devoted to his wife for the past 12 years. I see a strong leader, who leads by example, doesn’t brag about self nor chastise his opponents. I see a lighthearted man, whose social media presence is consistently engaging and fun. I see a man with sincerity, who warmly greets competitors, such as Drew Brees and his boys after what may have been Brees’ final professional game. And as one blessed with a resume that qualifies him as the G.O.A.T., I also see an imperfect man, thus making him capable (just like you and me) of the poor judgment that previously served only as the substantiation for my scorn.

I can see that now. But I had to first move from where I sat.

What are those issues, ideas and impressions of people where we feel emboldened or self-righteous in where we stand, but we’ve failed to realize where we sit? We are unaware of our narrow, limited perspective. Where would “moving” broaden our stance? Where would it make us wiser? More accurate?

As for today, let me simply wish Brady and his Buccaneers good luck. I like him. I like them. For the record, I kind of like that Mahomes guy, too. I find each QB and their team deserving of both my admiration and cheer. No, not of my scorn… which now I can see.