What Parents Can Learn: Richard Sherman”s NFC Showoff

ImageOne game. One brilliant play.  One moment of athletic glory.  One player.  One question.  One answer.  One iceberg that sunk a Seahawk.

If you missed the final seconds of the NFC playoff game, you missed a lot.  After a fantastic contest between 49’s and the Seahawks, the final Superbowl contender would be determined and that decision would come down to the final play of the game.  The 49’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, threw a pass to their best receiver, Michael Crabtree.  In a feat of pure athletic precision, Richard Sherman immaculately intervened, tipping the ball, ending the 49’s last chance of possession and scoring a winning touchdown.  Moments of glory and defeat caused united moans and cheers across a nation of living rooms.  It was fabulous athletic drama and everything we love about competition.

But then the cameras remained on Richard Sherman.  One player, who put together his natural talent and a well-rehersed, routine play at the most crucial moment of an extraordinary event, had the spotlight on him.  

Instead of having a spotlight shine on his incredible professional skill, the spotlight revealed what was beneath his surface.

Instead of a celebration of team or even his individual conquest, Sherman directed a universal choking sign gesture towards Kaepernick and the 49er players, then ran to Michael Crabtree to mockingly shake his hand as if to say, “Thank you very much for giving me the great opportunity to use your lack of talent for my personal glorification”.  It could be argued that Sherman was reacting in the heat of the moment, but enough time drfted allowing the adrenaline to subside before the interview that magnified what had already been witnessed.  “Well, I’m the best corner in the game.  When you try me with a receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you are going to get. Don’t you even talk about me.”  then in a much later defense of his post play self-adulation, “I’m a competitor.  I don’t like people saying negative things about me and running their mouth, but I’m the best in the league.”  

Sherman didn’t back down later either. He apologized to Andrews, then proceeded to call Crabtree “mediocre,” emphasizing each syllable.  “I was making sure everybody knew Crabtree was a mediocre receiver,” Sherman said. “And when you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver that’s what happens.”

 What he didn’t want to go unnoticed, he succeeded in overshadowing.  The media, the social media are not talking about his incredibly athletic and talented play.  Instead he brought on a barage of people saying negative things about him because of how he was running HIS mouth.

It is sad.  What could have been glorious has been so tarnished.  A would-be hero has become a villain.  Maybe Richard Sherman didn’t have anyone warn him about icebergs.  Maybe he didn’t heed the warnings.

What can parents learn from Richard Sherman?  

We can’t ever overestimate the strength of our child’s skill and underestimate the power of what’s below the surface in defining who they are and the level of succeess they’ll achieve.

Ten percent of an iceberg is seen.  90% of it is under the surface.  What’s below the surface both supports what’s seen above and is most dangerous in sinking a ship.   Our children’s natural talent and skill, the 10%, is what everyone first sees, but it’s the 90% parents need to ensure is guided well.  A child’s character will define them long after their athletic pursuits are over.  Parents, let the coach develop your child’s physical core strength while you coach their character core strength that will support all their success.

Coach your child to be self-centered, not self-aggrandizing: 

  • “Your performance will speak for you.  Speak humbly, perform arrogantly.”  Keep the priority on their own performance, how it was a result of the training they’re investing, the natural God-given-can’t-take-credit-for talent they have, and the people around them that they couldn’t have achieved anything without, and the bigger-than-them team goals.  Their actions should flow from the inside, their center, out.
  • “Do what’s right no matter what is happening around you.”  Remind your child that even in the heat of battle, they must make the wise choice to do and say what’s respectful and honoring of the contest and the competitors.  Don’t allow smack, trash-talking.  “You do not climb higher by puliing down others.”

Parents.  Remember.  Your child will reflect your character.  Demonstrate good judgement, wise choices, common sense as you stay centered on your performance as your child’s model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our house, among other things, is an Olympic house.  From the opening ceremonies, to the extinguishing of the flame, our television is on and we join the world in being a part of the Olympic Movement.  We’ve always gravitated to the Olympic spirit that calls on the youth of the world to come together, experience the variety of games and entertaining challenges, the intensity of competition, the effort, the struggle, the refusal to give up, the exhileration of pushing past all prior personal or team boundaries and become the best each competitor can become.  Call us corny, but we 

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2 thoughts on “What Parents Can Learn: Richard Sherman”s NFC Showoff

  1. I have read several articles from some very well known, and less well known writers regarding this event and the most striking one that I remember actually justified his behavior. The premise explained that “we” are all uncomfortable with his post-game histrionics because he is an “intelligent” man (4.2 in High School and Stanford Grad) and “we” are threatened by the way he acted because of his intelligence.

    The argument was lost on me as one must consider that there are MANY different “intelligences” , of which academics fits nicely into.

    It became strikingly apparent, and actually has been all season, that Richard Sherman certainly is a gifted athlete (physical/athletic intelligence/literacy) with a penchant for taunting and berating opponents.

    One has to wonder as to his social/emotional intelligence however. As well, his coaching staff have allowed this behavior to exist all season…

    Imagine being surprised by a child who “talks back” in school when that is the accepted behavior the child has been allowed to historically exhibit without re-direct. Yes, there are vast differences between children and adults, but behavior is behavior.

    Sport/Athletics provides an opportunity like no other to empower children with a set of social skills built on character, and should provide a venue in which they can become confident in appropriately expressing themselves.

    • While I know intelligence and knowledge are separate from character and basic manners, it is steriotypically demonstrated that educated, intelligent people, tend to also demonstrate higher character development. They’re more self-assured because they’re centered on the discipline and sacrifice they’ve made to accomplish the things they’ve achieved. There’s greater self-determination, self-respect, self-motivation thus greater contentment found within and far less need to denegrate and demoralize others only for purpose of discrediting their performance so that yours is seen as “better”.
      The good news is that “WE”, being the masses who watched, clearly didn’t like it. While hurling hateful comments isn’t respectful either, it’s clear Richard Sherman’s antics backfired. He’s intelligent. I hope he connects the dots, learns, adjusts, and moves forward well.

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