Michael Vick’s Shiny Green Pants

Michael Vick is no pretender, in the sense that he would love to lead his team this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He is no pretender because he didn’t turn this situation into a Quarterback controversy, simply because there is no controversy. He has paid his dues, he is still one of the most athletically gifted QBs to ever play the game, and perhaps with a little more patience and hard work his story will be one that rivals the most Rudyesque of football movies.

While some may question the coach’s motives to pursue the harder path of benching MV, especially in light of his last two performances,  the fact is that the Eagles organization have done a wonderful job in providing an environment where this young man can learn, improve his passing game, and be protected from the demons which no doubt assail him. In a society where faster is better , Coach Andy Reid has effectively slowed the circus down, and placed some of the load squarely on his own back.  Coach Reid has shown that there are always options, there are always alternatives, and sometimes if one takes a little time and effort, one may find a win-win scenario.

The American youth has no shortage of heroes and heroines to look toward… many, especially the brave youth who fall on the field of battle are unheralded.  Where we typically fall short, is in our guidance of our youth, and in the effort we should make to disseminate these opportunities, and teach them real world values, norms, and intangible concepts like honor, the value of a promise, and of course commitment. I am often reminded of being taught to cross the road. Instructions (look left, right, and left) would not have been half as productive as having someone hold my hand and walk me through the process.

Like our children, the MV story is a work in progress. There are many parallels we can take and use in our own lives, our careers, and our relationships. Disappointments, and setbacks need not be permanent life fixtures. So what if MV has to ride the bench… keep those leotards bright, and shiny…  I bet deep down he’s just happy for a chance at continued redemption, and an opportunity to play the game he loves.

The Chokwe Tribe of the Congo, stand out as one which maintained their cultural identity by proactively adapting to outside influences, and developing a deeply stylistic approach to their African Tribal art and craft. As in the case of other African peoples, the Chokwe’s success and survival resulted from their cultural flexibility and ability to adapt to impending change.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - "Art of the Senses - African Masterpieces from the Teel Collection"

The Chokwe artwork incorporates many sculptural figures and masks evoking the memories of their founders and cultural heroes. This idealized image of a chief (or mwanangana, “lord of the land”) is among the masterpieces created by Chokwe artists of the Moxico region, which flourished in the nineteenth century.[1] 

For Michael Vick there may be movies, documentaries, articles, and books.  His story is still being written and many hope for a remarkable ending, one in which his work extends off the field, and one where youth of all walks of life can find some inspiration, a humble attitude, and a deep reservoir of courage.

[1] http://www.randafricanart.com/Chokwe_2.html

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