Perseverance is key in life — not just for Foles

“He has traveled a long road: starter and castoff, journeyman and backup,” Associated Press pro football writer Barry Wilner wrote last week, chronicling the unusual path that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles followed to the summit of his sport.

You all know much of the story. It picked up with the mid-December season-ending injury to starting QB Carson Wentz, landing the backup Foles in the driver’s seat for the playoffs and ultimately into the biggest game of his year — and of his life.

Many football fans were discounting the Eagles. Bookmakers in Vegas had ranked the Eagles as underdogs throughout the playoffs, and now they were 5.5 point underdogs — the largest in the Super Bowl in 10 years — against the seemingly unstoppable New England Patriots.

But as Wilner points out, there was one major underlying theme to the Foles success story: perseverance.

“The big thing is don’t be afraid to fail,” Super Bowl MVP Foles said following his team’s unlikely 41-33 victory last week. “In our society, with (social media) it’s a highlight reel. I think when you have a rough day, you’re feeling you can’t — failure is a part of your life. I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t failed a million times.

“You share that. I’m human, not Superman. When you struggle in your life, it’s an opportunity to grow. If there’s something going on in your life, embrace it.”

Wow.

I read that statement in the Associated Press story moving on the wire Monday, the day after the Eagles had taken home the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time ever. And then I re-read it.

Today I’ll share it with my family when they read this column, and I hope you also will enjoy reading it, perhaps more than once, as well.

As I tell my kids, failure is inevitable — whether it’s in sports, in school, in our jobs or in our life.

Often that failure comes from bad decisions. When they occur, they often seem insurmountable. However, often they are not. My son made the mistake this week when he spilled a glass of water on his laptop keyboard. Certainly, that became a crisis when he realized the computer is unsalvageable.

Undoubtedly, that’s an expense and an inconvenience, and what some would call a first-world problem.

Will it really matter a year or more from now? Probably not.

But mistakes made by 130 people who died in Trumbull County last year from accidental drug overdoses? Now that’s unsalvageable. Sadly, that number is up from the 107 that died from accidental drug overdoses the previous year.

Still, the remainder of the 1,254 people who overdosed and were revived and treated at local hospitals, according to statistics as we reported this week, now have a chance to persevere. They have a second chance.

On a brighter side of this chemical dependency crisis, the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board is reporting that only 21 of those people were revived more than once. Hopefully that means once is enough to teach them they need to get clean.

April Caraway, agency executive director, also was happy to point out last week that in the midst of the drug epidemic, the mental health and recovery board’s annual study of Trumbull County students’ use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes shows substance use is on the decline by kids. There is a steady decline of use by all ages.

To me, that implies the educational effort is working and our kids are receiving the message of the dangers that come with chemical use.

Foles’ words last week also should send a message, about not giving up when we’re down.

Of course, we aren’t all professional athletes being paid millions of dollars to persevere, but isn’t Foles’ statement one that we all can benefit from not just in sports, but in life?

blinert@tribtoday.com

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