Person Before Player

My 4th son, Simeon, was born on October 28th! I’ve taken a break from writing since, but I’m back, and you can expect to hear from me weekly moving forward. I have some new ideas in mind as well…

First things first. Sports are great, but they’re not everything. 

There have been some sobering moments in the sports world in recent weeks. Damar Hamlin collapsing during the Bills vs. Bengals game on Monday Night Football being the scariest. It’s brought to light important things to remember: 

1. These are people first and players second. As fans, we only see what happens between the lines and under the bright lights. We may know a player by what he or she does on a court or a field, but that’s only a glimpse of who they are.

2. There are identities that supersede that of being an athlete. The identity of an athlete is often planted, embraced and encouraged at a young age…and it only grows as the stage gets bigger. It’s easy to be consumed by that identity. To believe success or failure in your sport equals your value as a person. That’s a lie. We have identities – son, daughter, brother, sister, father, mother, friend, child of God, etc. – that are more important than ‘athlete.’

Misplaced identity isn’t exclusive to athletes. No temporary title (no matter the prestige) determines who you are. 

I discussed this in a recent conversation on the Big Ten Network’s B1G Today Show. Check out this 40 second clip! 👇🏼


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