Progression, Not Perfection

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to watch my NFL team, The Philadelphia Eagles, win the ultimate underdog Super Bowl against the Patriots. It was an intense game, played well by both teams, but the Eagles managed to outplay the New England team and come out on top. It was honestly one of the best games I have watched in a long time! I was beyond stressed, especially during the last 4 minutes of the game; so much in fact that I was shaking from the adrenaline! As soon as the win was finalized, my eyes teared up and my heart was so proud of my hometown team.

One of the greatest things about this win, was that the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl before. I’ve waited my whole life to see this happen, and it was sooo worth the wait! Now hopefully we won’t have to wait that long again for the next one 🙂

What’s even more impressive, though, is the underdog factor. Statistically, Philadelphia should have never made it to the championship game. In fact, they were not expected to take the NFC East; but they did.

We lost our star quarterback, Carson Wentz, in the 14th week of the season during a bittersweet win against the Rams, clinching the NFC East and proving sometimes the underdog shouldn’t be underestimated.

When Wentz tore his ACL and LCL in his left knee, it was as if the entire Eagles’ nation across the country felt his pain. Everyone was worried we couldn’t keep going without him and his magical passes.

In came another underdog, our backup QB Nick Foles. As a backup, he hadn’t seen much playing time and the speculations began that the season may end sooner than we’d all hoped.

But, it didn’t.

Clearly, it’s not about who you are and where you’ve been; it’s how much you want to get to where you want to go. In the case of the Eagles, they wanted that win. They left everything they could on the field, playing with everything they had. In fact, they outplayed the titan team, especially with one amazing trick play that even Tom Brady himself couldn’t do in the same quarter.

I have always been so proud to be from Philadelphia, and my heart has been swollen with pride and love for my city and my team ever since Sunday night. I am still in shock that we won!

And honestly, who doesn’t love a great underdog story?

Rocky Knows Best

Another quirky pride thing about Philadelphia is the fact that we love and worship a fictional character from one of the greatest, classic sports movies ever; Rocky Balboa. It honestly makes me laugh sometimes how much we love this person, and act as if he is real! There’s even an iconic statue of him at the base of the famous stairs he runs up in the movie, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Go ahead and be a tourist and run up them next time you’re there, you have to!

Besides being a great movie franchise, there is another reason we love Rocky: he is the epitome of the ultimate underdog who works hard for what he wants, and more often than not he succeeds!

Yesterday scrolling through social media, seeing dozens of posts about the Eagles from friends back in Philly, I saw one in particular that stood out to me. One of my best friends used this quote from Rocky:

“You, me, or nobody isn’t gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

See… this is why we love Rocky!

While of course this advice can be applied to not only boxing, but any sport in general, it clearly can apply to life as well.

Life is definitely going to hit us hard at times. Sometimes it will even sucker punch us when we are least suspecting it, before we can block and counter it. Things happen.

But, its in those moments that are truest character is tested, because when we choose to get up and keep going, thats when we see our real strength we may not have known was there before. Just like Rocky said, you have to keep moving forward!

nolite te bastardes carborundorum

The thing to remember, though, is that you haven’t failed if you have been knocked down. Because like I said, it’s going to happen from time to time. In fact, it’s inevitable! It’s one of the necessary evils, otherwise we would never learn and become better.

But just because you’re down doesn’t mean you can’t get back up. It means life is testing you and your ability to succeed and you NEED to get up. You should WANT to get up, and get back out there and fight even harder against whatever is pushing you to the ground.

And we will get knocked down from time to time, because we are not perfect, and neither is life.

But what we are moving towards shouldn’t be perfection;

Instead we should be striving for progression.

What I mean is, progression forward is more important than doing something “perfect” according to whatever stupid worldly standards you’re being held accountable against. The Eagles will I’m sure admit that their game on Sunday, as well as their entire season, was not perfect in anyway; but they won because they continued to fight and get up when they got knocked down. They proved that no matter how many times you get knocked flat on your back, you can always get back up and move forward. Even Rocky wasn’t perfect either; sometimes he lost!

But all that should matter, is if you are progressing forward and learning from each time you do get knocked down. Maybe next time you’ll see the hit coming, and you’ll block it. Maybe next time you do get pushed down, it won’t take so long for you to get back up.

We can’t let life keep us knocked down, or as the title of the section is called, “nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” If you’ve seen the amazing show on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll recognize this Latin phrase.

Apparently it is not translated entirely the way it should, but for the purposes of the book and the show they translated it to mean “don’t let the bastards keep you down.”

So, don’t let the bastards of life hit you and keep you down. Be a fighter; get back up and progress forward.

You may be the underdog at times, but as history shows us time and time again, the underdog can win! Keep fighting, and keep getting back up, and as we say in Philadelphia… Fly, Eagles, Fly!

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Photography by: Angela Marie Photography  Hair/MU: Kathy Lynch