Tuesday, April 12, 2011

tom brady cried and i dont care

So there's this big hubbub about a special that is airing on ESPN tonight about the 2000 NFL draft, Tom Brady being chosen 199th overall, and what happened to the six quarterbacks that were drafted before arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Because the rest of the country seems to hate the New England Patriots, all of their players, and everything they have accomplished and would love nothing more than to see the entire franchise burn to the ground, this has been the perfect fodder for PATRIOTS SUCK and other types of jealous hate talk. Let's be real here, ESPN knew they struck gold when they had Tom Brady on film getting all choked up over his draft day 10 years ago, and even if they had done 5 more takes where he DIDN'T cry, they were still going to show the crying video because of this shitstorm of attention they knew it would get.

But whatever, we're Boston fans, we can take it, right? Brady's our boy, our hero, and we love him no matter what, because (despite the last few disappointing season ends) he still loves the Patriots and will work as hard as he can to, hopefully, lead the squad to another Superbowl victory.

Well, that's what I thought. But apparently, lots of Boston fans think that Brady's a huge pussy too, just because he got a little verklempt when remembering the most difficult day of his life thus far. OK FINE. I realize that most other people have worse days EVERY DAY than what Tom Brady went through on the day he almost didn't get drafted by the NFL. And I realize that at the end of the video he says "and I thought, Oh thank God, I don't have to be an insurance salesman'" and that's a little callous; like, sorry bro, we can't all have your heavenly gifts and be insanely good looking and be married to the most beautiful woman on the planet and make astronomically unfair amounts of money, so I don't feel that bad for you because I sit in a cubicle all day drafting correspondence and playing with numbers I don't understand. But these are not sad tears that Tom is crying. If you watch carefully, these are the tears of a man who is, at the end of the day, grateful for what he's been given. These, people, are tears of HAPPINESS.

Allow me to explain.

Imagine you're Tom Brady 10 years ago. You're 22 years old, and something you've wanted as long as you can remember, something you have not only promised yourself to, but that also has been promised back to you in the forms of, in this case, being recruited and signed with a huge college football program, and then scouted and courted by various NFL teams. At first, years before, you think this might happen. As time goes on and more things happen that point directly in the path of your goal (i.e. getting scouted, etc) it gets clearer and clearer: this is going to happen....THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!! Because in a 22 year old's mind, one that has been conditioned to believe that if you work hard enough you can get what you want, doesn't see failure as an option. Then, in one night, televised, you're going to find out your fate. He was led to believe that he would be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round. So they sit there and wait. Did anyone choose me? Did anyone choose me? Please choose me. Please CHOOSE ME. The rounds pass. Nearly 200 players are drafted. And more and more it looks like it's not going to happen. Something that you were told was probable now looks completely improbable. You realize: I'm not good enough. And you think, 'what am I going to do? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?' That must not be a fun thing. Not one bit.

Big deal, you say. He got chosen. He's a star. Get over it, stop crying, right?

I'm not so sure. See, I think that the cameras might have caught him at a vulnerable moment. He remembers feeling worthless. He remembers, perhaps, thinking that football had been his whole life, and what did he have if it wasn't football? (Think Boobie Miles from Friday Night Lights). He thinks, perhaps, about his parents, and because he's a (dare I say it?) sensitive soul, he feels the love bubbling up as he relays the fact that his parents were with him the whole way, and how much his parents mean to him. HELL. I DON'T KNOW. It's not like Brady's a close personal friend (though, Tom, I wouldn't mind it if we were...), but he chokes precisely at the part where he talks about taking a walk with his mom and dad around the block. That's probably a big memory for him, one of intense familial support. Perhaps this is a show of a man's love and respect and appreciation for, ultimately his parents and everything they had done for him. That night they probably let him know that, in the end, it would be OK if he didn't get drafted by the NFL, that his life would perhaps take a different course, and that they loved him very much. For someone on the brink of adulthood, the moment where you get what you've been working for or don't get what you've been working for is a pivotal one. Perhaps Tom's dad said something to him that he'll always carry with him, something that lifted him out of what was, up until that point, the most awful feeling he'd ever had. I get that.

But, regardless of what the real reason is, I respect those tears and I applaud them because they were not tears of a man who is pompous or inflated. They were not tears of a man who doesn't remember from whence he came, they were not tears of a man who doesn't love his family, and they were not tears of a man who was ungrateful. "The Patriots finally called," he said. They were tears of happiness and a salute to how far he's come.You want to call him a pussy? Fine. So be it. But don't say you wouldn't have the same emotional reaction if that were you up there. Who's to say you're not watching the ESPN special right now, getting choked up?

Maybe I'm too much of a chick and I've read far too deeply into the display of emotion. But I think that he's human. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. He's still the best quarterback in the NFL. Anyone that doesn't think so can suck it.

1 comment:

  1. I would like him to get a haircut, but maybe that's just me?