In last week’s Globe and Mail article, “Why Kids Need to Fail to Succeed in School,” Margaret Wente argues that we need to do more than simply help students deal with adversity; we need them to understand that grit is an essential virtue. It is the character trait that may end up defining their future success.
I was watching the Notre Dame vs Navy football game this past Saturday when something remarkable happened, something that reminded me of Wente’s thesis. Take a look at this short clip and watch how Trey Miller, #1, deals with a mishap. In this, the first game of the season, the Navy quarterback fumbles the ball and is immediately thrown to the ground like a ragdoll by a Notre Dame lineman.
This kind of thing happens frequently on the gridiron, but take a close look what takes place immediately after the fumble.
Even as Miller comes out of his tumble, you can see that he is already trying to scramble to his feet, so that he can give chase to the defensive lineman who has picked up the ball and sprinted downfield.
It’s a futile chase, of course, but Miller’s determination is inspiring. CBS’s play-by-play man, Verne Lundquist, has his eye on the ball, but I can’t help but think that he missed an important part of the play. How many of us would have stayed on the ground, or pretended that the fumble was an incomplete pass? Would some have saved their energy to berate the referee or, worse yet, to follow Buffalo Bills’ Stevie Johnson’s example and blame God for a dropped ball? (That’s a tweet that Stevie wishes he could erase.)
All of this leaves me wondering: Where does Trey Miller’s resiliency come from and how can we inculcate this virtue ourselves?