Super Bowl LV (55, which like singer Mr. Samuel Hagar, I cannot drive) happened, and I watched almost all of it. I missed some of the first quarter because I was out riding my bicycle. Usually I don’t bother to watch millionaires try to knock the tar and feathers out of each other, but since I’m biking less I had the time and heard it would be a good game, I tuned in. Love him or hate him (this article explains why), it seems pretty clear to me that with more Super Bowl wins than anyone else including his former team, Thomas “Tom” Edward Patrick Brady Jr. truly is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) quarterback of professional American footballer. It’s good to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan right now; not so much for the New England Patriots.
As it relates to this blog, it turns out he also rides a bike: He does a charity bike event every year for folks with disabilities, the Best Buddies Challenge. Also, he rides around town with his wife, a kid on the back, or his dog in a basket on the front.or alongside on a leash. He’s even taken teammates on mountain bike trips to Montana. So what can mere mortals like you and I learn from an elite athlete like him? Let’s see.
It goes without saying that you don’t win seven Super Bowls (out of 10 trips) and all the other records Tom Brady has without this characteristic. Famously, he goes to bed early, like 8:30-9 pm, to get about nine hours of sleep. He’s up at 5:30 to study game tapes, work out, and then practice. He’s been paid about $263 million over 21 years in the National Football League, so he is focused on being totally committed his goals. But it’s not just about the money, which he’s shared to help keep others on his team.
For average dudes and dudettes, we probably won’t ever (and don’t have to) ascend to such superhuman heights to take a lesson. That is, if you have distractions keeping you from your goal(s), what can you do to reduce them? For me, a rigid sleep regimen would be a good start. If you’re half-assing your workouts, can you maybe do less time but go a little harder? Whatever your “why” is, we have the same 24 hours as Tom. Choose wisely. There’s a lot more to his focused discipline; see the link at the end.
From his well-known strict diet, drinking copious amounts of Ph-balanced water, ceramic-lined sleepwear, and other not always science-based practices, he puts a high value on his wellness. It’s something that’s required to be in peak form after 20 years in a brutal sport playing and winning at the highest level at age 43. So he absolutely does everything he can to be in tip-top shape. Those of us who are just trying to make it through the day with jobs, school, kids, and so on have a different level of problems.
Maybe we can make a little less harmful food choices, or switch off the screens a little earlier to get more sleep, up our steps or our speed on our daily walks, find some deeper connection to our bodies, minds and emotions like through a little tougher yoga, meditation, and breathing or even add in fitness band resistance exercises (like Brady, who doesn’t use weights). These are all things I’m working on improving this year. I’m hoping to improve my overall health, not just be in the condition to bike 6,666.66 miles in 2020. Nobody’s paying me millions, but I’m doing what I can because good health is priceless. And by the way, last year was my highest mileage — by 1,460 miles over 2016 — plus 600 miles walking. So one can improve with age, like Brady, or at least minimize the inevitable losses of aging.
Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork
Pro football is a team sport, and Brady is a master team leader. He leads by example, really listens to others, and shares the credit of winning and the pain of losing, too. If during these pandemic times you’re being a good citizen and are single like I am, avoiding other people like the plague (pun intended) may make you feel as if you’re a team of one. And maybe you are, and ok with that, in which case, goody for you. After all, no one else can exercise for you, unless you hired a physical/massage therapist, which would beg the question, what are you doing here on this blog?
But even as an amateur, non-competitive cyclist, I have a team (even though they don’t know it). There’s the mechanic (actually, there are several shops I like), retail clerks who help me out, the occasional friends I ride with, and even City transportation workers who provide bike lanes. Other cyclists who give a friendly wave, followers on Strava, and readers of this blog (and beta readers of my book) are also part of it. So you may feel like you have a team, but I bet you do. Think of them some times, and how you interact with them, and thank them. (Thank you for reading, by the way!)
He’s Not Perfect, But He Keeps Bouncing Back
Is TB a good person? Did his team, the New England Patriots, cheat by spying on another team’s scouting in 2007? Was he friendly with the previous US president, with whom he golfed and talked, voted for, and donated to? Is he lucky because he married a Brazilian supermodel? Are his genes and good looks unfair? True, the Deflategate cheating allegations weren’t great, especially seeing how destroyed his cell phone. Although to read that link on Wikipedia, it was a very complicated issue, and one could go either way. The team was fined $1 million and Brady was suspended for four games the next season, and yet they still won their league and the Super Bowl. Besides, who cares? At 20 degrees the balls are all like bricks anyway. He also was drafted out of college very late, isn’t a very fast runner, tore his ACL due to a low hit and missed a whole season, and still is the oldest QB to play and win a Super Bowl. He was Most Valuable Player, too, for the fifth time. Seems too good to be true. But he has an incredible drive to succeeded, he works very hard, and he keeps coming back, and that is all very instructive.
What does that have to do with you or me? Well, you usually don’t compare a VW bug to a Maserati, but they’re both still cars. You’ve got to keep your motor runnin’, and do whatever it takes to find your way to do that. So like him or not, but whatever he’s doing is working. So maybe we could all take a page from Tom. Do yoga. Meditate. Do brain exercises. Eat less inflammatory food. Work out smarter. Sleep early and a lot. And oh yeah, ride your bicycle!
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