Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trust Your Power

I'm cheating on the Minnesota Vikings Sunday and cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. If you've been following the road to the Super Bowl coverage at all, you've probably heard the name Derrick Coleman and know he's a fullback for the team -- and he's deaf. Or if you're not a football fan (I forget those people exist until my roommate's eyes glaze over when I start spouting stats or names), you know him from the Duracell commercial that's making the rounds on Facebook.

I love the positive media attention Coleman's getting, and how inspiring his story is for anyone who watches it, especially deaf kids. He's worked hard to get to where he is, refusing to let his hearing impairment define or defeat him. I know exactly how he feels, as I've fought similar battles most of my life.

I can't count how many times I've been told, "You can't do that." Then did it. Been made fun of? Oh, yes. Stared at? Still happens. Misunderstood, passed over, left out, isolated...the list could go on, but I learned early on that if you want to survive and thrive, you have to rise above, let go, push harder, keep your chin up and find ways to make it work. Yes, kind of like Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll's "No whining, no complaining, no excuses" mantra. And when you get that chance -- run with it like Coleman has.  

Coleman's Duracell commercial is one minute of life, laid raw. In case you're not one of the more than six million people who've viewed the ad or want to see it again, here it is:

I'd like shake the hand of whoever came up with the concept and had the guts to pitch it. This commercial tells every deaf kid out there who was "picked on and picked last," left out and left behind by their hearing peers: it gets better. Maybe not NFL-career better, but better enough that someday you'll look back and smile and know all the struggles are worth it. Obstacles are made to be overcome. They make you stronger, and they make that victory all that much sweeter.

I'm hoping for a sweet victory for the Seahawks -- and I'm definitely going to be watching for #40 on the field.

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