Monday, February 4, 2008

"Way To Go, Little Brother!"

I watched the Super Bowl with about 50 guys in my friend Mark's big shed, complete with a big screen and a vast quantity of ribs, chicken, burgers, assorted sides, and way too much dessert. When the game began, most everybody was pulling for the Patriots to finish their domination of the NFL with a perfect 19-0 record. But by the end of the game, almost everyone was cheering on the rough and ready Giants and their kid brother quarterback, Eli Manning. It was truly an amazing ending to a remarkable game.

I guess there's just something in all of us that loves to pull for the underdog. We cheer when Rocky is still standing at the final bell. And I'll never forget watching the 1980 USA-USSR Olympic hockey game from Lake Placid. Remember? "Do you believe in miracles!" We love it when Goliath takes his lumps from the little guy.

But for me, this football game wasn't just about favorites and underdogs. What moved me was seeing Eli's big brother, Peyton, last year's Super Bowl MVP, up in the box cheering on his little brother. To see the nervous tension on Peyton's face early on, and then the burst of exuberance when his kid brother came through in the clutch with the game winning drive - it was a beautiful thing to see.

Maybe it's just because I am a kid brother with seven older siblings. Maybe it's because Eli looks like he's about 17 years old. Or perhaps it's because we all crave that affirmation, that validation, that encouragement that comes when someone we love and respect smiles and says, "Way to go, kid. You were great."

Some of the commentators are calling it the greatest Super Bowl ever played. I don't know about that, but I am certain that if only little brothers could vote, this game would be chosen as the best ever. Thanks, big brother.

No comments: