Humility is a trait that is very refreshing today. In an era where 11 year old kids are taught to make duck faces at their cell phones and post images on Instagram and Tik-Tok and all for the glory of their peers, to finally behold someone—an actual athlete and celebrity—shying away from praise and adulation is something special indeed.
But don’t tell Nathan Rourke I said that. As it turns out, he’s not a fan of all the puffery and misplaced hype, he feels. But what a CFL season he’s had thus far!
I’ve written largely on his behalf and the team’s behalf, and fans are excited at the prospect of having a player like him at the helm of the Lions this year, but as it turns out…it’s all too much for the youngster.
He recently had a lot to say in that regard while speaking to the press:
“I’m human and I make mistakes. But I’ve got a phenomenal team around me. I’ve been telling you guys for the last three weeks that it’s not just me, and you didn’t believe me. I think we showed tonight that this is a really good team, and I just happen to play on it…
You guys are constantly reminding me and telling me how great I am. That’s difficult sometimes, when the reality is that this is a great team. The team is the one who deserves all the respect and all the hype. Hopefully after a win like this, under the circumstances that we had … after all that, you can start saying ‘Hey, B.C. Lions are on to something, it’s not just their quarterback.’”via The Province
And referring to a question put to him if the “hype” fuels him, he said:
“No. That’s … no. That’s not something that fuels me at all. I’d rather not even deal with it if was up to me. It’s just something that I’m gonna have to adjust to as a young guy in the league, in professional sports. It’s just going to be a part of something that I’m gonna have to get better at in terms of understanding…
But when you’re on a good team, these things are gonna follow you. So, you know … it is what it is…You can’t win the Grey Cup in the first three weeks. This is a long season, and it’s the most consistent team is the one that wins the Grey Cup. That’s our mindset.”via The Province (link above)
In the end though, hype or shining a light on someone is what journalists and sports writers do. In the end he’s trying to perhaps alleviate the pressure he undoubtedly feels, and that’s understandable.
And in the past, the pressure has gotten to other sports legends. Tiger Woods for one…Terry Bradshaw for another (okay, yes, he was clinically depressed, but still….).
Sometimes the mechanism built to promote a team is huge and can get taxing on the men and/or women in the trenches, but in the end it comes form a good place or rather it always should. I know it comes from a good place for me…because when I was a kid growing up, sports heroes were the real heroes in my eyes…well, them and firemen…but sports heroes had the power to take us away from bullies and the bad days at school or in the hood….
Sports heroes gave us someone to root for and in the end they showed us if we practiced our craft…if we cultivated what God gave us, that raw talent, then there was somewhere we could go with it. Those hopes and dreams are great to have for anyone…and that’s what a rising star like Nathan Rourke can be for many kids out there, let alone adult fans of the sport.
To be clear, it is commendable that he is humble, as stated above…it’s very refreshing. The fact that he wants to shine a light on the entirety of the team and not just himself is special indeed. But before long the aforementioned ‘hype’ will build him up into an icon and that, ladies and gentlemen, is inevitable. It’s like a snowball: It only gets bigger and bigger as it rolls down that snowy hill….
But he’s young and soon he’ll understand even this. The hype is hard to stop once it gets going, and if he spends too much time trying to fight it, he’ll lose focus anyways—something he’s trying to safeguard.
It is perhaps best to just go the Gretzky route and the Jordan route. Just let it all happen and stay true to you. The hype can die down (I doubt that it will), but your career is what remains in the end; the legacy you leave behind….
Sometimes you can’t stop the train form rolling, folks…James Hetfield had that right as well.
“Oh, can’t stop this train from rolling
Oh, yo, you can’t take it down
No, never stop this locomotion, on and on and on and on
No, you can’t bring it down”
“Better Than You”
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