Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mr. Irrelevant

Today begins the 2013 NFL Draft and strangely I am reminded of a scene from the brilliant 1989 movie the Dead Poets Society. This scene near the beginning of the film has two young men with the names Meeks and another names Pitts. Robin Williams' character describes these names as "Unfortunate". He goes on to charge them to carpe diem, seize the day!

So what does this have to do with the NFL draft, it reminds me of how labels can affect us. There is a long tradition in the NFL Draft that the last player chosen is dubbed, "Mr. Irrelevant". That sounds a little harsh, but unfortunately it bodes true in most cases. Since 1993 only seven Mr. Irrelevants have actually played in an NFL game and only one has played in the Super Bowl (and of course his team did not even win in Super Bowl XXXI).

I think about this with my wife, my children, my co-workers, myself. Being diagnosed with ADD is a label, and usually not a good one. Let's just say that it is not something you put on your resume. I have dealt with it my whole life and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of it. It is something that I will struggle with until I stop sucking air on this earth. Even now, with all of the attention and awareness of the issue, it is still an "unfortunate" label to have, especially as an adult. I should have grown out of it, or dealt with it using medications. I didn't and I don't. I have tried to grow with it and I have tried to use medications at times, but more recently I have tried to learn how to harness it and channel it.

Labels are a very powerful thing and impact our minds. I caution all of us to avoid using labels on people, especially with our children. You know like, "This is the pretty one....He is the athlete....She is so smart....He is a little slow....She is so creative." They may be accurate in some sense, but it can pigeon-hole people into roles that they have to play the rest of their lives.

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