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Superbowl Lessons

May 13, 2009 | by Cliff Alsberg

This year, the Superbowl taught the world a great Jewish lesson -- that destiny can rest in the hands of one person.

It is nothing less than a national holiday, of course -- as
it has been since its inception some 34 years ago. And like all other fervent
national holidays, the spectacle of the "ritual of January" has its
attendant high priests, pageantry, color, legendary heroes, millions of adoring
disciples and sagacious commentators.

All this can teach us some valuable lessons about
competition, about what the world deems "important," and, most
importantly, about ourselves.

What could we really accomplish if there was no one else to do it?

What are we individually capable of? What could we really
accomplish if we absolutely had to? If there was no one else around to get the
job done?

This year's 'national holiday' focused on the
next-to-impossible accomplishments of an improbable athlete by the name of Kurt
Warner -- the second string quarterback of the St. Louis Rams -- who no one
thought of as being particularly great. He is a young man who began his football
career by tossing rolls of toilet paper around an Iowa supermarket. But when
St. Louis' $16 million starting quarterback was injured during pre-season,
along came Kurt Warner to emerge as a superstar.

Greatness can come from anywhere. Kurt played hard and he
believed in himself. Now he's the single most valuable football player on
planet Earth.


I always believed in myself ... There was
never a doubt that if I ever got the opportunity, that I could be successful. I
continued to believe that through the times I worked in the supermarket and the
times I played in Arena Football. I never lost sight of that. To me, that's
what it's all about -- believing in yourself, waiting for that opportunity and
then seizing it when it comes.

In these words, he states a powerful, central Jewish
theme: The Almighty created each and every one of us with gifts, talents
and insights. Any one of us is capable of greatness. And the measure of our
potential for greatness very often comes down to the ability to recognize an
opportunity and seize it.

Greatness often comes down to seeing an opportunity and seizing it.

God told the prophet Samuel to go to Jesse's home to
anoint the next king of Israel. After going through all of Jesse's sons and
finding none fitting, he finally approached the shy, improbable young lad named
David who was tending his father's flock out in the field. No one imagined he could
be a leader.

In the Purim story, Mordechai is distraught when -- out of
thousands of the most beautiful women in the Persian Empire -- his beloved
Esther is taken by King Achashverosh to become Queen. But then it became clear
that Esther was in this position for no less a task than saving the Jewish
people from annihilation. An unlikely candidate? Esther, at the risk of her
very life, seized the opportunity and saved the day.

Super Bowl Sunday gave the world a stunning lesson in
personal achievement against all odds.


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