The picture tells it all. It was a crushing moment. A moment that Brandon Banks will never forget.
Brandon Banks is tiny compared to the rest of the professional football players in the CFL. He says he weighs 153 pounds. His trainer says he’s 143. He’s fast with dependable hands and a heart as big as the stadiums where he plays.
The Hamilton Tiger Cats were building what could have been a huge upset in the championship game. Down to the Calgary Stampeders 20-6, the rally started. And with just minutes left in the game Brandon Banks returned one for a touchdown. Or so he thought. It was a memorable display of athleticism. As he was zipping down the field he had a purpose, a mission, a dream – get the ball into the end zone, score the winning touchdown and finish a remarkable comeback for his team. That’s the stuff that heroes and legends are made of.
It wasn’t to be.
As Banks ran, behind him a penalty flag had been thrown. A clipping call on Hamilton. And as the camera zoomed in on Banks with the look of determination on his face that led to a victory celebration in the end zone, my heart sank for this diminutive warrior. He had no idea that a penalty had been called. He had no idea that this amazing kick return was in vain, that the score wouldn’t count and that his intense effort to inspire his team would quickly turn to anguish.
Within seconds of feeling the triumph of what could have been the game winning touchdown he realized it was not to be. Something totally beyond his control had stopped his team from achieving the dream they’d battled for all year. He crumpled in the end zone.
This is a learning experience for all of us whether we watched the game or not.
Because Brandon Banks proved a point yesterday.
If he had been in tune with the stunned silence that began as the fans recognized a flag had been thrown, would he have stopped? Had he taken a quick look at his teammates on the sidelines holding their hands to their heads would he have just given up?
He didn’t stop. He didn’t give up. And the reason he didn’t stop was very simply that his focus was so intense that he had no idea that something had gone terribly wrong. It was out of his mind, out of his sight and out of his control.
Brandon Banks was focused on one thing and one thing only. Achieving the dream. And in that picture of a crumpled, heart-broken football player is the true essence of motivation.
We should all have this kind of drive, determination and focus. And despite the fact that he didn’t score the game winning touchdown Brandon Banks caught the ball, turned on the jets and did exactly what he set out to do.
His touchdown didn’t wind up creating CFL history. It didn’t count. But he scored it anyway with laser-like focus on completing his mission.
That’s what heroes do.
That’s why this picture of a dejected, devastated athlete has been placed on my computer monitor.
To remind me that Brandon Banks’ touchdown didn’t make it to the scoreboard. But he completed his mission.
“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” (General Colin Powell)