Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Faith and Football: The Brandon Burlsworth Story

I'm hunched forward in a three point stance waiting for the next command, I wait for the shrill whistle as sweat trickles down the back of my neck into my helmet. The grass is hard and unyielding not anything like the summer grass from months ago. My fingers ached and my back was burning in the early Autumn sun. I took a furtive glance to my right. The bench looked great from there and yet I was still on the field. So many times I just wanted to stand up and walk to the locker room because I felt I shouldn't be there. The story of my life wasn't going to be an inspirational movie about football.

As a big guy I have spent much of my time battling with self doubt and a lack of faith in myself. It started when I was younger; always tall for my age, my body progressed into a more husky than svelte athlete. I went to department stores with my mom to get special sized clothes because I couldn't fit in the things my friends were wearing. I wasn't a lean, mean, fighting machine like the other boys. My body was just built differently and that made me doubt where I fit in.

I didn't have the swagger of other kids, I just went along for the ride. I didn't believe in myself because I was different, but I was different for a reason. What I did do, was work hard. I always wanted to prove to myself that it could be done, that the bench was the easy way out. I could watch the game from the sidelines and never really play but where was the fun in that?

There is something about the feel of something greater than yourself. In my last year in elementary school, my school put on an awards presentation. It was the kind of show where you knew which kids would be striding up the aisle and confidently running up the risers to the stage. You knew that when MVP was called just who would flash a smile and wave to the crowd. Me? I hung my head and looked at my sneakers. I knew them inside and out; the cracked leather, the frayed end of the left shoelace that was barely hanging on, and the worn sole on the right side from shuffling my feet.

That's when it happened. A person's faith in me changed me in a way I never thought possible. The coach announced that they were awarding the next trophy to a person who exemplified heart and strength in athletics. I never heard my name. The guy next to me poked me and pointed to the stage. I staggered to the stage like I was walking underwater. There had to be a mistake. Yet there I was on the stage, shaking hands and accepting this award. In that moment, my faith in something greater multiplied exponentially.

Brandon Burlsworth is just like me. We were made just the way we were supposed to be. In a world where faith in people is lost, a story like the movie GREATER is just the thing that people need to see. The movie tells the Brandon Burlsworth story which begins from a childhood admiration of Arkansas football to the very goal he promised to himself that he would make real, that someday he would be playing for the Razorbacks.

Brandon faces ridicule from most everyone he meets because he is not athletic. He is often overweight and made fun of by peers and onlookers alike. Despite this abuse, Brandon always holds his head high and always takes the higher road. He discovers why it doesn't matter what others think but what he thinks is what defines a person. Brandon reminds me of how I felt about myself back then.

Along the way Brandon is inspired by coaches who see something in him just like my coach saw in me. It was this drive to be persevere despite any uphill battles that we face that may be hard for others to see. When adversity shows up and the fight becomes harder, we may start to question whether our hearts are really in it.

What will keep us afloat always is the way that we treat each other. The relationships that we build with others out of love are always going to be the strongest. In GREATER, Brandon has a support system that is deeply rooted in family despite his father being an alcoholic. He finds strength in others like his mom and brother who lift him up in times where he feels he may drown.

Relationships are often tested in this movie but most of all our faith in ourselves that there is something greater in each of us. These days my eyes aren't on my feet anymore and my shoes are less worn. Each part of life is a down that we play out until the whistle. How we perform in that play and how we give it our all defines us as people. While we sometimes may not be able to see the entire field we have to trust that the plays that are being called are the right ones in the end.

Go see the movie GREATER August 26th at a theater near you & watch GREATER the movie trailer below for a sneak peek of what the movie is all about.

Check out more about GREATER on social media:

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and GREATER Productions. but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GREATERMovie #GreaterTheMovie  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

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