Andrew Luck retired yesterday. Before his retirement, he was a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. When he was drafted, it looked like he was going to have an amazing career.
But football can be a cruel game. Your body takes a beating week after week, year after year. Luck went through cycles of injury, rehab, more injuries, more rehab.
At the ripe old age of 29, he decided to take care of his body and his health and retired. He said it was the hardest decision of his life.
He was on the Colt’s sideline when the decision became public. This young man who saw his future go up in smoke. This young man who put his body on the line for a game. This man who by all accounts is a good man. This man who retired and walked away from the potential of hundreds of millions of dollars to save his health and his sanity.
This young man was booed when he left the field.
We get it. You are a disappointed people, Indianapolis. But booing a guy who just gave up his life’s dream? That’s cold.
Kindness. Understanding. Empathy. All missing from this equation.
Kindness is something I work on with my kiddos constantly. The most important rule in my library is to “Be Kind.” If you do that, every other rule is easy.
In fact, I’m reading a book titled Be Kind to my 2nd-grade classes this week. It’s the story of a little girl who witnesses something at school and thinks about what kindness really means and how she could have, should have helped.
Spoiler Alert. She realizes by the end of the book that it’s not the huge kindnesses that matter. It’s the small ones.
It’s smiling at a neighbor or waving on the street. It’s listening to someone with your undivided attention. It’s telling people you love them and you are genuinely happy that they are in your life. It’s celebrating with them.
It does not include booing somebody because your team may not go as far as you wanted to this year.
If I taught my own children anything, I hope it’s being brave, courageous and to be kind to others (I know that’s three things but they are all important).
Andrew Luck made a brave decision. He showed courage in the way he tried to work through the injuries, the pain and ultimately making a decision that must have been so hard to make. It’s a shame he wasn’t shown kindness by his “fans” His fellow professional football players, however, came to his defense.
This week, I’m going to ask my students to write down one thing they can do to be kind at school and at home on a strip of paper. I am going to connect all of those pieces of paper like links in a chain and outline the doors of the library with it. I want anybody who comes in to know that we are all connected by kindness and that is my expectation for everyone who comes in. Even football fans.
If second-grade students get it, can’t we all?