If you haven't seen this short clip of Drew Brees, watch it before reading on!!!
(Direct Link From CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6902190n&tag=mncol;lst;3)
I could not help but smile, ear to ear as a matter of fact, as I watched the 60 minutes piece last Sunday by Steve Croft on Drew Brees, especially the portion on Drew accepting the challenge of hitting the field goal crossbar from 20 yards.
Many who saw it (even, it seemed, Mr. Croft), might find it difficult to understand the disappointment Drew felt and showed over "failing" to hit that crossbar more than he did. Most would only see the fact that he missed the bar by "inches" (on the ones he missed), as Steve so indicated. And that every single throw would have been right on target to a receiver, given the small distance he missed that crossbar by...every single one. Almost everyone would simply justify to themselves that being that close was good enough and proves how skilled of an athlete, a quarterback, Drew Brees really is. Almost everyone!!!
So what's the big deal, right? I mean what the heck is the difference if you are that close to hitting what you want and knowing that every pass you made was more than catchable?
Simple, at least for Drew, and just about every single athlete who reaches the pinnacle of their sport (no matter what sport they play) and understand how to overcome hardship when faced with it.
You know the ones; the select few who are able to consistently perform above and beyond what most see as possible. The ones who can execute their skill set instinctively, almost flawlessly, without seeming to bat an eye. The ones who rise above adversity, when most would crumble at the mere thought of it.
They thrive on the competition, the more the intensity, the better they like it. These types of athletes, Drew and the others, seem to derive some type of inhuman confidence from a foreign place unknown to many, so deep most can't even fathom looking that far inside themselves.
You see, like other athletes of his caliber, Drew doesn't see missing that crossbar as a failure, at least not in the truest sense of the word, but as a new challenge; a hurdle to overcome.
Sure he knows he made good passes in his attempt to complete the task and test that faced him, but they were not good enough, nope, not for him, and not for athletes like him.
And it is because of that, and as sure as I am writing this piece, that he will likely attempt to take on this challenge again. Maybe sometime after practice, maybe before, but this man is not finished with this challenge yet, you can just about stake your life on it. Unlikely will there be any cameras, news crews, or fanfare because they are irrelevant to the "why" behind his reasoning.
And when he does accomplish it, and he will, he builds an even deeper sea of confidence taking great pride in the fact that he was willing to go through a process, again, that has brought him to the pinnacle of his sport. A process that few understand, and that many assume would be deflating to one's self esteem due to the determination and efforts one must put forth to accomplish the task at hand. A task that too many would find fruitless.
Deflating to many, yes, but not for Drew Brees, not in the least, rather it is more uplifting to him, and athletes like him, as not being able to meet this particular challenge is like throwing gasoline on a fire that is constantly smoldering.
You see Drew doesn't know the meaning of CAN'T, it is not in his vocabulary. It is very apparent in his actions and in his voice as he says "I'm not...I'm not going to settle for that" after missing on his first attempt.
And so fitting is the end when Steve Croft says, "I wouldn't lose any sleep over it," after Drew misses his last attempt. Drew's response, "Ya...[sigh]...I will."
And you know what, I believe he probably will.
As competitive as he is, as much as he wants to win (all the things people see from the outside), for Drew Brees (and others like him) it's all about inner accomplishment and self-satisfaction, the ability to say to oneself "I can do this" and know, without a doubt, that it is true.