Leveraged “Speed Bumps” to Pave the Way to
Tremendous Success and Enduring Inspiration
Being a member of the New England Patriots may well be the realization of a lifelong dream for Devin McCourty, but being part of a team is nothing new for the New York native. The cornerback was born to one: the lifelong team comprising himself and his twin brother Jason, who plays the same position for the Tennessee Titans.
After a stellar career at St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey, the two went off to Rutgers University together, but while his brother started playing right away, Devin was red-shirted, meaning he practiced with the team but with the expectation that he wouldn’t see any game time until sophomore year.
Devin refused to let the disappointment of watching his teammates take the field get the best of him, however. Instead, he worked harder than ever to ensure that he would have a spot on the football team his sophomore year. “I worked out and lifted weights and did everything I could do, because I said to myself, ‘There is no way that I’m not going to play next year.’”
That attitude paid off not only when he started playing regularly for Rutgers his sophomore year but on into the present day, Devin believes. “I’ve seen some athletes who are so used to doing everything their way, that when the coach tells them to do something a different way, they won’t do it. Whereas my early college experience was that I had to do everything that the coaches said just to try to get on the field. I think that attitude will stay with me no matter what kind of success I reach.”
The twins were raised by a single mother who was widowed when they were just three. Their brother Larry, older by 17 years, acted as both brother and father figure to them. Their mother made spirituality a high priority, taking her young boys to church every Sunday where community members made them feel protected. As they grew older, their football scheduled interfered with church attendance, but “we still were always aware of our spiritual background,” Devin says.
Devin refers to the obstacles he has overcome throughout his life as “speed bumps.” The very first one was losing his father at such a young age. “At first, I didn’t really understand it. It wasn’t until college that I started to realize all I had lost. That speed bump motivated me because I always felt like he was looking down on me. He left the world early, but Jason and I are what he left on this earth and I always felt we represented his presence here, and that made me want to try to do good.”
Devin’s mother inspired the growing boy with her astonishing sense of determination. Though an on-the-job injury made her unable to work for most of their childhood, she committed herself wholeheartedly to being physically and emotionally present for her boys. “To make it professionally as an athlete, you need someone showing constantly how much they support you. I was lucky enough that my mom was able to be there for almost every high school game I played in four years.”
He and his brothers never forgot their father’s presence, either. “I always felt like my love for sports was kind of connected to my father. His birthday is in September, right around the time we usually play our first game of the season. Jason and I both always feel like in some ways we are playing in his memory.”
When Devin had to sit out his freshman year at Rutgers, his mother offered encouraging insights that he remembers still to this day. “My mom always used to tell me that if you’re talented and you work hard, someone will notice it someday.” And his mother proved herself to be right when both twins ended up on professional teams: first Jason on the Titans and then Devin on the Patriots as a first-round draft pick.
But Devin knows he has more goals yet to reach. “It’s important never to forget that whatever you accomplish, there is always something else. Don’t relax whenever you get somewhere no matter how hard you thought that goal would be to reach. Keep pushing yourself. And never forget to try to inspire other people to reach their own goals.”
With his persistent refusal to let adversity defeat him coupled with his determination to learn all he can from life experiences and those around him, Devin McCourty walks the walk and talks the talk of a remarkable Insightful Player® team member.
Instant replay of Devin’s guiding principles:
- Take inspiration from the stories of others. Believe that if they can overcome their obstacles, you can overcome yours.
- Never stop striving to learn and to grow spiritually. Read a lot and think a lot.
- Find mentors wherever you can: at church, among your coaches, within your family.
- Recognize the good that results when you make sacrifices.
- Appreciate and acknowledge the ways other people are sacrificing for you.
- Be a fighter, remembering that every day of existence is in some way a fight for survival. Do all you can to stay on top.
- Rather than submitting to defeat, overcome it.
- Follow a spiritual path.
- Sometimes, not getting what you want just means you aren’t ready for it yet. Have faith that your time will come.
- Don’t let comparisons to others distract you from recognizing your own accomplishments. Whether you are a first-round or a sixth-round draft pick, you still get to play for the pros.
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call 603-897-0610.
More stories you might like