Determination to Learn From Adversity
Fosters Deep Rooted Resilience and Profound Growth
For his sense of self-discipline, Jarvis Green thanks his parents. For perseverance, he credits his high school coach. And for the physical endurance that has helped him to become a world-class professional athlete, he acknowledges the influence of his twin brother Jason.
It’s not that Jason encouraged or inspired him to be a runner. It’s that when the two boys would fight as teens, Jarvis discovered that running was a good way to let off steam. Eventually he was jogging five miles a day.”I truly think one reason I reached the point I did in the pros is that I just started jogging to the point where my endurance level was so high it showed on the football field. And that ability separated me from the other players on the football team.
As a young boy, Jarvis was picked on at school. He fought back, and that caused trouble at home. When he was on the verge of being expelled from school for fighting, his parents held up the threat of being placed in a juvenile home. That scared him enough to swear off fighting for good. “We all face times when we have to make decisions. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or a little kid; we all have times when we have to look at what we know about right and wrong and make a decision.”
Until middle school, his mother kept him out of organized sports. When he finally had the chance to take the field in seventh grade, the opportunity almost fell through his fingers. “I was out there doing a drill and I started complaining, saying the other guys hit too hard, this and that. I said, I quit. But my coach — Coach Ronnie Rabilis — rest his soul, he ran after me and said, ‘I coached your brothers and I’m not going to let you off this easy,’ and he got me back out there. From that day on I was positive about the sport and just about a lot of things, about not giving up, because it was so easy to give up.”
His parents divorced when he was in high school, and his mother began to face serious financial struggles. It was a big burden for a young man to carry. “My junior and senior year of high school, I was picking up jobs to keep the lights on and keep water running, helping my mom, and becoming a man overnight. I remember leaving practice, going to work and working 20 to 25 hours a week trying to bring home $100. What I brought home, I would give to my mom to put toward the bills. I did that for my entire senior year.”
His first years at Louisiana State University weren’t much easier. As a major in construction engineering, he saw his grades occasionally dip dangerously low. He sustained serious back injuries in a car accident his freshman year but refused to give up football and played much of his college career with fractures in his back. “I don’t know how I played. It was a stronger power, it wasn’t just me. God was helping me through it.”
Through it all, he was learning tenacity and family loyalty. And he never lost sight of graduating from college as his top priority even though he was starting to get glimmers of hope that a pro career with the NFL might lie ahead. “I started off pretty fast my first year, made a lot of plays, got a lot of honors, and that’s when I started thinking about it, but it wasn’t the most important thing. The most important thing in my head was getting a degree.” He still remembers the elation he felt at his graduation ceremony – and the tears he shed.
Being drafted his first season in the fourth round to the Patriots was another wonderful moment. He stayed with the Patriots for the next seven years and went to three Super Bowls, the last of which ended in a shocking last-minute loss. Looking back more than two years later, though, Jarvis says, “Everybody goes through adversity in life. That loss was something that we had to overcome. We had to learn that you can’t win them all; you’re not always going to get what you want in life. Some things are pre-destined.”
Today, Jarvis is happily married father of three. He started the Jarvis Green Foundation http://www.jarvisgreen.com/ , a non-profit committed to providing support to single working mothers in disadvantaged, low-income areas. Proving himself able time and again to counter physical, spiritual and emotional setbacks with perseverance and a belief in the power of good decision-making, Jarvis Green has the true spirit of an Insightful Player® team member.
Instant replay of Jarvis’ guiding principles:
- A good education with a priority on graduating from college is the single most important determinant to success of any kind.
- Everyone, no matter how easy or difficult their life is, faces decisions. Making the right decisions can mean the difference between reaching your goals and falling short.
- Tell the truth. When you make a mistake, own up to it.
- Be a team player. Distinguish yourself not with self-promotion but with your loyalty and support of others.
- Learn to trust other people and be someone others can trust. Hold yourself and others accountable for actions.
- Treat parents, coaches, teachers and other adults with unflagging respect.
- Learn to find the message in moments of adversity. Figure out what you can learn from a problematic situation.
- There are times when losing is not a sign you haven’t worked hard enough. Sometimes you lose the game no matter how hard you play.
- Be a positive role model committed to changing the world for the better.
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.
©2010 Insightful Player, LLC
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