Andrew Luck, Epic Moments, and the Unwanted Requirement for a Legendary Victory

Erik Cooper —  January 10, 2014 — 8 Comments

I’ve been a rabid Colts fan since 1984. Lucky enough (pun intended) to have family access to season tickets for many years, I’ve been to more than my fair share of heart-pounding games. But I’ve never seen anything like this past weekend’s 28 point comeback at Lucas Oil Stadium. I’m still recovering.

My 14 year old (ESPN loving) daughter was high fiving complete strangers, even my mom was screaming loud enough to lose her voice, and the UT law student who scalped the seat to my left uncontrollably bear-hugged me like I was his long-lost brother.

Complete euphoria. Here’s 30 seconds of the post-game hysteria:

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 3.21.52 PM

After the adrenaline finally exited my system (I think it was early Wednesday morning) a sobering reality smacked me right in my blue and white painted face.

The sweetest victories – the epic, legendary, tell-your-grandkids ones – are also full of failures. Sure, any playoff win in sweet. But it wouldn’t have been as sweet without two and a half quarter of near disaster mixed into the storyline.

Fumbles.

Interceptions.

A four-touchdown deficit.

Yet with truckloads of embarrassment, judgment, and heckling in tow (and that was just from me), the Andrew Luck led Colts just kept playing, and pulled out a win we will still be talking about a generation from now. We loved that win because it was also filled with the sting of potential loss.

***BESTPIX*** Wild Card Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts

There’s a fine line between mythical and disgraced, and the two are often more intertwined than we’d like to admit. Epic victories usually require epic failure. But when I make a mistake, when life maneuvers away from my intricately designed pre-game-plan, I stop throwing. My fragile ego can’t handle the identity crisis that comes from (fair or unfair) criticism.

Here’s the life-lesson I learned from my Colts historic comeback:

Be willing to blow it. Be willing to look like a fool. We all love the elation of a legendary victory, but few of us enjoy the setbacks, the criticism, and the booing that are almost always part of the winning recipe.

(Oh, and drunk guys give really intense bear-hugs).

Epic stories are full of tension. Will they succeed? Will they fail? The moments we can’t stand are undeniably wrapped up with the moments we don’t want to live without. Embrace both.

Go Colts.

8 responses to Andrew Luck, Epic Moments, and the Unwanted Requirement for a Legendary Victory

  1. Good post! It’s a peek at what I love so much about sports & how they can be a metaphor for the larger world around us. (especially football –> the modern-day epic by modern-day gladiators)

  2. I love these analogies! My favorite line is Epic victories usually require epic failures. Packers fan myself.

  3. Great analogy, Erik. I’ve had my share of frustrating and/or embarassing ups and downs…and I have learned from all of them. Of course, just like the Colts or Luck, we have to be willing to look back and face our mistakes or our challenges, to see how we can do it differently….or not. Sometimes that is not easy, though needed.

  4. Lincoln Thompson January 13, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Man Erik, what’s up? You just keep hitting the nail on the head. Having been down that road a bit myself I’d say we can’t be reminded enough that victory is sweeter because of defeat. Every failure us an opportunity to learn – not an excuse to quit.

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