What Russell Wilson Taught Me About The Meaning of Life
I married the biggest Seahawks fan in the state of Texas.
Born in Washington, my husband became a “12th Man” before he was out of diapers. He is the Encyclopedia of Seahawks stats and lives in his Russell Wilson jersey on Sundays.
And after two years of marriage—24 months of watching games, YouTubing highlight videos before bed, and throwing Skittles for Marshawn Lynch, I can’t help but love the Seahawks too.
I mean, really, how can you not jump on the bandwagon when you live with this:
Out of all the Seahawks, quarterback Russell Wilson is my favorite. I think he is awesome. Like everyone else, I’m impressed with his discipline, athletic ability, and his disproportionately huge hands, but that’s not why I like him.
Russell Wilson is my favorite because of what he taught me about living a purposeful life.
Here are the top three lessons I’ve learned from my buddy Russ this season. My hope is they will encourage you too:
1. Keep your eyes down field.
I have yet to see a post-game interview when Russell takes credit for something. His quarterbacking doesn’t stop when he steps off the field. No, like a good QB, his eyes are always looking down field—scanning for opportunities to affirm his friends.
He is quick to throw spirals of encouragement to his teammates.
I think Russell knows what happens when we catch all the glory for ourselves. He knows if he holds on to his own success too long, it’s only a matter of time before pride brings him down like a hit from Clay Matthews.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Instead, of looking for ways to build himself up, Russell is busy encouraging others, thanking his fans, and praising God. He models humility better than any other professional athlete I’ve seen. (Kevin Durant, you are a close second, my friend.)
Russ has taught me it’s way more fun to celebrate my friends than to spend energy Heisman-ing attention, affirmation, and success for myself. (There is enough good stuff in the Universe for all of us, remember.)
How often are you looking for opportunities to build up your friends?
2. Find a purpose bigger than yourself.
Another thing I love about Russell is that he finishes every single interview with two words: “Go Hawks!”
Literally—Every. Single. Interview.
Every conversation (even if it’s not about football) is punctuated with a salute to his mission—victory for the Hawks. He is focused on something bigger than himself, success for his team and all of Seattle.
Ok, he may sound a teeny bit like a robot. But Russ’s discipline and consistency in proclaiming his purpose with a bold, “Go Hawks” reminds me that nothing I do or say should be absent of greater purpose either.
I’m not sure what it is for you, but I find tremendous meaning in striving to model my life after Jesus Christ, ultimately to make God more famous.
That’s my “Go Hawks.”
It’s the thing worth repeating in someway during every “interview”. It’s the purpose worth infusing in my workday, my relationships, and my hobbies. It should be the punctuation mark for every activity of my life, because in that purpose I find true victory, fulfillment, and joy.
(By they way, take a second to scan Russell Wilson’s Twitter feed and you’ll see this dude is actually about an even bigger purpose than the Super Bowl. He is wholly committed to Jesus Christ, too.)
What bigger purpose do you live for?
3. Invite others to play on your team.
The best part about the Seattle Seahawks is their crazy, loud fans. They are called “12s” because at Century Link Stadium the crowd is just as much apart of the game as the 11 men on the field. Registering 137.6 decibels (louder than the sound of a jet takeoff), the 12th man causes an average of 2.4 false starts per game.
“The 12th Man has an unparalleled impact on game days.” – Pete Carroll
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks love the 12th man—they know how vital the 12s are for a Seahawks win. In fact the number 12 jersey was retired in 1984 as a tribute to the best fans in the NFL.
And since then, they’ve only gotten louder.
Here’s what I’m trying to say—it’s fun to be invited to be apart of something big.
Now that I’m a new 12, I’m realizing how fun it is to be apart of the team. I’m grateful to be included and can’t wait to help them win the Super Bowl. (They need us, guys!!)
Often I avoid asking others to join me in the greater purpose I’ve found because I never want to seem pushy. I worry they may not be interested. But the way Russell and the Seahawks invite others to join the fight, has taught me something important: Life is so much better when we do it together, especially if we are pursuing a great mission!
If you’ve found something to pursue that’s bigger than yourself, are you inviting others to join you on the adventure?
I think a life lived with our eyes down field, focused on serving others and pursuing a greater purpose ends with lots of happy tears.