Here in Seattle, we are getting excited for the Super Bowl, the yearly football championship. Our local team, the Seattle Seahawks, have only been to the Super Bowl once before (and they lost), so people here are quite excited. Everywhere you go, people are wearing blue, green and silver, and my daughter can’t wait for the game to start. We went grocery shopping earlier so we could get pizza and other snacks before the game.
But I think there’s another reason to celebrate: one of the players, Derrick Coleman, is one of the first deaf players in football.
Derrick Coleman has been deaf since he was 3 years old, and people told him to give up, but he kept trying and trying, and now he is a star player in the Super Bowl. What a wonderful story, don’t you think?
The lesson of this story is that all people have potential to be great. They just have to keep trying.
It reminds me of the Buddhist text called the Lotus Sutra (Hokkekyō 法華経 in Japanese, beophwa gyeong 법화경/法華經 in Korean). The message throughout the Lotus Sutra is that anyone, everyone can become a Buddha (become fully enlightened). Some of the stories are intended to surprise the reader, because it was written at a time when Indian culture was very patriarchal. For example, in Chapter 13, the Buddha assures his mother-in-law, Mahaprajapati, and his wife, Yashodhara, that they will both become fully-enlightened Buddhas in the future.
In chapter 12, there is a scene where the Dragon Princess tells everyone that she will become a Buddha immediately. Everyone is surprised and skeptical since she is a young girl, is non-human, etc. But then she accomplishes her goal instantly.
The Lotus Sutra isn’t intended to be historically accurate; it teaches important lessons through dramatic stories and legendary characters, and the lesson here is that everyone has potential to be great, and it’s important not to discourage or criticize others.
There are other kids out there like Derrick Coleman who need encouragement, not discouragement. There are men and women who have given up because they don’t have confidence. But if they just try, and keep trying, then they will succeed. You can help mentor people like that and give them hope.
So, regardless of who wins the Super Bowl, people like Derrick Coleman have already won. 🙂
Update: Seattle won the Super Bowl! It is a good day to be in Seattle. We crushed our opponents and won the championship for the first time in team-history. We have redemption. 🙂