…it’s better to be a hopeful person than a cynical, grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re hopeful, you have more fun.
- Barbara Kingsolver
Neither of the New York teams made it to the postseason, so I thought I wouldn’t get into watching the NFL playoffs this year. I still wish the Giants could’ve made another improbable Super Bowl run, but it has been a rare and genuine pleasure to watch purely as a fan of the game rather than of a particular team.
I can truly appreciate a great play without gnashing my teeth or yelling at the TV because it went against my team. Since I don’t have to stress over how my team’s doing, I can take real delight in—and inspiration from—the stories of relatively unheralded players. Like the Broncos’ 5’5” return man Trindon Holliday, who ran back a punt and then a kickoff for touchdowns against the Ravens’ vaunted defense. Seeing the smallest man on the field come up with two of the biggest plays, that was something.
Then there’s the New England Patriots’ fourth-string tight end who got significant playing time when starter and star Rob Gronkowski left with an injury in the first quarter of the divisional playoff against the Texans, the man with the mellifluous and meaningful last name, Michael Hoomanawanui. That’s pronounced uh-oh-mah-NAH-wah-NOO-ee and means “to be patient” in native Hawaiian.
Guys that far down on the depth chart have to be patient and wait for their moment to shine. Hoomanawanui doesn’t take the opportunity to play in the NFL, and for one of its top teams, no less, for granted. “I wake up each and every day very thankful,” he told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. He even has the word “Blessed” tattooed on his hand as a reminder.
He’s given some thought to what’s made the Patriots so successful over the years and he pinpointed it after last Sunday’s victory at their stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. “When you walk into this building,” he said, “everyone is excited to be here... It starts at the top and trickles all the way down the roster.”
I think that’s so true. A big key to staying positive is to be excited about where you are and what you’re doing... whether it’s working, hanging out with family or even watching ballgames. Now I’m ready for some football!
Amy Wong is the executive editor of Guideposts and was a founding editor of Positive Thinking. She lives in New York City with her adopted dog, Winky, a natural-born positive thinker who believes that everyone has a treat for her and every day is the best day of her life. Amy hopes to be that optimistic someday (she’s working on it!).