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From Side Lines to Center Stage: Torah Lessons from Sports

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By Rabbi Yaakov Silverman
After an incredible first half of the season, Deshaun Watson’s torn ACL stopped him in his tracks. Texans fans and fantasy owners that had vested interest in this young, exciting, and talented QB, must now face the uncomfortable realization that his rookie season is over. All those records he could have broken will remain intact and his success cut short. Injuries like this one happen often in the NFL and usually have devastating results. Seasons end prematurely, fans lose interest, and teams watch promising beginnings dissipate. However, in some instances, the opposite happens. Sometimes when all looks bleak, the surprise rookie, the unknown player, or the struggling journeyman find themselves in the limelight, a position they never had before, and thrive like no one could have ever imagined. Think of one of the greatest QBs of all time, the ageless Tom Brady. He was on the Patriots sidelines in the shadow of one of the greatest New England had ever seen, Drew Bledsode. After Mo Lewis of the New York Jets put a punishing hit on Bledsode, a hit that almost killed him, the Tom Brady era and the Patriots dynasty began. When Bledsode went down, the feeling in Foxborough was one of despair and then this unnamed kid got his chance and is still making the best of it. In the darkest of times there can be the greatest revelations of light. Our Rabbis teach us that before a leader dies, his successor is already born and developing. With a loss comes an opportunity for rebuilding and growth through new paths and untapped potential. As we encounter difficulties in our daily life, be it at work, home, or in our inter-personal relationships, we can view setbacks as challenges, allowing us to have new possibilities for growth and the ability to be people we have always wanted to be. It can strengthen us as Jews and members of the community and can be your calling to take the step from backstage right into the spotlight.

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