“Play the hand…”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS February 10, 2014 #475 Up next…”Play the hand…”

After further review…”You play the hand you’re dealt” means you don’t complain about not having an optimal situation, but instead just deal with things as they are. While this old saw may make more sense if you are playing a game of cards, it certainly applies to life situations.

It can mean seeing the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. It reminds us of Johnny Mercer’s famous lyric “Ya gotta accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative”. It recalls an ancient Japanese proverb’s useful suggestion that “You fall seven times but stand up eight.” It asks each of us to quit grousing about our life’s circumstances.

A case in point might be supplied by the Denver Broncos after their sound defeat by the Seattle Seahawks. In Super Bowl XLVIII (48 for those keeping score at home). It also applies to all the other NFL teams that did not, for whatever reasons, finish as Lombardi Trophy winners. Collectively, they may now look forward with hope and promise toward the 2014 NFL season.

But that’s not really the story here. The comments today concern Demaryius Thomas, #88, wide receiver for the Broncos, who shared the unexpected and deeply disappointing outcome of the game with his teammates. But then, ever since Thomas was born he has faced a lifetime of the unexpected. By various reports he was a shy, withdrawn child in a troubled situation.

Thomas was just 11 when his mother and grandmother were arrested and convicted of charges of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine”. They are still serving a 20- year sentence in a Federal Correctional Institution and are not expected to be released until 2017. Into that parental vacuum stepped his Aunt Shirley and Uncle James Brown.

Aunt Shirley and Uncle James sent Thomas to church, enrolled him in sports, and cheered for him at West Laurens High School in Dexter, Georgia where he excelled in athletics. His GPA, his character, and his citizenship were strong enough for him to be offered scholarships to Duke, Georgia, and George Tech, which he chose to attend and major in management. Drafted 22nd by the Broncos he scored a 34 (the upper most echelon) on the NFL Combine’s Wonderlic test.

In the first quarter of SB XLVIII Thomas separated his shoulder yet went on to catch 14 passes to surpass Dan Ross, Jerry Rice, Deion Branch and Wes Welker’s record of 11. He didn’t let his fan club down in Tallahassee.

How will you play the hand you are dealt?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com

Remember to order Jim’s new book “101 Best of Tunney Side of Sports” on line at www.tunneysideofsports.com  or via email.

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