Russell Wilson’s Kindness Leaves A Mark

http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/10375235/espnw-touch-kindness-seattle-seahawks-quarterback-russell-wilson?ex_cid=2014_bnnr_ESPNWTDFY14_OutbrainD_aqsn

The title of the article …. Russell Wilson’s Kindness Leaves A Mark…. we should all ask~ what mark will we leave.  It’s easy to get consumed in our daily lives but I hope we all take time out to better the lives of others- on a super bowl level!

NEW YORK — One day in 2009, Russell Wilson found himself addressing hundreds of students at St. Timothy’s School in Raleigh, N.C.

We Can ALL do great things!

We Can ALL do great things!

The topic was bullying.

At the time, Wilson was the starting quarterback for NC State and a first-team All-ACC selection. Maura Horton, the wife of Wolfpack offensive line coach Don Horton, had invited Wilson to speak at St. Timothy’s because the couple’s daughter attended the school and a friend of the family who worked there wanted to be proactive in starting a dialogue about the harmful effects of bullying.

Courtesy of Maura Horton

Russell Wilson, with the Hortons’ daughters, was invited by Maura Horton to speak to schoolchildren about bullying, which he admitted he had been guilty of.

They all figured the amiable Wilson was the perfect guy to stand up and talk about doing the right thing. What they didn’t know was that he also had a confession to make.

Turns out, Wilson had been a bit of a bully himself.

It sounds hard to believe for anyone who has followed Wilson’s ascension to football’s biggest stage. On Sunday, the 5-foot-11, second-year pro will lead the Seattle Seahawks against future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But Maura Horton remembers watching all the kids that day at St. Timothy’s as they listened with rapt attention to the young man whose ease and openness allowed him to immediately connect with his audience.

“We were surprised to learn what he said,” Horton told espnW this week. “Russell doesn’t seem like someone who ever could have behaved that way. But because of his honesty, the kids were blown away by him.”

Wilson told the students that when he was younger he would sometimes be mean to his classmates on the playground because he thought that would make the “cool kids” like him more. It took a teacher pulling him aside one day for Wilson to realize there was nothing cool about taunting someone.

“You don’t want to act like that,” the teacher said, reminding Wilson that being good at sports wasn’t a free pass for bad behavior. The message: Sports are fleeting, but words and deeds are permanent.

“Your actions stay with you forever,” Wilson told the students, “so you want to make sure those actions are something you’re proud of in the future.”

The Horton family knows a thing or two about Wilson and meaningful actions. To them, he is a man whose awareness and sensitivity changed their lives.

About a year ago, Maura launched Magna Ready, a business inspired by an interaction between her husband and Wilson after NC State lost a road game during the 2009 season. Don Horton suffers from Parkinson’s disease, although he had not told anyone on the team back then. Because of media obligations, Wilson was one of the last players getting dressed that day, and he noticed that Horton was struggling to button his shirt. The team bus was waiting outside, so the sophomore quarterback stopped what he was doing and, without saying a word, buttoned his coach’s shirt.

When Don arrived home that night, he told his wife what had happened. He confessed his embarrassment and felt distraught that a layer of his independence had been stripped away. But an idea was born: magnetic buttons for dress shirts.

Maura Horton sent Wilson a handwritten thank-you note after hearing about his interaction with her husband. She says she believes Wilson’s awareness in the locker room was heightened by what was happening in his own life as he watched his father’s health decline. Harrison Wilson III died in June 2010 of complications from diabetes. Russell then transferred to Wisconsin after his junior season.

“Most players are focused on themselves after a loss,” Maura Horton said. “It was just a brief moment, but his dad was sick at the time, and I think Russell had a higher sense; he was just one of those guys who got it.”

Last summer, the Hortons and their two daughters visited Wilson at his passing academy in his hometown of Richmond, Va. At one point, the conversation turned to hopes and goals, and Wilson said he wants to win four Super Bowls. Unsure why he picked that number, Maura Horton went home and did a Google search, learning that if Wilson someday wins four titles he will tie Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the quarterbacks with the most Super Bowl rings.

During Wednesday’s media availability in New Jersey, Wilson discussed his pursuit of greatness.

“If someone tells me no, I’m going to try to do the best I can to prove them wrong — more for myself than anyone else,” he said. “I’m a self-motivator. I believe that God has given me a sense of leadership to be able to motivate other people, but also myself. I want to be the best one day, and I’m not going to shy away from that. I’ve got a long ways to go, but I think, to be honest with you, God has put me here for a particular reason.”

The way the Hortons see it, Wilson’s legacy is already set.

Share this story
Advertisements

The Sands of Time

DSC_0703

I love design – reading about it, discussing it endlessly (my apologies to my friend Elizabeth), reviewing and tweaking mine, pinning my wish lists and dreaming of. I am a by nature a set designer. Everything in our home has meaning and some sort of attachment. Three years ago during the holiday season, on a trip to Anthropologie I stumbled upon a sand timer. It made me do a double take. A simple piece of beautiful handblown glass with silver crystal like sand sitting in the base. I had already checked out and then I inquired as to how many more were on hand. I only saw two. After checking the back for stock, they appeared with a total of 5. I declared I’d take all. This would be the gift to our closest friends that holiday season.

This hourglass piece, when I looked at it I didn’t just see something that was structurally beautiful or that just measured time. Some may see it as a conversation piece but I saw it as a meaningful listening tool. I had already visioned where it would live in our home. So as soon as I returned, it was placed in the living room or as my children call it, the meeting room. After school this is where I open mail and they decompress about the day they’ve conquered. Its our regrouping point. All uninterrupted by televisions or phones. We don’t spend much time in this room but it’s our sanctuary. Libby noticed it first and I explained the purpose of it. She flipped it over watching the sand for what seemed like a lengthy amount of time to transfer down through the glass channel into the bulbous end on the other side. She remarked how “cool” it was. I think she could have watched it forever, attempting to count each morsel of sand. I told the girls what my thought was for this new acquisition to our home. If any of us were ever happy, had a question, mad, sad, scared or just needed to be heard, this is the tool they would use to have the floor, uninterrupted. Our own pro-bono , free of fee therapy session. Just turn it over and start talking. You have until the sand reaches the bottom to speak your peace, deliver your news, plead your case or just be silly. With two girls I have always been focused on keeping the lines of communication open in our home. I assured them that if I were using it to speak my mind about something I was upset with them over – that by the time the last sand sliver had touched the bottom glass my anger would be gone and I would let it go. In theory, this sounds good and I attempt to maintain this commitment- but flashing forward to high school years- there may have to be an amendment to these rules! We have had a lot of fun with this. So much fun that Libby actually broke our first one. I think lots of truths have been spoken and more importantly heard. I treasure this small accessory.

The first holiday present I handed out that year was a couple of weeks early. My daughters best friends mother was fighting colon cancer at 39 valiantly. I placed a note in the box – stating what my hope for her family was. That all the hard moments would be gone by the time the sand had shifted sides. Unfortunately, she passed away a few months later. The rest I distributed to my closest girlfriends. Sharing with them a simple quote and a note about how clear I was on the importance of their friendship and how vivid I saw their roles in our life.

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”-Niccolo Machiavelli

Preparing for Dons impending surgery, we have spent a lot more time in the “meeting room” and we are a little less formal about picking the hourglass up and turning it over to speak. That is of course, unless someone is in trouble…. As our truths have been spoken lately, I wish for the same note that I placed in Lisa’s box…. a hope that the sands are shifting.