Poised for Greatness: Inspiration and Opportunity in Superbowl XLIV

by Stephen Walker, Ph.D., CC-AASP

Inspirational Stories – See What the Saint’s Use to Pump Themselves Up – Check out the Video “Finish Strong”

Saint’s Defensive Lineman Anthony Hargrove sets the standard for inspiration in this years Super Bowl.  As if the match-up between Drew Brees and Peyton Manning isn’t compelling enough, Hargrove gives us an underdog to root for (who’s Rags-Riches-Rags story is a saga in itself.)  A year ago Hargrove was out of professional football for violating the league’s substance abuse policy – for the third time! He was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell for an entire year.  It turned out to be a very long year for the big man in The Saint’s Defensive line.

Hargrove left Georgia Tech University early to enter the NFL Draft.  Like many others before him he dreamed of a good life, money running like water, and an end to the troubles of his youth – characterized by tragedy, poverty, and misfortune.  With a father who was MIA and a mother who died when he was 9 years old from HIV-AIDS – and a period of homelessness when his Brooklyn apartment burned to the ground.  Hargrove is no stranger to hard times.

So when his life turned around through the game of football and he was selected in the 2004 draft by the St. Louis Ram’s “Greatest Show on Turf” – Hargrove was looking at life through rose colored glasses.  That is….until he wasn’t anymore.

Hargrove didn’t know how to use the money, fame and recognition that he was achieving – and – as he said – he began making really bad decisions.  Smoking weed and using cocaine and other drugs, Hargrove began to lose perspective on life and purpose and the good fortune he had.  He studied urinanalysis rather than his game plans, and, although he contributed on the field – he wasn’t the player he could have been.  Getting busted once, then twice, then three times put him on the sidelines – possibly for good.

Hargrove will play the Super Bowl tomorrow night on a field not far from the drug rehabilitation center in North Miami Beach where he spent three months of mandatory treatment – and another 7 months on his own – “to really take in” – the message of recovery.  It was there he vowed to “finish strong” in his life.  Not only are the Saints reviewing tape of the Colts, they’ve produced “greatest hits” video of each and every starting player – illustrating perfect execution and great plays – but Hargrove and the rest of his teammates have watched this video produced by Simple Truths.com several times.  Check it out…the message is clear.


The Saints are focused on “Finishing Strong” – one could even say it is part of their mantra.  Like Hargrove, the rest of his teammates are focused on the process goals they will need to beat the powerhouse Indianapolis Colts.  They’re not chanting “Win” – they’re focused on “Finishing Strong.”  This is what they CAN control.  This is what they MUST DO TO PERFORM well enough to capture the world championship in professional football.  We will see how Hargrove and the Saints do.  I for one am hoping they do just that.  FINISH STRONG GUYS!

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