Alex Smith delivered a Thanksgiving message that all of America needed to hear Thursday night.
Don’t quit. Never give up.
At a time when the entire nation is facing unprecedented adversity -- from a once-in-a-century pandemic to nationwide economic uncertainty and civil unrest -- who better than Smith to show a nationally televised audience how life’s biggest challenges can be overcome.
For the uninitiated, Smith suffered a horrific injury two years ago during a game. An infection developed inside his broken leg that eventually required 17 surgeries to repair. It got so bad that doctors considered amputation.
Nobody thought Smith would ever play football again, but two years later he led the Washington Football Team to a decisive, 41-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, his second straight victory as starting QB. This man is an inspiration to anyone facing an uphill life battle, and there are millions of us who fit that description right now.
To every long-hauler who has been struggling for months as a result of a COVID-19 infection that won’t seem to go away, draw strength from Alex Smith. To every small business person whose life’s work is being destroyed as a result of the virus, look to Alex Smith for motivation. To every unemployed person who is waiting in an hours-long line at a food bank, look to Alex Smith for inspiration.
Things are bleak in America right now, and all indications are the situation is about to get a whole lot worse for the next few months. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are on the way, and by next summer the worst should be behind us, for those who survive that long.
Our national road to recovery will be difficult on several fronts. We are all going to experience various personal and professional challenges. We are going to need role models who exemplify the human spirit and stand as living examples of what we can accomplish when we refuse to quit.
Alex Smith is that guy.
If you’re a long hauler -- and you’re struggling to breathe as you attempt to climb a flight of stairs because the virus has attacked your lungs -- think about the man who is staring down defenses, throwing TD passes and scrambling for first downs two years after he nearly had his leg cut off. Then keep fighting.
If you’re a business owner, and your shop, gym or restaurant can’t survive the economic stress of the pandemic, think about the man who just led his team to victory after he was wheeled into surgery on 17 separate occasions. Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again when the virus passes.
If you feel you are careening toward rock bottom, or if you’re already there, think about the man who recently needed special equipment on his leg to walk but is now being interviewed in front of a national television audience. Then start your own comeback story.
Anyone who has ever suffered a serious injury knows that it takes tremendous hard work, determination and dedication to recover. To come back from what Alex Smith went through, to be leading the Washington Football Team to victories in this nation’s premier sport, is other-worldly.
We all need a hero right now. Maybe you’re not an NFL quarterback. In fact, you’re probably not. You’re probably just an average person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look up to one.
If Alex Smith could overcome what he went through, so can we.