Resilience: The mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral ability to face and cope with adversity, adapt to change, recover, learn and grow from setbacks. (definition per the U.S. Army Ready and Resilient Campaign)
Many of you know I was in the Army and since having left the service in 2011 have continued to work for the Department of Defense.
I deal with the resilient daily. Not resilience itself - my job is not that demanding on the soul. But to work with people who deal with the kinds of tragedy and adversity that they do and do so without completely breaking down never ceases to amaze me.
Resilience, when encountered in the most sincere form, is poignant and humbling. I often fail to understand it. To fathom the strength resilience takes.
So while the war/football analogy remains one I am entirely uncomfortable with, it still serves as a fair segue. Especially now.
Especially now when the Rams are coming off of a bye week nearly a month to the day Sam Bradford's knee ligament separated instantly smearing any hopes of climbing out of mediocrity and reaching the playoffs into a largely hopeless and fast-forwardable paste. Kinda like hummus for the quality football-deprived soul.
But something happened. I don't know if that something was the reaction to Sam Bradford's injury or something that was said in the Rams' locker room or on a plane or in some location where enough of the team was assembled or if the nature of a primetime game against a division rival spurred it on, but the Rams changed. And the Rams, faced with the adversity of losing the starter at the most important position in the sport for the rest of the season, found resiliency.
A Monday night game against a top tier Seattle team which looked, prior to kickoff, like it could be an embarrassing show to the nation of a Rams team undone came down to a three-play stretch within two yards of the end zone to win the game. A week later saw the Rams tied with less than seven minutes to go in the final quarter. Seven days later, the Rams would be the one handing out the embarrassment to the Colts in Indianapolis.
Les Snead wants to call it a "grit" year? Sure. Tomato, tomahto.
That the Rams can even continue to be mentioned in playoff scenarios where mathematical possibility is largely all there is to hang on to is a reflection of that grit, that resilience. Plenty of teams come undone by the madness that unfolds when the losses start piling up (oh hello, Redskins and Bucs). Truth is, we often understand those situations. Hell, before this year's NBA season EVEN STARTED, you had seasoned authors wondering if it was in the best interests of certain teams to begin tanking in game one. That hardship bears acceptance of futility is understandable.
It's resilience that's confusing. The idea that this Rams team who looked so lost at times in the first half of the season would come out these last couple of weeks and show up at all is confusing.
So we can balance the playoffs vs. evaluation for 2014 priorities. I say let's just enjoy what we've got.
Most other teams in our situation would give us much worse. That's worth supporting.