Can Big Ben turn "Humiliation" into "Humility"?


Hello Steel Curtain! I am John and a visitor from Pats Pulpit. While I am a native New Englander and die hard Boston sports fan, I'm proud to say I love the "spirit of football" more than any one particular team so I'm here to say HI and throw in my two cents on issues facing your franchise! For those who don't understand the meaning of my screen name, I'm a recovering alcoholic and thankful to be sober today (as well as a number of "24 hour periods" leading up to today). I say that because I want to apply just a little of what I've learned to Big Ben and his current situation. I like the guy and want to see him be successful on and off the field in his future endeavors. Here are my thoughts:

All football fans are given the automatic license to judge on-field skills, decisions and behaviors by the very spirit of the game. We can boooo as well as pi$$ and moan about decisions relating to our teams all day long. That's basically what we do on this forum day in.... day out! However, we don't have the same privilege to judge the very core of an individual's "inner person". In spite of that, all humans automatically draw conclusions whether we admit it or not. So, as each of you draw yours, ponder these thoughts.....


Now, I'm not trying to insinuate your big guy is "insane" or an "alcoholic" or any other terrible tag we humans tend to put on each other. What I will say is that he's faced with some serious challenges he must overcome, lest the "challenges" in time, overcome HIM!  The way I see it, the 12 steps of recovery can be applied to just about any of life's behavioral challenges and I'll lay out a few generic versions of how Steeler fans can draw their conclusions and deciepher whether or not this behavioral cancer will spread, or go into remission. The FIRST conclusion Big Ben must come to is a similar version of the following.....

"My way isn’t working… things are a mess... and life has become unmanagable (to some degree)". If Ben chooses to recognize that, I hope it's quickly followed by understanding there's lots of help available providing he's willing to make certain sacrafices. In time, there will be lots of healing and forgiveness for those who are close, and for those who view from afar (even many who are skeptical).

After those hurdles (which I believe he's currently "voicing"), the next step is to replace the humiliation with humility. This is difficult for any human let alone a young, huge sports star who is both adored and hated by millions just because of what he does on the field. Speaking from personal experience, it also severely complicates matters when the person vehemently disagrees with the "stated version of events" which created the "humiliation" to begin with. THAT SUCKS!!!! It's real hard to avoid blaming the idiot you feel "lied about you"!!!! It's a big hurdle and one that took me YEARS...... Anyway, the reason humility is so important isn't because it's important to convince the public you have it as much as the need to accept the wisdom of others as well as a new spiritual direction. NOW.... don't get freaky on me folks. I say "spiritual" simply because it takes faith to try a brand new direction as well as consider the wisdom of others who are there to help. While we won't be exposed to Bens daily choices, the residual effect of these changes will be seen accross the board. If Ben's plan to change is to "find different nightclubs", "get a different condo", "get a new bodygurd", OR "hang out with certain guys much less than he used to"....While some of these may be temporary fixes, they don't change a thing in the long term and I fear the worse!

On the other hand, if he aims to seek the guidance, take inventory and focus on changing certain defects in his character, clean up his past foolishness, focus on doing "the next right thing"...... and ultimately extend his hand to help other struggling atheletes, I believe the franchise, his friends, and the general public will see these changes in ways he never thought possible.

A June 3rd Article written by MJD of the "SHUTDOWN CORNER" quoted Ben's recent comments and offered the following thoughts:

"I've put a lot of thought into my life, decisions that I've made in the past that I've been sitting at home thinking about things. I've been working closely with the commissioner on ways to make changes, corrections."

And in response to a question about the changes he's making:

"A lot of them are personal things, you know, which is just something that I need to do. But it's been neat being able to really re-evaluate my life and spend time with my family and kind of re-evaluate and re-figure what's important in my life. That's me ... evaluating what I need to do and be smarter when it comes to certain things."

That's exactly what you'd want to hear from a guy accused of making the kind of mistakes he's accused of making. It's impossible to judge an athlete's sincerity when standing in front of the media, but one certainly hopes that Roethlisberger truly is putting some thought into how he lives his life, how he treats women, and how to be a better guy moving forward.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? Living and learning? Making the inevitable mistakes that everyone makes, and then bouncing back to become a better person because you learned something?

It seems as though Big Ben has a great start on a number of these things already. But, he's now at some very crucial points if it's his intention to be an "overcomer". As I draw my own conclusion (which admittedly is a terrible vantage point from here in New England) it seems Ben needs to focus on the daily task of turning the "humiliation" of the circumstances, into the "humility" necessary to recover. In short, that amounts to 

  1. Recognizing the need for help
  2. Asking for help
  3. Following suggestions of those who have "been there, done that".
  4. Determining what the "right thing" is for each and every situation
  5. Following through with those "right things".

Folks, this is not only similar to what one goes through in a 12 step program, but a glorified version of what a behavioral therapist will say in treatment. It's not rocket science but it is very difficult to pull off, particularly when it goes completely against one's current ego and embedded behavioral choices.

I welcome your comments and thoughts about the challenges facing Ben as well as how his challenges impact the team. I often add some sort of a "poll" to my posts to solicit opinions, but I could not think to write one in such a way that fulfills my goal of avoiding personal judgment of this young man as a human being. Therefore I didn't. I am convinced Ben has a lot of great qualities and I belive he has it in him to turn this around! Good luck Ben.


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