I watched an ESPN documentary from Netflix yesterday. It was an excellent piece and I recommend it strongly. It featured a story about a rare talent. A once in a generation type of talent. A stupendously gifted running back. It was a story of a boy who put up ridiculous numbers in high school. A beast of a boy in a man’s frame, really. He possessed a rare combination of strength, agility and speed. This athlete was nearly impossible the get down, and equally impossible to catch. After being courted by about every division 1 college team, he chose Oklahoma. Of course he was a Heissman favorite when healthy. Sadly he had injury problems. Some additional stats for you, courtesy of the ever reliable Wikipedia (or at least convenient for lazy people such as myself):
Height: 6 ft 2 in
Weight: 220 lb (NFL)
High school stats: Junior: 2,550 yards rushing and 34 TD:s. Senior: 2,955 yards rushing and 36 TD:s
40 dash: 4,4 sec
And no you silly ones, the documentary wasn't about Adrian Peterson! The similarities are striking though, aren't they? AD’s stats by the way:
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Weight: 217 lb (NFL)
High School: Junior: 2,051 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. Senior 2,960 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns.
40 dash: 4,4 sec
It’s a bit eerie. The latter has a 96 million dollar contract and the former is driving trucks (or was driving in the documentary).
But what it is that separate Dupree from Peterson? What is it that separates a NFL superstar from high school/ college super star? Talent? I don’t think so. Not generally, and not in this case. Of course we Vikings fans know about Adrian Peterson’s talent, we’ve seen it realized. And a wonderful realization it has been. We can see his greatness when he plays with our own eyes, but he has the stats to back it up as well. But still, I’d say no. Dupree was insanely physically gifted as well and I couldn’t say after watching the documentary that AD was more gifted than Dupree. On was, and the other is a tremendous athlete.
Of course there were other circumstances. Circumstances that for sure impeded Dupree’s ascent to NFL super stardom. Bad advisors, lacking working ethic (in a strict system, under a strict coach) , weight issues, bad decisions and bad luck. And of course: a blown knee that was supposed to be career ending. To Dupree’s credit I must say that he showed great resiliency and work ethics in his comeback, and he even managed to play a couple of seasons in the NFL. Good for him, but not the greatness (career wise) that was expected of him. He couldn’t realize his potential, his inner greatness. Adrian Peterson on the other hand could.
Why is that? Because the recipe for athletic success isn’t only in the physical ingredients, that is. It’s about how one uses those ingredients. It’s about mental toughness and mental resolve. It’s about having the will to do whatever it takes, to overcome every obstacle. It’s his mental ability that enables Adrian Peterson to be a great, great (yes I bears repeating) football player. And of all his abilities I marvel his iron will the most. That is what separates him from the rest -not just his fast and powerful feet!
But anyway. I was merely about to put up a "check out this documentary" and to include a "very similar to Adrian Peterson, don't you think?", but instead I derailed and ended up with something of a "AD is so unbelievable great, I think I love him"-post instead...