Rocky Bleier and One Damn Good Attitude

It seems like my dad’s been giving me news and opinion articles to read since I actually learned how to read. When I was younger, I used to roll my eyes, skim the article, and say, “thanks, Dad,” to feign interest (hey, the Wall Street Journal wasn’t exactly my cup of tea in middle school!). As I got older, however, I began to take these pieces more and more seriously, seeing the value that they provided.

This week, Dad snail-mailed me an issue of Investor’s Business Daily. There was no note, just a few articles checked off for me to read (he’s been e-mailing me articles now a days). Since I had had the last 13 days off from school, I was pretty hungry for something to do, so I sat down and started reading the first article, “Rocky Bleier, A Super Boulder”. Now, at this point, I’m thinking, “who the heck is this Rocky Bleierboa character, and why does he matter to me?”

Well, it turns out that Rocky Bleier is one pretty bad dude (bad in a good way). He was “too small” for college football, but became captain of the football team at Notre Dame. One of the last NFL draftees of 1968, he was a long shot to make a Pittsburgh Steelers team, but made it as a special teams player. Later in 1968, he was drafted to go to Vietnam. After sustaining a wound to the left thigh and severely damaging his right foot in an explosion, doctors told him he would never play football again and that he could kiss his career goodbye.

But the doctors forgot two things: Rocky Bleier is a bad dude (again, bad in a good way) and Rocky Bleier is a damn positive guy, too.

The article reads, “His sunny personality was forged in childhood when he woke up one day and realized it was his choice to be happy, and being optimistic made everything better.” Read that again…

Done? … Okay, now read on.

Instead of becoming a lawyer or an NFL scout, he learned to run on the side of his injured foot, returned to football in 1971, gained the starting fullback job in 1974, blocked for NFL great Franco Harris (a thankless job in many cases), won four Super Bowls (that’s even a lot for this Patriots fan), and continued to be bad (in a good way, of course). The man worked hard, shed doubters and naysayers left and right, and took life head on with the best of attitudes.

Of his mostly blocking, supplementary role on the team, he said, “I wasn’t pouting because I wasn’t getting enough playing time or carrying the ball. I was happy to be there and to be able to contribute.”

Rocky chose his attitude, knew what his goals were, and worked hard to reach them.

(You can (must) read the rest of the article by Michael Mink here: “Rocky Bleier, A Super Boulder”)

The lesson I take from this: keep a positive attitude and be optimistic. Rocky’s right, it is a choice. Be happy with what you have and work hard to attain your goals. We’ve all been there when life is exceedingly difficult (read: it sucks), and we’ve all been there when everything seems to be stacked against you. But who says you can’t grab some optimism, rally, pick yourself up, and, as my dad says, “press on, baby!”

So, today, tomorrow, and every day from here on out, we need to be more positive and keep a better attitude. That and we need to be bad (in a good way) like Mr. Rocky Bleier.

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8 Responses to Rocky Bleier and One Damn Good Attitude

  1. Sheema says:

    I love inspirational stories like these! I think it’s easy to get bogged down in every day life and let the little things upset us and make us unhappy. Reading stories like Rocky’s reminds us of the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff. I’ve bookmarked the article to read for later!

    • Tom O'Keefe says:

      Right. Great points, Sheema!

      A wise man (my housemate’s boss) once said, “don’t sweat the petty things… and don’t pet the sweaty things.” Humor aside, it’s really important to remember that the little things do add up, but they’re not always negative and if we spend too much time feeling sorry about ourselves with the negative, we’ll miss many of the positive things in our lives.

      Glad you liked this and thanks for coming by!

  2. Chris O says:

    One of your best posts yet T.O.

  3. I’ve been to your site a few times and I can’t help but notice how helpful it is. I’ve been searching Google for tips and how-to articles. Yours is one of the best that I’ve found and I will definitely be coming back.

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