When I heard Vince Young was going to be the starting Quarterback on Sunday for the Eagles, since Michael Vick was out with injured ribs, I had a feeling and a hope that Young might have progressed since I wrote about him in my book, Necessary Roughness: New Rules for the Contact Sport of Life. It was in the chapter titled, “Have a Thick Skin: Shut Up and Get Over It.” Young had been booed by the fans in the stands when he quarterbacked the Titans 2008 opening game. He had thin skin and was not great at “shaking it off.”
Now he is with the Eagles. It’s a new season, new team and Sunday, the season was on the line – given the team record of 3-6. If they didn’t win this game, they wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance to make the playoffs. Young showed some rust, throwing 3 interceptions. But they won! The score was 17-10 at the home field of the New York Giants. I waited with bated breath for the after-game interview. Sure enough, Vince Young looked and sounded mature. He said, “I told the offense to stay focused and take it one play at a time. Riley Cooper was upset about his interception. I told him, ‘Don’t get down on yourself. Get ready for the next series and I’m gonna find you.’” Then Michele Tafoya, the interviewer said, “You told us before the game that you wanted people to see tonight how hard you’ve worked and how much you learned. What do you think you’ve demonstrated here?” Young said, “Just don’t ever give up on me. I’m a team guy. I love my teammates – they did a great job today, and I just want to say I will never stop. Even when you say something bad about me, I will always keep working and never give up. I want to dedicate that to my mom and everybody back home.”
What a story of redemption for Vince Young! His mom was the one who alerted the coach about his profound depression a couple of years ago, so it’s fitting he addressed her. Vince Young developed a thick skin. Having a thick skin and not complaining is vital for his success. It’s also vital for our success in the business world and in our relationships. Life, like football, is a contact sport. Emotionally speaking, life can rough you up. That’s why it’s good to have an extra layer of emotional protection around your body and your psyche.