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Beating the Odds

Total Commitment

A chicken raced around the barnyard, spreading new good news. “Hooray!” he said. “We’re going to have bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning!” All the animals except the pig shared in the joy. The chicken approached the pig and asked him why he was so solemn when everyone else was so happy.

“For you,” said the pig, “bacon and eggs are a donation. For me, it’s a full commitment.”

As the AFC and NFC conference title games unfold today, coaches, fans and teammates will be able to separate the pigs from the chickens. Some players will offer total commitment, while others will make a donation now and then.

“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking,” said former college and NFL coach Lou Holtz.

It’s one thing to enter the game with commitment. It’s another thing to hold onto it when you’ve been drilled with an NFL-style hit, say, from Ray Lewis.

It reminds you of what ex-heavyweight champ Mike Tyson said about strategy in the ring. “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

The San Francisco 49ers can take a punch. They are in the NFC game because they stayed committed even after the New Orleans Saints stunned them with a go-ahead touchdown with just 97 seconds left.

They will face the New York Giants, who showed some commitment of their own by going to Green Bay and dominating the NCF’s top seed.

In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will find their resolve tested as well. Whether on the line or in the open field, they will be tested in ways that would make other people walk away.

Whoever survives will get a chance to test their commitment one more time, two weeks from now in the Super Bowl. There they will play for the Lombardi trophy, named after a man who knew a little about commitment.

No matter what your interest or life pursuit, it will turn out better if you are the pig, not the chicken.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor,” said Vince Lombardi, who coached the packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls.

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