The Peyton Manning Effect +Caroline Kepnes’ “Hidden Bodies”

When I look back on my NFL career, I’ll know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. There were other players that were more talented but there was no one who could out-prepare me. And because of that, I have no regrets.

— Peyton Manning

 

Just the other day, a hero left the game he loved. He left with class and dignity, the same way he played football.

I’m sad to see Peyton go from a game I also love. Yes, I know it’s time, but it is still sad. He’s have been a refreshing change to all the yelling and screaming going on (mostly in politics) today. Thank you for being a humble winner, a good sport, a man who celebrates victories while sincerely congratulating your opponents, a man who accepts defeat as gracefully as possible. Thank you for bucking the trend by not being a blowhard and a bully.

As a parent of youngish children, one of who participates heavily in athletics, I hold you up as a role model. My older daughter is not a gifted athlete, but she LOVES her sports. I have watched her work her heart out to get better, watching videos and conditioning, eating better and thinking about her sports (mostly swimming, but also lacrosse) in her spare time.

Peyton is a perfect role model for her. Although he is a natural athlete, he has worked harder than anyone at his craft, using his mind to make his talents stretch further. And he didn’t give up; when the world wrote him off because of his neck surgery, he battled back, unwilling and unready to say good-bye to his game. And, luckily for me and all Broncos fans, he was given that opportunity.

As I watched sports in general devolve into showmanship, Peyton held his cool and went against the grain, displaying sportsmanship instead. He had his (small) moments, but he always seemed willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them.

Last week I teared up over Donald Trump, thinking about how ugly and mean-spirited he is, wondering how this could be the face of America, the voice that presents us to the country (not that I think many of the others are much better). I don’t want that to be our America (and yes, I am a Republican); I don’t want his bombastic self-grandiosity, his style of getting bigger by making everyone else smaller. I don’t like his style of politics, nor do I like the way everyone else seems to devolve to his level (although John Kasich is staying classy, for the most part). I want different, and I saw what I wanted in my president yesterday.

I want a president who acts like Peyton Manning.

Now, I’m not going to run out and vote for Peyton. But I’m talking style. The ability to make yourself better instead of dragging everyone else down in the mud. Working hard to become what you want to be instead of expecting the world to come down to your level. Helping people become better around you instead of pushing them down and then climbing on their backs to get to where you want to go.

So yes, I want my daughters to become more like Peyton Manning. I want our politicians, our presidential hopefuls especially, to act like Peyton. I want our society to become more like Peyton: instead of whining about what we’re not getting, work hard and earn it!

I want my girls and the next generation to realize that being born doesn’t mean you deserve something. That hard work can earn you quite a bit. And that sometimes, even with hard work, you might not get what you want, and it’s okay to be disappointed. But you should still shake your opponent’s hand and congratulate him or her. And then, go back to your playbook, reconfigure, and work harder.

As Americans we are blessed with more than others born in other countries. As a middle class American, I was blessed to be born into a family that could provide for me and my brother, and to make sure we wanted for very little. I’m lucky to be married to a man that works hard with me and we can provide well our family. I know we’re blessed, and I know others are less fortunate, and I try to remember that.

I like to believe that Peyton Manning knows how blessed his has been, and has worked hard to make more of his blessings. Not one to rest on his laurels, but to take his God given talents and make them more. We can all take that lesson: not many are born into a family like the Mannings, but we all are blessed with something. It’s our job to make the most of those talents, to work hard and live with passion and dignity.

Work hard, play hard, do the right thing. This is a great family motto, and one I’m trying to instill in my daughters. Having a man like Peyton Manning in the spotlight makes that job just a little easier.

Thank you, Peyton.

Okay, onto Caroline Kepnes’ Hidden Bodies, a story of a man NOTHING like Peyton Manning, but compelling none-the-less.


“The real horror of my life is not that I’ve killed some terrible people. The real horror is that the people I’ve loved didn’t love me back.”
Joe Goldberg 

 The Premise

When we first reunite with Joe Goldberg (or just meet him, in my case), he’s in love. His new employee in the second hand book shop is perfect for him. Until she robs him blind. In a fit of anger, Joe follows her to California.

Once there, he hates it–at first. But Los Angles grows on him, especially once he gets in with the ‘right’ crowd. After working his way around the young, hip crowd, he falls in love with a rich girl named Love.

And his life suddenly seems perfect. If only Joe could stop killing the people who get in his way!

But the thing about LA? There are a lot of places the bury the dead. Of course, the dead don’t always stay buried . . .

My Thoughts

Wow! That’s my first thought. Wow!

I didn’t read You, Kepnes’s first novel all about sociopath Joe Goldberg, but I definitely will now. I don’t think my reading of Hidden Bodies suffered without reading the first book, but I’m sure it would have enhanced it.

I found Joe Goldberg so incredibly likable that I could almost overlook his flaws. Of course his biggest flaw is that he’s a murderer, but he kills such annoying people that it’s almost (not really) okay. I found myself nervous for him, hopeful that he could move on and stop killing, giddy with his love for Love.

And that’s why this book (and You, as well, from the reviews I’ve read) is so great. That Joe Goldberg, a sociopath serial killer, could be likable–well, it’s almost surreal. I was routing for Joe to get away with the murders, which is weird. But, like I said, pretty much everyone he kills is an asshole.

I give Hidden Bodies five stars. It was one of the books that I hated to put down, and, when I did, I was worried about Joe!! Wonderful, inventive, twisted. Perfect!!!

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