People hate Cam Newton. I'll be damned if I really understand why, but they do.
Not in a bullying way like some people hate red-haired QBs, but in a more fundamental way. A Google search for "I hate Cam Newton" returns 5,200,000 results. "I hate Tom Brady" returns a mere 3,970,000; "I hate Bill Bellichick" returned only 838,000. For reference, Tom Brady is one of the best QBs in history. Bill Bellichick is his coach, and one of the winningest coaches in history. Both have been caught up in questionable cheating scandals. There are ample reasons to hate either one.
Yet Cam Newton has somewhere between 1.3 and 6.2 more "hate" than the two of them. Combined the two of them can't touch Newton. As I'm writing this a guy on the radio called in and said "I hate Cam Newton."
Because he dances too much; apparently. And he smiles a lot. Check out that screen cap above. Cam's teeth are in 10 of the 12. I searched for Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick. Combined I found TWO pictures with teeth out of the first 24. Two.
I'm sure that toothy grin irritates some people. Why? Again, damned if I know. I blame society a little. I think the taboo against selfishness makes some people afraid to seek out what would make them happy. I also wonder if people don't avoid being happy because once you are happy, you open yourself up to other people commenting about the types of things that make you happy. If you are miserable no one is going to make a comment about how such and such satisfies you. And the media. Happy people can come across as idiots, especially in the media. But sometimes, you just have to let the happy out.
Because there are much worse things you can grow up to be besides happy.
Now, I'm not here as a Panthers fan. I'm an Eagles fan and the Panthers beat them this year. And yes, Newton's celebration - of every. single. first. down.- can be tiresome. Check him out celebrating a first down against my Eagles. But is he really the first player to celebrate first downs? Plenty of WRs do and have. Terrell Owens comes to mind. Jordan Mathews of the Eagles does this weird celebration when he makes a first down that as far as I can tell is him lighting and throwing a fire cracker.
Sure, Newton is cocky. LeBron James (1.69M results) is cocky as well. Maybe that isn't the best example. But show me an NFL player who isn't. Heck, show me a pro athlete who isn't. Some are more humble than others, but they are all cocky. They have to be.
People appear to hate Newton because he is ... confident... happy... having fun. We lose track of the fact that NFL players are essentially entertainers. Its like hating a comedian or actor for appearing to have fun at the job. They can be taking their job deadly serious and still smile while doing it. Maybe you don't want your president laughing or smiling all the time. But your QB?
And we shouldn't lose sight of this: Cam Newton is making millions of dollars playing a game.
A serious game involving big-time money and moderately high stakes, but a game nonetheless. Someone needs to ask why he wouldn't be happy. Why aren't more players like Cam? He is getting rich playing a game. That is about as good as it gets, life wise.
And on a personal note, its just a good marketing move for Newton. Newton's skill pretty much ensures that he would receive attention. But he garners way more publicity because of that smile and his all-to-frequent celebrations of first downs. But you know what, every first down probably adds $5,000 to his next contract. If every deadline you met required you to overcome a committee of people whose paycheck depended on stopping you, and every time you succeeded it fluffed your paycheck by $5,000, you might celebrate as well.
In a league nicknamed the No Fun League for banning complex, pre-planned TD celebrations, one where Andy Reid (543k results) is criticized for not being personable enough, and where Bill Bellichick is said to be too brusque, why aren't we celebrating Cam Newton? We hear talk all the time about "overpaid" sports stars who don't appreciate that they make millions of dollars playing a game when lots of people struggle to get by in suck jobs they hate. Here we have someone who is clearly enjoying his success and appreciating his time and we... hate him too.
What does this have to do with parenting? Well, I want my kids to grow up to be just like Cam Newton. No, they don't have to play football, and no, they don't have to be the best at what they do. But I want them to enjoy it. You only get one trip on the merry-go-round, as they say; you might as well enjoy it. You have to let the happy out.
When it comes down to it, every job is important, from NFL QB to every dentist to every trash man and janitor. If the NFL went away tomorrow, it would suck, but my Eagles haven't played in weeks and I've survived; if I forget to put my trash out for a single week I regret it all week as it piles up in ever growing mounds. I dread the day my 70-something dentist calls it quits and I have to go about finding a new one.
No one - not a single one of us - gets out of life alive. Every single action you take is one closer to death. And that isn't meant as a downer. Just a fact. But take that fact and you realize that every single action - every single one - is a dramatic battle between your swelling happiness and a miserable step closer to death. That doesn't mean you have to make every step properly, but you ought to recognize the importance of each step.
Every day above ground is a good one, and if you have your health, its all that much better.
And you might as well let the happy out.
*Check out Gretchen Rubin's website for the Happiness Project. Its something I've mentioned before and think is a really good idea.