I am not sure if any of my readers have heard of the football player Brandon Burlsworth. Without knowing the details of Brandon’s personal life, he might not seem like that big of a deal in the grand NFL scheme of things. Most of my football friends and family, whom I’ve asked, had no clue who this amazing kid was. It sounds a little cliche to say that, now that I am aware of Brandon, my life will never be the same. It has been a couple of weeks since I screened Greater with my 17-year-old daughter Gen, and I can honestly say we reference Brandon or compare our own motivations and actions to bits of the film on an almost daily basis.
Chris Severio got the opportunity to play Brandon in the up and coming film Greater. Chris himself says that actors often wait a long time to play a role as meaty and meaningful as the role of Brandon. Though I plan to talk more one day next week, about the film itself, today I want to touch on the character of Brandon. I’m also going to share some quotes on the character of Brandon, written by Chris Severio, along the way.
From an outsiders perspective, Brandon had a dream football experience, but he had this because he believed he could and then he was willing to work hard for it. I don’t mean to come down hard on this current youth-to-young adult generation but the spirit of hard work and earning your way seems to be lost on the majority of them. As an “old grown up”, (I turned 40 this year) it comes across as geriatric nagging when I talk about it, but most adults seem to get it.
Brandon never let anyone convince him that he couldn’t. This idea is misconstrued a lot of the time, by people using that as a reason to make self-centered or poor choices. I need to point out that isn’t what I mean. I mean simply put, Brandon had a goal and he worked really hard for it, maybe more than hard. Even when the people around him thought it was a lost cause, he still worked for it. From Chris, Brandon was not the most physically gifted athlete. He struggled with being overweight, wasn’t naturally graceful, was a pretty unlikely candidate to be a college football All-American and then drafted into the NFL. He was able to do it all because he refused to listen to those who doubted him or his abilities. He always believed in himself, knew that through hard work and dedication, he could be anything he wanted to be. The only thing standing between you and your dreams is how passionately you’re willing to produce them.
Brandon dedicated his entire life and the things that he did to bigger than himself. As Chris says, It’s no coincidence the film of Brandon’s life is called GREATER. As a Christian, he believed he was called to be a man of integrity and honor off the field as well as on – he dedicated himself, first and foremost, to God. Your faith can strengthen you, and like Brandon you can choose to be a role model on and off the field.
He believed in others and this way of living motivated other people to do great things too. He lived a life of putting others before himself, even when it wasn’t comfortable. As Chris states, Brandon Burlsworth was a giver. He didn’t just play football, or live his life, focused exclusively on his wants. He made others’ needs a top priority – family, teammates, friends and fans. As he dug in deep to reach his potential as an athlete and a man, he encouraged and supported those who were taking that same journey alongside him. Brandon didn’t just make himself better; he made others better, too, because he was intentional about finding ways to help them.
Here’s a clip from the film Greater. The story of Brandon is a moving one. When one looks at the dreams he had, the drive he had to make them real, and the many ways this one person’s life has changed to many others, is almost unfathomable and so unbelieving motivational. At the end of the day it isn’t because he was great in his sport, which he was. It isn’t because he was an unlikely hero, or because he had such a powerful success story. The legacy of Brandon lives on and on because of his character. As an avid reader and writer, I am addicted to highlighting. I love to highlight things written which really stand out and stir me. If films could be highlighted, this entire movie would be orange and neon yellow and brought to you by BIC.
I have a couple of Jerseys to give away, in honor of the film. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on the blog or FB post! Good luck!