[Note to Eds.: This started out as just a couple of links, but then, as often happens in my geezerhood, I got a little wordy. Sorry if this should have been a fanpost, but I went ahead with the fanshot.]
Even if you're not a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, you have to step back in abject awe at the job Jim Harbaugh has done. With, essentially, the same players that comprised the team last year, he has them off to a 9 and 1 start. While not terribly dynamic, offensively, they are solid in every phase of the game and pretty damn good in several.
I'm sorry that I don't recall the player, but I heard a radio interview with a member of the team this week. He was asked by the interviewer the origin of the Who's-got-it-better-than-us thing that the team had been doing. It was news to me at the time; I just love this story.
The player said that Harbaugh has taken a couple of moments to tell them about his childhood, and his dad, Jack Harbaugh. The family was not wealthy, but they got by. They lived in a modest home, and drove a car that was closer to jalopy than luxury.
Yet, Jack taught his family to appreciate all they had with a little refrain. In the midst of their ordinariness, he'd suddenly proclaim in a boisterous voice, "Who's got it better than us?"
The response was always a melodic "No-o-o-o-body!" They'd be huddled in their living room, watching a modest TV set. "Who's got it better than us?" "No-o-o-o-body!" They'd be rattling along in their family car. "Who's got it better than us?" "No-o-o-o-body!"
Well, Jim Harbaugh has brought this really nice, humble-yet-proud sense of appreciation to his team. When the team won its first game, they voted Harbaugh the game ball. At first, he declined, but the players insisted. Reluctantly, he accepted the ball, held it aloft, and shouted "Who's got it better than us?" Naturally, the team responded "No-o-o-o-body!"
I love this idea. Instead of looking around with envy at those who you think have it better than you, you look inward. Instead of begrudging your lot in life, you embrace it. I don't know how much of a part this attitude adjustment has played in the team's success, but I have to think it's had an impact.
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