Something incredible happened in sports this past weekend, but you may have missed it.
Tiger Woods won the Masters. Yes, but that’s not what I’m referring to.
Sure, Woods’ victory was a monumental moment for golf, yet there was another, bigger and better story that was overshadowed by Tiger’s tale.
I know what you are thinking. What are you talking about, Steve? What could possibly be bigger than Woods comeback from personal problems and back surgery to win the coveted green jacket?
The L.A. Lakers parting ways with Luke Walton? No.
The Pittsburgh Penguins being pushed to the brink of elimination in round 1 of the NFL playoffs? Nope.
Antonio Brown being Antonio Brown? Of course not.
The biggest story of the weekend happened in Richmond, Virgina, of all places.
Martin Truex Jr. won the NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
“What was so significant about that?” you ask.
At least, I think that’s what some of you are asking that right now. And, you’re probably also thinking, “It’s just a bunch of guys making left turns and going in circles for hours.”
Well, you’re right about that last part. But the answer to the first question is this: It was another win for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Now, why is that significant? Well, the NASCAR Cup Series season is now 9 races old, and Joe Gibbs Racing has won six of them, including the last three in a row. Talk about dominance.
It is the kind of excellence that Joe Gibbs had produced in every endeavor. For him, the Midas touch has nothing to do with mufflers.
After winning 3 Super Bowls with 3 different quarterbacks – something never done before or since – Gibbs turned his attention to racing and his team has continued to reach the highest levels of excellence. This is Gibbs’ legacy. He has produced excellence in every enterprise, while never sacrificing people. In fact, people are of the utmost importance to Gibbs; far more important than winning.
In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing people in sports and entertainment. Joe Gibbs is one of the rarest of all – a man of integrity, character and faith, who genuinely knows and cares that he was put on this planet to make a difference, and a winner. He is a man of compassion so intense that it may just overshadow his competitiveness, but not quite reach his devotion to God. I have felt honored by every opportunity I’ve had to work with Joe over the years, and to hear the stories of players, team members and staff who have been profoundly impacted by his life.
In this season, of all seasons, for Joe and his team to realize such amazing success is poetic. Just 3 months ago, his son J.D., who I also had the privilege of working with, died at the age of 49 after a battle with a neurological disease.
After his team won the Daytona 500 in February, Joe talked about the significance of that moment:
“This is the most emotional and the biggest win I’ve ever had in my life in anything...I think the Lord looked down on us, and everybody in my family was emotional…It was just an unbelievable night…The whole thing was just a special memory for me, and it’s one I’ll never forget, and it was the most important night of my occupational life.”
It’s as if the adrenaline has surged through every member of the JGR team. All three of the team’s drivers have taken the checkered flag this season among the 6 victories. And, it doesn’t appear their success will be tempered anytime soon.
It is the kind of story movies are made of, and one very few have noticed in the shadow of Tiger. But Gibbs has many experiences of overcoming Lions and Bears, oh my.
Congrats, Joe. Our hearts are with you.
Good for Tiger. In terms of his career, way to persevere and to never give up. But, this story about Mr. Gibbs? Wow, I hadn’t heard. Incredible story about an incredible MAN. In the meantime, 99% of the sports world was focused on Mr. Woods. To me, this is just another sad commentary on society. The man who deserved the attention, praise and adulation from his fellow man wasn’t the one who got it. And, ironically, he wasn’t even the one who wanted it.