Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Story and Spirituality: Viewer's Guide to "You Don't Know Bo"

ESPN may have named their "30 for 30" about Vincent "Bo" Jackson: "You Don't Know Bo." But, if you follow this blog you do. Why? because I have now written about the two-sport athlete four times.

ESPN's website says, "Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, Bo will forever be known as a cultural icon and one of the most famous athletes of all time. This film will examine the truths and tall tales that surround Jackson, and how his seemingly impossible feats captured our collective imagination for an all-too-brief moment in time."
He does much more than amaze non-sports fans and /or stand before us as a physical specimen. Yes, he captures hearts and imaginations, but Jackson reminds me of why we need stories—good ones. We need stories because they ground our spirituality. As one of my students wrote:
  • Story enforces spirituality
  • There's an element of faith in both stories and spirituality
  • Bo Jackson is an example of someone who proves that the impossible is possible
Indeed he does. And his story is not only non-fiction, it's much more.

I've decided to create a viewer's guide to the program, one which I use in class. In our recent faculty newsletter, I was reminded this is an important tool for every educator by our academic dean as she shared with us a resource from Education Update. 

“To make the shift from vegging out to tuning in for learning, students must develop the skills to critically view videos, listen to them with purpose, and have meaningful academic conversations about their content.” Do this by choosing videos with strong quality and relevance, teaching students to listen with purpose, and creating opportunities for meaningful discourse about the video.” ~Sarah McKibben
With that here is a thematic guide that intentionally links questions and images to help you, your students or family understand some deeper truths and life lessons that Jackson's athleticism, talents, and story offer us. The first two questions are just for fun. Enjoy!  

Forced Choice: Fiction or Non-Fiction
Why I Don't Read Fiction...Bo Jackon

If you could go back in time to witness two teammates play together, who would it be and why?

"He made great athletes look good" —Howie Long
My answer: Two running backs: Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen (even though he went to USC)

How does Bo Jackson reflect the wonder of God’s creation?  What TALENTS do you find particularly interesting, awesome or inspiring?
Jackson missed training camp, preseason games and at least the first four of the regular NFL season. Makes you wonder what his stats would have been like had he played on the gridiron only....
Bo Jackson was in the American spotlight at an interesting time.  Comment on the era in which he was a pro athlete.
Under the promotion of athletes like Michael Jordan & Bo Jackson Nike surpassed Reebok as the most popular
athletic shoe company in the world! Nike used sketches of Jackson to influence their cross training shoes!
Many athletes face adversity in their personal and professional lives. What are the challenges that Bo Jackson encounters? How do they shape him? 
Jackson easily could have avoided this (football) career-ending injury had he stepped out of bounds but he said: "That's not the nature of the beast." He popped his hip back into its socket and is the first pro athlete to have played with an artificial hip. But my favorite part of the story is that he immediately looked to his wife in the stands to let her know he was ok. He wasn't.
“When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”  —Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire How does Jackson feel God’s pleasure?

“To win is to honor Him.”—Eric Liddell 
Who does Jackson honor? How?  Comment.
Jackson promised his mother than if he successfully rehabbed, he would hit the first home run for her. 
Beyond inspiration, what does Bo Jackson offer us? What do we learn from his story?

A brilliant pun if I do say so myself...my student said that Bo Jackson retired only to become "Bow" Jackson.
Jackson has said that he would like for his tombstone to read: "Here lies a ball player. One that gave as much as he received." What do you want yours to say? 

Another ballplayer, Tiggs.

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