Monday, December 10, 2012

I Wanna Live Like Arian Foster Runs

I want to live like Arian Foster runs: smooth, unhurried, powerful, effective. Foster came to the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2009, was  released(!), then reclaimed, eventually got in a game, distinguished himself and has not looked back. He led the league in rushing in 2010 and has been one of the league’s top running backs since.

Foster marches to the beat of his own drummer; he’s cerebral, poetic, suave. He’s the un-jock. He majored in philosophy in college and became a vegan in 2012. A vegan in the NFL!

He is of African-American and Mexican-American heritage whose first name is an abbreviated form of Aquarian, which means “water bearer” or “holder of knowledge.” His teammates like and respect him, and they love how he has helped the team rise to the top echelon of the NFL.

But let’s talk about his running. Foster runs like poured syrup. What strikes you is how smooth he is. Nothing appears urgent except his instinct for the opening. Commentators marvel at his patience. He’ll take the handoff, sort of glide a few steps while waiting for the blockers to create a hole, then pour through it like water over a rock. He doesn’t burst through the hole as some backs do so effectively, all pent-up power; he glides through it. He never looks like he is trying hard but there’s a quiet urgency and focus to him. Why waste energy with a lot of froth and fury? Just get the most yards possible.

One time he went around the left side on a sweep near the goal line and at the two-yard line just stopped and walked in! A Texan was blocking a receiver in front of him and Foster knew if he kept running he would crash into them, so he just stopped and took two steps into the end zone while the Texan continued to push on his opponent. When Foster scores he simply hands the ball to the referee, bows quietly to the fans in the end zone (“to show respect”) and heads toward the sideline. As legendary Coach Bear Bryant used to say, “Son, when you make it to the end zone act like you’re been there before.” Foster has been there many times by now; no need to do an izzy squizzy prancy dance.

Smooth, unhurried, powerful, effective. I wanna live like Arian Foster runs.



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