dear big ben,

i have wanted to talk with you or write to you for quite a while now, but seeing as you're probably just as likely to read this as you are a handwritten letter sent to heinz field, i opted for this. [you know, to save stamps.]

there are many people out there who have many different opinions of you - and i'm no exception to that. however, i think most people forget that everyone is a person. whether they're known by 1 person or billions, every one is still that, a person.

as a species we tend to judge quickly and easily, deservedly or undeservedly.

i've heard many different thoughts from many different people about you because i still wear your jersey on most sundays. [sometimes i opt for troy's.] i won't tell you what some people have said because i'm sure you've already heard it.

i know that a reputation is much easier lost than built.

whenever i inform people that you attend the same church as my dad most people scoff and say it's just a PR thing. my response is usually this: even if it is, it's better for him to be there than not to be there.

yes, people make mistakes, and have to suffer the consequences of those mistakes, but we as a culture don't let people change. in fact there is an underlying belief in our culture that people don't change, that they can't change.

i push back on that. not only do i both change my mind, and try to see things from others' perspectives on a regular basis, i happen to believe that we can be transformed. "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." [romans 12:2 ESV]

i don't know where your heart is exactly, God's the only one who really does. i know that you've been through a lot this year, and as far as i can tell you're getting back to where you want to be. that, i applaud. 

the truth is, anyone who has lived through high school has probably made some stupid decisions and has some regrets. just because some are better kept secrets than others doesn't make them any less real. you, as i'm sure you've figured out, are held to a higher standard. and seeing as you're a role model whether you want to be or not, i'm okay with that [easy for me to say, right?]. 

i know that right now you're still in the process of rebuilding, and i hope that this year has taught you more than you've ever learned before. i hope that you've recognized the privilege it is to be in the position you are. 

as a die-hard steelers fan and a pittsburgh native i would absolutely relish another super bowl win. number 7 winning the 7th trophy in his 7th year and the 77th year of the pittsburgh steelers would be nothing short of amazing. 

that said, i think you and i both know that there is more to life. from my perspective as a fan, i am more thankful to see the changes in you, than i am that i cheer for the greatest football team and football organization. 

i am thankful that you are not wallowing in what happened, or giving in to what other people have said you've become, but seeing it as a near-death type of experience and looking at the world through a new set of glasses.

this is one fan who is praying for you, who echoes your post-game sentiment that "God is good", and who has your 6'5 back.

{via and matt slocum, AP}

there but for the grace of God, go i.


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