Curry believes in ‘greatness of spirit’

By Laura Snyder

All of us can benefit from kindness, so logically we should extend that kindness to others.

That was the message delivered last weekend at Juniata College by former college football coach Bill Curry, who gave a lecture on the subject of kindness — something he called “magnanimitas,” or “greatness of spirit.”

The coach at the University of Alabama, University of Kentucky and Georgia State University shared how his experience playing for the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts allowed him to show kindness to others and in the process to himself.

Curry’s football career started when he was 12, and his father made him play for his junior high school team.

His father instilled in him the virtues of discipline and teamwork, and by his refusal to give up, Curry worked his way all the way to a college scholarship at Georgia Tech and then to the NFL.

That experience introduced him to people of different races, ethnicities and religions and taught him that being part of a team forces you to transcend those skin-deep differences in order to help each other live up to their best potential.

“Everybody has something beautiful and wonderful inside,” Curry said. “If we allow our prejudices to hide the beauty in others, we also lose the ability to see what is special and precious in ourselves.”

This is the “greatness of spirit” that Curry described, and if we allow ourselves to be distracted by differences then we lose that spirit.

Through all of his life experiences, Curry has collected advice to help people be their best.

Something we can all do, according to Curry, is to “learn to listen. Learn to be in the present. Learn to evaluate honestly who you are.”

He urged those in attendance to focus on their life in the present moment and you will find that it is difficult to focus on what makes you different from others.

You will find that you share the same “magnanimitas” as everybody else, he said.

Another lesson Curry learned from football is that every painful experience is an opportunity for growth.

“If you’re stuck in a spot that you think is unfair, then do it so well that nobody can beat you,” he said. “If you give up because the present seems unbearable, then you miss out on an opportunity to succeed.”

Curry never wanted to play football as a 12-year-old, but he had a legendary career because he pushed himself to do what he never thought he could.

Curry’s advice goes beyond football and applies to people from all walks of life.

When you uncover your greatness of spirit and share it with others, you help them uncover themselves. By showing kindness to others, you reflect the kindness within yourself.

He reminded the audience that “there has never been a human being like you, and there will never be another human being like you.”

Laura Snyder of Chalfont, Pa. is a junior at Juniata College and a member of its campus news team.