Friday, January 9, 2015
ROB KONRAD AND THE WILL TO LIVE
In this critic-filled, never got-in-the-ring to compete world we live in, it's easy to be skeptical
of Rob Konrad's story that he swam nine miles in cold, choppy, and perhaps, shark-infested
waters to reach safety.
We ask how a former NFL player with no competitive swimming background can fight
through exhaustion, hypothermia, not to mention the lack of food and water to make it
to shore at 4 a.m.
I guess after we got all got fooled by the likes of Lance Armstrong, Manti' Te'o, and
the Summer of 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit missiles into orbit at a
record rate, calling B.S. on Konrad's story is a natural reaction.
As of Friday night, Konrad, who starred at Syracuse as a bruising fullback before playing
in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, was in a West Palm Beach hospital being treated
for hypothermia. Much of the rest of the country was trying to figure out if what he did
was superhuman or just a super made up story.
I believe him.
I believe in the human will and the battle to survive. I believe in the power of the mind
and the determination to live. I read the book, "Unbroken" and saw the movie. A former
Olympic runner goes into the service and not only survives a plane crash, but spends 47
days at sea and withstands two years of physical and mental torture in a Japanese prison
Louis Zamperini proved that if "you can take it, you can make it."
What is so different in Konrad's story? Why don't people think he had could have an
incredible will to live just like Zamperini? Maybe Konrad read 'Unbroken' and saw the
movie and was inspired to stay alive and believed that he could. Maybe he believed in
Like Zamperini, Konrad was an elite athlete nearly his entire life. He was a beast who
excelled at Syracuse and was good enough to be a second-round draft choice of the Dolphins.
Konrad survived in the NFL for six years, nearly twice the average span of a player in
He had to be mentally tough to make it to the NFL. He had to play through pain and do
what he had to do to make it for that long in the dog-eat-dog world of the NFL. Konrad
was exceptional at what he did. He was far from average when it came to talent, toughness,
and iron will.
With that said, shouldn't we give him the benefit of the doubt? If you've seen the courage
and will of a double-amputee complete an Ironman, then you know the impossible is
Zamperini used the power of his mind and believed that he could survive more than
a month at sea without much food and water. He had faith that God would help him
get through being beaten and humiliated in a POW camp. He refused to give in and
Apparently, Konrad did too. He wasn't ready to die. He didn't want his family and loved
ones to experience the gut-wrenching pain associated with death and a loss.
His story may sound too ground to be true, but I choose to believe him. I believe there
are people like Zamperini who are resilient, courageous, and indefatigable.
I believe in Rob Konrad.