Pay Attention to the Olivet Eagles

One of the core teachings of our Living Compass Wellness Initiative is “whatever we pay attention to is what will grow.”  If we focus our attention on what irritates us about a friend or family member, for example, our irritable feelings toward that person will grow.  If, instead, we focus our attention on what is delightful and lovable about that person, then the positive feelings we have about our friend or family member will grow.  This principle also applies to any group we are a part of--a team, our neighborhood, our workplace, or our congregation.  What we “water” in life with our attention, is what will grow. We had a great opportunity to make such a decision regarding what we pay attention to when it came to football this past week.  There has been a great deal of attention already paid to a very negative and troubling situation involving hazing and bullying connected to the Miami Dolphins.  While this story has been getting all sorts of attention, there has been another football story that has received much less publicity, that I would like to call our attention to.

I  invite you to shift your attention away from the Dolphins for the time being and instead focus your attention on the Eagles.  Not the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Olivet Eagles.  What, you've never heard of the Olivet Eagles?  Well, that's about to change.  The Olivet Eagles is a middle school football team from Olivet, Michigan, located thirty miles southwest of Lansing.  This team made the national news this past week for a creative play the team executed for a special student in their school and fellow teammate..

The play was known as the “Keith Special” and it was a play that the kids on the team thought up on their own.  In a game last week, the quarterback of the team, Sheridan Hedrik, could have easily scored on a running play, but instead took a knee on the one yard line as was secretly planned.  During the next play, the ball was handed to Keith Orr, a child with special needs, and then surrounded by his teammates, Keith was escorted into the end zone untouched!

As you can see, as you watch the video of this story (you will find a link to the video below) this play not only had a profound effect on Keith, but on the other players and Keith's parents, too.

Even if you are not a person who pays attention to football of any sort , I invite you to give three minutes of your attention to this video.   In the end, it's not really a video about football, but is a video of how the boys on the Olivet Eagles football team were profoundly changed because of what they chose to pay attention to. This story is a helpful reminder that we are all impacted by what we pay attention to each day and we have the power to decide what will hold our attention at any given moment.

You can find the CBS video of this story at