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Piece 7, S/S 2023 Collection Transcend it like Beckham

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Until this week literally all of my knowledge and understanding about David Beckham has come from the The Daily Mail more so than from FOX Sports. I knew what colour he wore to his wedding but not the colour of his jersey on the playing field. But someone recommended that I watch the new NETFLIX documentary about his life, specifically for a masterclass in resilience. And so I did.

For those of you who have yet to tune in, I can tell you that the hatred he experienced after making a simple error of judgment was borderline insanity relative to the mistake he made. This well meaning man in all the heights of his major popularity had very lightly (and yes, deliberately) flicked his leg onto an opposing player who had wrestled him to the ground (and, mind you, also deliberately). This resulted in a red card followed by a sea of extraordinarily angry red faces.

What many of us would write off as an emotional reaction that yes, was petty, but also pretty explainable turned out to be the trigger for an incredibly impactful period of challenge in Beckhams life and well-being. For years he remained the subject of widespread and torrent vitriol, threats and abusive unkindness. It is not an exaggeration to say that England had launched a BECKS-XIT campaign of such might, fixated on his withdrawal from the English community that he loved so much.

But did Becks withdraw or did he push through? Oh, he pushed and pushed it real good. The world is not short of people looking for ways to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. And so I had to jot down, from his own fine example, how when faced with a tough time we could allTranscend it like Beckham.

  1. Cocoon into Community: Beckham knew how to lean into that part of his community that loved him and that he could trust for support which he drew great strength from. The presence of his family, friends and team mates became his focus helping him to rise up, and over, all of the opposing forces around him. The investment he had made in building loyal relationships provided him with a safe place, a foundation, a wall of immunity delivering sweet relief during the hard times. We are relational human beings and support networks can often be our life line.

  2. The Power of Love: When the hatred poured out, Becks remained motivated by the safety and sanctity of the love that he had for his wife, his children, his family and his team. His continuous prioritisation of those he loved in the face of all directions to the contrary from others to ensure his focus was on the game became a huge advantage to his ability to survive the turmoil and mental health impacts. When the going gets tough, the tough get loving.

  3. Choose Peace: As it relates to child birth, Victoria may well have been too posh to push, but something tells me she would have given anything to push just one of those mean assholes off a tall precipice. But she didn't. They didn't. Anger, either at a person or just at something that has happened to you, is like swallowing poison and expecting the other to die. Meeting hate with more hate is just adding fuel to an already burning fire.

  4. Persistence: Becks could have reasonably sat at home in the foetal position and refused to go out. But every day he made the conscious decision to get back up again, do what he loved and was, quite frankly, just too legit to quit.

  5. No Failures, Only Growth: Every single time Becks made what he perceived as a mistake, he never considered it a failure but rather used it as an opportunity for evolution, improvement and learning. Beckham demonstrated what a diagnosis of post traumatic growth may look like, coming through his challenge as a better player and human rather than a victim of circumstance. Some mountains arrive in your life so you can show others how to move them.

  6. Self-Sovereignty: Becks was boo-ed at high volume by enormous stadiums of people. Naysayers with opinions can be the enemy of progress in a challenging time. But Beck's self belief and intrinsic motivation to keep going and play the game he loved was not rocked by others not wanting him to. Peoples love for him could come or go depending how well or bad he played and so to hang his self worth on their hooks was far too precarious a way to live life or stand steadily throughout the storms.


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