We had a REAL surprise visit from Emmitt Smith at Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders rehearsal this week. You will see it on CMT, Making the Team 7 tonight at 8 p.m. CST.
With the DCC having a “normal” field rehearsal at Cowboys Stadium, Judy and I were standing on the 50-yard line addressing the cheerleaders when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and was met with a glowing smile from none other than Emmitt Smith. I squealed with surprise and immediately called the girls to come to the star and say hello to “OUR” all-time rushing champion, Super Bowl MVP, and Dancing with the Stars champion. The girls gathered around Emmitt like he was Santa Claus, and just waited for him to say something.
I explained to Emmitt that we were practicing for our pregame performance, had a few games under our belt, and needed to refuel at this point since this is the time of season when complacency tries to knock on our lockeroom door. I asked Emmitt how he motivated himself every year, every quarter, even every down. His answer was simple yet profound.
“Kelli, in the NFL, you risk injury every single play,” Emmitt said, “and that reality motivated me to play ever down is if it could be my last play in the NFL. I played every play as if I was not promised another play.”
He then turned to the Cheerleaders and said, “You need to live your life today, as if tomorrow is not promised.”
I have always held Emmitt in high esteem, and am on the record for saying my favorite Cowboys player in my 28 years with the team is Emmitt Smith. I’ve had the good fortune of being in the presence with many sports heroes, but I must say, Emmitt is a true gentleman, leader and inspiration … and a heck of a dancer!
Emmitt had no idea when he was speaking to the cheerleaders how his one-sentence message would become a mantra for me.
I‘ve had a turbulent summer this year, and leaned on many quotes for strength and inspiration, but “Brother Emmitt” has now given me my morning coffee: “Thank you God for this day. I’m going to try to live today, knowing tomorrow is not promised to me.”