#017: Serendipity & Letting Life Guide You

I'm thinking a lot about the movie Invincible today and the under-celebrated story of Vince Papale.

No, not Mark Walhberg. (That’ll probably come later).

Today we’re talking about the idea of serendipity which is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”

Here’s the idea: 

Your life can take dramatic and incredible turns if you actually take advantage of the clues that life gives to you.

In 1974 and part of 1975 existed a football league known as the World Football League.

It was different from the NFL and existed to expand football across the world.

*Rewind back to 1964*

Enter: Vince Papale

Papale attended Interboro High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track and field.

He only played one year of varsity football but won All-Delaware County Honorable Mention honors.

As a star athlete, he was offered a scholarship to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

However, the scholarship was in track… St. Joseph’s didn’t even have a football team.

Papale accepted the scholarship and went on to graduate in 1968. Papale decided to stay in Philadelphia and became quite a big Eagles fan.

About six years later, while bartending at Monkster's Club and substitute teaching at Interboro High School, he heard about this new football league.

The World Football League.

Every other weekend Vince and his buddies would play some pickup football. The only issue in the game was that Vince was just better, stronger and faster than all his friends.

After some convincing, Vince decided to look into that random football league he heard about… and try out.

He ended up making the local team, the Philadelphia Bell as we wide receiver.

He played so well in the two seasons for the Bell that the new head coach for the Eagles, Dick Vermeil, wanted to meet him.

After meeting Coach Vermeil, he was invited to his own private workout for the Eagles. 

Papale eventually made the team and became the oldest rookie in NFL history, at 30 years old. Remember, he never played a down of football in college.

He went on to play wide receiver and special teams for the Eagles from 1976 to 1978 as well as got voted as Eagles “Man of the Year” in 1978.

Vince’s story is so inspiring that Disney released a movie based on his story in 2006 titled “Invincible”, starring Mark Wahlberg.

Vince could have ignored the World Football League news.

He could have ignored all his friends constantly telling him that he could still play football.

He could have ignored the open tryouts that the Philadelphia Bell held.

All these events… just sorta happened.

Vince took the shot and just got out of his own way.

Different events are happening in your life that are trying to form a serendipitous moment.

Let them happen.