You saw the young man struggle last week.
Adversity almost swallowed him whole. He heaved a duck interception – it went the other way for a touchdown. Even worse, inside Old Dominion’s 10-yard line, he committed football’s biggest sin: he fumbled the ball. That one went 90 yards the other way for six.
Then he got stuck in the chest on a pass play and went to the ground. The medical team gathered around. We weren’t sure he could keep playing. Into the tent he went for further evaluation.
He was having as unpleasant a day as any quarterback could ever have.
Came through when it counted
But then, with the undefeated season at stake, when his team counted on him to bail them out of their abyss, he returned to the game, stood in the pocket and threw a perfect pass to Taylor Morin for a momentum-propelling touchdown. Then he hit Jahmal Banks for another touchdown.
He led his team to victory after nearly leading them off a cliff.
“The job of the quarterback is to win the game,” said Dave Clawson yesterday during his weekly press conference. “And our quarterback is three and O. I think he would have felt so guilty if we lost that game. But what he did in those last 20 minutes was really impressive.”
He came back. He showed toughness.
He showed grit.
The meaning of grit
Grit is one of those words that you kind of think you know what it means but it’s worth diving into the shades of connotations because this is who our quarterback is and will be for the rest of his Wake Forest career.
Gritty means courageous. He checked that box against Old Dominion. It also means strength of character. Check. You should see him in press conferences.
“I’m not perfect but I want to be perfect,” he says.
That’s gritty. And humble. And honest.
A person who is gritty is tough, has resolve, is game, possesses stamina, is resolute, is all about dogged determination. To be gritty is to be valorous. A gritty guy has backbone, pluck and mettle. People follow gritty people. They’re likeable, often lovable. They deserve respect.
Gritty Griffis possesses all these characteristics. In case there were any doubters, he proved it against Old Dominion. He’ll prove it the rest of the season. He waited his turn – three years — to be the starter. He didn’t complain. The hour is now his.
I heard a story about this impressive young man last year that brings this whole idea home. When Wake Forest lost last year against Clemson, he walked through the parking lot among the tailgaters and told a friend of mine: “Don’t worry. You watch. We’re going to beat Florida State next week.”
That’s what happened. He called it. With confidence and accuracy.
Gritty Griffis is our guy.
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