top of page
  • Writer's pictureJG .

The Only Thing to Fear

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Every time I stepped onto a football field, I knew there was a chance I could be seriously injured, a chance I could be paralyzed for life, a chance I could die. Getting hit by an NFL player is like getting hit by a small car. I knew the risks and I took them anyway. I also knew that if I brought that fear onto the field with me, the chances of serious injury would increase dramatically. Counterintuitively, playing not to get injured causes you to get injured.

President Donald Trump emerged from his 3 day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center after getting treated for the Covid-19 virus tweeting, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Trump was roundly criticized for this tweet. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said, “Everyone should be afraid of Covid.” Former Senator Claire McCaskill said in response, “Of course, be afraid of Covid.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “be afraid of Covid. It could kill you.”

America Politics have come a long way from Franklin D. Roosevelt affirming statement, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That sentiment was a paraphrase of Henry David Thoreau who wrote, “my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself.” And before him, Francis Bacon wrote, “Nothing is terrible except fear itself. Roosevelt knew that fear was the biggest enemy. After the 1929 stock market crash, it was the fear and panic that drove our country into the great depression. FDR’s strong statement against fear, his outward expression of courage is what propelled him to four terms in the White House.

Maybe that was an America of days gone by. If you believe recent polls, America prefers the candidate who has been hiding in his basement for the last 6 months to the candidate who said, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

But that is what our politics have become. Cancel culture has made many people afraid to speak or tweet or post for fear that if they do not express the politically correct sentiment, they may lose their career or livelihood. During a time of great advancements in our ability to express ourselves, free and open debate no longer exists in our country.

Safe spaces are the most important things. People need to be socially distanced not just from a deadly virus, but from any thought or idea that could threaten their preconceived notions. There are no vigorous debates anymore just vigorous attacks from inside the safe space of their own echo chambers. Safe spaces are dangerous places, both physically and intellectually.

Governor Cuomo on Tuesday said to the Jewish community, “If you’re not willing to live with these rules, then I’m going to close the synagogues.” Joe Biden has said, I would shut it (the country) down; I would listen to the scientists. We’re going to do whatever it takes to save lives.” Is this what we want to become? We used to believe what Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

The odds of dying from Covid-19 if you happen to contract it are:

Compare that to other forms of death.

We do not shut down the country over these forms of death. We do not prevent people from driving cars, walking the street, riding a motorcycle, swimming, eating or going to the beach. All of these activities have similar death rates to certain age demographics as contracting Covid-19.

Every time you climb into your car, you are risking death. Are you seized up with fear when you turn the key and start the engine? What do we do? We fasten our seat belts, have air bags, and drive the speed limit.

The chances of survival for the soldiers storming the beaches at Normandy was 1 in 4, and only 50% survived. They took that chance with their lives to ensure our freedom, and yet what do we do with that freedom they protected? We are too scared to use it. We are so worried about extending our lives, that we don’t live our lives. A quote attribute Abraham Lincoln sums it up. “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

It takes courage to live life. You have to take risks, and one of those risks is death. The old Latin proverb says, fortune favors the bold.” Michael Jordan puts it this way. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

People may accuse this as being reckless encouraging people to try to resume a normal life in the time of Covid. The leading cause of death for teens between 16-19 is automobile accidents. Are parents who help their child get a license or buy them a car acting recklessly or simply encouraging them to live life?

People die. That’s the fact of life. We all are going to die. That should not stop us from living. It should prevent us from doing reckless things. But there is a lot of life to be found between jumping out of a plane without a parachute and cowering in our basements covered in shrink wrap.

Fear is a tool. It is not a way of life. Fear alerts us to impending danger so we can make prudent decisions. It is not a shutoff switch. It should not engage our fight or flight mechanism, nor should we stand paralyzed like a deer in headlights.

As with all human emotions, we should lean into fear, acknowledge and embrace our fears, so we can navigate our fears like reasonable rational adult human beings, not like a silver back ape pounding his chest with false bravado nor like a mouse cowering in the corner scared of our own shadow. But like a human being. Staring down our fears, understanding our fears, walking hand in hand with our fears so we can experience the full spectrum of what it is to be human and alive.

As Buttermaker, in the 1976 movie The Bad News Bears, said to Timmy Lupus, “you didn't come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.”

342 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Jumping the Shark

On September 20, 1977, after a 3 year run as one of the top rated TV shows in America, the creators of the sitcom Happy Days decided to have the shows main Character Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli jump a

Activist Referees

In the 1st quarter of last night’s Thursday Night Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens threw a pass to the back of the end zone to wi

A Throne of Bayonets

This is embarrassing. The most important mechanism of our country is conducting a fair and honest election. That is infinitely more important than who actually wins the election. When the people have


Oct 09, 2020

Well written Chief!


JG .
JG .
Oct 08, 2020

Great information! Thanks for sharing the article!


Oct 08, 2020

Yet another fantastic post -- thank you JG. Very timely as well..the recently-reported Great Barrington Declaration (6000 scientists & physicians from top medical centers encouraging a massive societal re-opening) confirms that lockdowns do much more harm than good and immediately building herd immunity among the low risk population is logical and necessary. Unfortunately, this will not be covered by mainstream media.

Here's more info:


Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach and executive. He is a frequent contributer to the website Real Clear Politics, and has recently published his first novel, No Wind

bottom of page