Did y'all hear about the college student and the bear?

It happened this October. 

Young men, wrestlers from Northwest College in Wyoming, were hiking when one of them was attacked by a bear. 

Another wrestler on the hike, Kendell Cummings, stepped in. 

When he saw the bear mauling his friend, Brady Lowry, Cummings first tried shouting to scare it away. Then he threw stones and rocks in the grizzly's direction. The scare tactics were not enough.

That is when the young wrestler acted on instinct. Cummings said that he leaped in and grabbed the bear, distracting it enough to free Lowry.

Then the bear charged Cummings twice, the Powell Tribune reported.

Cummings had gashes on his leg and his bicep was stitched up, and his hands were in bad shape. He has 60 staples holding his scalp together and multiple stitches in his face to fix where his cheek had been ripped open.

"I got some pretty good cuts all over my body," Cummings said. 

He told Tucker Carlson that his parents always said he was the type of person who would put himself in harm's way for his friends, which meant smelling a bear's nasty breath so his friend could live. 

One young man thrust himself at death's door to save another. 

Kendell Cummings was willing to sacrifice his life without a second thought. He acted honorably and bravely. He is a modern-day warrior. 

His character traits are why we're drawn to this story. 

It's who we wish we could be. It's who we hope we would be if we were in his shoes.

And so, what if we were? 

Would we be ready?

How about a second story of bravery, this one involving Jalen Hurts? 

He huddled with his parents in a hotel room not long ago, wondering about his future. 

His struggle was real. 

Is this not true, though?

That often, before we succeed, we are crushed by our calling?

This is what my friend Heather said. And I believe she's right. 

So, what comes out of that and out of the struggle we do our best to avoid?

What happens when there are broken steps rather than a speedy elevator that takes us to the top?

What happens when our heart is smashed to bits and profoundly humbled? 

Jalen Hurts leads the Philadelphia Eagles.

He's an MVP candidate and considered one of the top five QBs in the game. 

But before his success, he was benched in college after two successful years publicly by Nick Saban in favor of Tua. 

And yes, Alabama created two stratospherically talented QBs. 

How is that possible? 

Still, can you imagine riding the bench after riding high?

Do you remember how it went down?

It was the College Football National Championship Game

And Jalen was taken out.

Then, the following year, remember? Tua was hurt

And it was Jalen who led Alabama to victory. 

Afterward, he transferred to Oklahoma. 

But then, do you recall what made him remarkable?

He didn't complain. 

He didn't make it about him.

But, he did prepare.

He stayed ready.

Finally. 

Did you hear about the boy who bit the viper?

He was 8. 

What were you doing when you were 8? 

This eight-year-old was from India. 

A viper wrapped itself around his hand. And he could not shake it off. 

So he bit it. Twice. 

He lived. 

The snake died. 

Would you do something like that? 

Would you bite a viper back if it meant staying alive? 

There are so many parallels it makes my mind spin.

But I'll keep it simple. 

So often, we face real and present danger and feel stuck - waylaid by what should not happen. 

We're like the wrestlers being gnawed on by bears. 

Or fighting for our place in our chosen field. 

Or bitten by snakes. 

And there appears to be no way out. 

Until it's fight or flight. 

And then what? 

And aren't we there now? 

In the fight of our lives?

And I don't just mean on the football field, between Auburn and Alabama. 

I mean for our lives, for our work, for our calling, for our families. for our churches and for our communities.

And the question is will we let the circumstances of life crush us?

Will the grizzly bear have his way?

Will getting taken out of the game take us down?

Will the viper do us in?

Or, like Kendell Cummings, Jalen Hurts, or the young boy in India, will we bite back?

Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].

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