Football and me

(Hey–does anyone know how to make the font in WordPress bigger?  I have good eyes, but even I’m squinting!) 

What a bad, bad weekend for KSU football fans.  After last week’s impressive win over Texas, I was convinced that we were a shoo-in to win the Sunflower Showdown against the KU Jayhawks.  But we lost.  It was tragic.  It was a travesty.  I will never, ever be able to go back home to Kansas City, because my dad and brother will forever look at me and gloat.  As I was pondering our loss yesterday afternoon, I started discovering some metaphoric comparisons between me and football.  Now this is dangerous.  I’m treading on ground about which I know very little.  I understand the basics of the game, but words like “play action” and “special teams” are to me like another language.  Forgive me, then, if I blow this metaphor entirely. 

I was thinking about the KSU game, and two observations about that game stood out to me.  First of all, I don’t think the Wildcats played as aggresively as they should have.  There was that 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter that I think they should have gone for, but instead they punted the ball away.  I didn’t see many big plays, either.  When the outcome started to look a little bleak, I think they should have stuck a receiver way down the field and tried for some impressive yards.  Maybe the receiver would have dropped the ball, or maybe some ugly red and blue guy might have picked it off.  But maybe not….  Second, Matt and I noticed this look of hopeless discouragement in Freeman’s eyes.  At this point the game was still up for grabs.  We hadn’t been playing great, but we hadn’t lost yet.  However, that look in his eyes told me that the game was, in fact, over.  There was no way we were going to win when the guy who was supposed to be leading his team had already given up.  I almost called my dad right then with my prepared concession speech.

So here’s my comparison.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote this middle-of-the-night blog entry confessing my dream, my vision, to become a writer.  I was suited up.  I was doing that jump up and down thing that football players do right before the game to get themselves good and psyched.  I took my position on the field.  And then I froze.  I let the play clock wind down and was penalized with a delay of game.  Five yards back, I grasped the football with determination and hunched down in position again.  Again I froze.  Again the play clock wound down and I was sent another five yards back.  And another.  And another.  And another.  Until now I’m stuck all the way back in the end zone, and it’s not because I’ve scored a touch down.  Now what?  I feel as ludicrous about that dream as I would have if Coach Prince would have suited me up in a Wildcat uniform and sent me in to play quarterback.  Now I have that same look Freeman had in his eyes: discouragement.  What do I think I’m doing?  I’m standing here, wearing a uniform that’s way too big for me, and I have no idea what to do with the football that is in my hands.  I want to have the vision to look down the field and make the big play, but my eyes are glued to the muddy turf in front of me.  Perhaps that’s my problem.  Maybe I should plow ahead one yard at a time rather than throwing the ball all the way down the field.  Games are won that way, too, right?  Even if I just make it a couple of yards and then plow ahead into a wall of blockers, I can get up and try again, can’t I?  The next play just might get me to that first down.  And if not…I guess I can just punt the ball and start again. 

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Doesn’t take big plays. If the offense gains 3.5 yards every time they run a play, they will score a touchdown on every possession.

    Reply

  2. Posted by matt on October 9, 2007 at 7:18 am

    maybe a little reckless abandon? We wanted k-state to take some chances…. i wonder how you can behave a little more recklessly to try to get some ‘forward progress’ just a thought….

    Reply

  3. Matt- Progree takes both a recognition that huge gains are not necessary to make progress and in fact are often the foundation of progress and a willingness to gamble on the big gain on occassion. Doesn’t it? I’m in full support of reckless abandon.

    Reply

  4. Posted by chill24 on October 9, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    our family is still in mourning…we will always wear our purple with pride though. in a couple of weeks we’re taking the kiddos to see manhattan…the union, mcc and ksu campuses, aggieville, etc… we can’t wait.

    as for the font, i think you need to change the actual blog theme. bummer huh?

    Reply

  5. Posted by matt on October 9, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    I would even say that progress is a self-feeding venture. To progress is to accept that only a little is needed to call it so. And when you are ok with that then you discover the motivation to continue the progress and take those big steps. Of course, conceptually everything is easy. The reality is that if you just focus on 3.5 yards every time you run a play, you will score a touchdown on every possession. I just made that up! Good, eh?

    Reply

  6. Well said. It is good. I like it. And I have to say that while 3.5 yard gains obtained by running it between the tackles is an awesome way to set yourself up for a big gain from a little reckless abandon. We ought to go into coaching or at least motivational speaking.

    Reply

  7. Posted by kelly on October 10, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I’m with matt on this one . . . it’s time for a hail mary. I’m sure it will be brilliant and then you’ll be doing a big dance in the end zone.
    How’s that for football talk? 🙂

    Reply

  8. Posted by teason on October 11, 2007 at 10:22 am

    i just hit ctrl+ and now i’m not squinting anymore. i might hit ctrl- when i leave your blog. i might not.

    Reply

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