Sunday, November 22, 2009

Still Learning the Important Lessons from Football

Once again, Football saved my life.

I was having a bad week, a week of doubt. The voice inside my head had gone to the dark side. It kept saying that I have not used my time here to good purpose. It said that I am a failed writer. All I have is imagination and it’s leading me nowhere. “Let’s face it,” the evil voice in my head said, “You are 55 years old and there is a good chance you will go to your grave without connecting with the readers for whom your writing is intended. The novels that you labored over with love for the past 20 years will, at best, reach a close circle of family and friends through some inexpensive self-pubbing avenue. Beyond that, nothing.”

I took my best shot publishing a book, which was modestly successful, won a few awards, gave a couple thousand people a good time, briefly. It didn’t make it financially possible for me to publish any more books. It didn’t even earn back what it cost to produce. It certainly didn’t bring me the opportunity to quit writing grants and dedicate my time to my creative pursuits. I hear inspiring success stories about other writers and artists all the time. This one printed 100 copies of a book for their friends and family and one thing led to another and it became a bestseller. That one mortgaged their home and made an independent film that won the Sundance Festival. But not everyone gets to be a huge success story. I didn’t.

Now for the football. On Sunday night, the Colts beat the Pats in the last few seconds of the game after I had given up and gone to bed. I read about the win with astonishment in the paper the next morning. I am a big Colts fan because, well, I’m from Northern Cali where we barely have a football team. In fact, we barely have two. I think Peyton Manning is brilliant. Not to mention Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, and Austin Collie. The Pats lost me with the fumble that should have gone to Oakland in the snow in the play-offs years ago. I never forgot and I have passionately disliked them, and that sourpuss Belichek, with a vengeance only allowable when it comes to football. With 3 minutes left in the game, and the Colts (21 points) on the verge of losing for the first time in their so-far perfect season, to the Pats (34 points) no less, I couldn’t bear to watch. I turned off the TV and gave up on them. Ah, ye of little faith. After I went to bed, the Colts scored twice and won the game 35-34, keeping their perfect record. Thank you Football, for reminding me that it’s not over until it’s over, and anything can happen, even in the last minute of the game, even a miracle.

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