(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 aggressively 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.