Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In the Land of Football

Last summer we moved to Colorado. To Denver Broncos land. My husband is a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan though, and has always cheered for whoever is playing against the Broncos. Probably everyone else in this state was thrilled by the outcome of the Broncos' comeback and victory over the Steelers yesterday, but Charly was greatly disappointed (and David too).

Last summer, a few weeks after we moved here, Jordan and I took David and Daniel to the park to play frisbee. A little league football team was practicing in the adjacent field and many parents were milling around. I could feel a buzz of excitement in the air as the coach handed out the playbooks.

In the midst of our frisbee throwing, the frisbee unfortunately ended up on top of the baseball dug out. It was starting to get dark. We tried various unsuccessful methods to get the frisbee down. As a boy passed by us on his skateboard, he asked us what we were doing with such a big pole. I told him about the frisbee up there.

Then an idea came to me. That boy could be our solution. He was just the right size. “Do you think you could help us?” “Sure,” he responded and hopped off his skateboard.

Jordan and I each took a leg and hoisted him up to the top of the dug out. He climbed onto the roof, walked out to get the frisbee and tossed it down to us. A true hero.

Just then his Dad walked up, with the treasured playbook in hand. “What are you doing up there?” He did not sound happy.

Oops. I wanted to let this Dad know what a helpful son he had raised. “I asked him to help us get our frisbee down.” This bit of news did not change the Dad's demeanor at all. “How are you going to get down from there?” he challenged his son.

I hadn't thought about that part.

Fortunately the Dad was a tall and muscular guy. “Maybe you could help him down?” I suggested. The chance of injury would be greatly reduced with his Dad supporting him than with Jordan and me. His Dad reluctantly stepped up to the plate and got his son down.

Thanks so much! You all have a great evening!” I tried to be cheery, but my voice was drowned out by his Dad's. “Did you get your helmet?” “You mean my football helmet?” the boy asked. And I knew without a doubt that this boy was not nearly as into football as his Dad was.

We're living in the land of football. And it's pretty serious. People yell at the TV (I have witnessed this first hand) and get upset with the players. There is an incredible amount of pressure on the quarterback. If he's having an off day, the criticism he receives is huge. He carries the whole team's loss on his weary shoulders. I know for sure I would never want to be in that role. 

I think the worst feeling as a quarterback must be to get sacked. To be holding the ball, desperately scanning the field to see who's open, and to get hit from out of nowhere and taken to the ground. Ouch. Those guys have to be physically tough, mentally sharp, and emotionally strong to get back up and keep going.

I've been reading Brene Brown's Rising Strong, and I love her insights about rising again after falling. “The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.”

Her research on vulnerability and daring gave birth to three truths for her:
  1. I want to be in the arena.
  2. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.
  3. A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor.

    Here is a great talk she gave on "Why Your Critics Aren't the Ones that Count." 

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