Tuesday, January 3, 2023

It's just a game

Ramblings Post #409
Now, let's be clear, and so my point doesn't get misinterpreted, the Bills-Bengals game point didn't need to start again. That it can't be made up shouldn't even have been an issue. They can just mark it down as a tie and keep it moving for all I care. The injury was devastating, the aftermath traumatizing, and if the players had just walked out of the stadium to go wait at the hospital instead of lining up I wouldn't have blamed a soul. It is just a damn game. That is a man's life.

I'm surprised that the NFL didn't have a protocol for this. It's a game where grown men are paid vast sums of money to run at each other at top speed and make contact. Hard contact. Repeatedly. They should have seen this as a possibility, even if the chances are one in a billion. And despite the obvious trauma stemming from the situation, they really seemed poised to throw the usual "Okay folks, shows over, nothing to see here" process that normally follows an injury. And if they had gone ahead with that five minutes to get your head together plan, I'm not sure what would have happened. Hamlin didn't have an ordinary injury.

That's a just weird thing to write. "Ordinary Injury." Sigh.

We've see injuries in the sport before. Twisted ankles and knees, head shots that left players twitching. But in those cases as the player is carted off he's sitting up, sometimes angry at his body for failing him, other times hiding his face to mask the terrible agony he's going through. Even players in the neck brace give the stadium a thumbs up as they're loaded into the ambulance. And we know they'll be okay. Maybe they won't be playing anymore, but they'll be someplace - coaching, in the booth, on a Sunday analysis show or selling used cars. They'll be somewhere. But this was not that. To see the sheer terror on his teammates faces told you that. That the term CPR was used. He had to be revived on the field, implying that at some point on the field...well, you know.

In high school, one of my teammates broke his neck during a game. He wore that Halo neck-brace for the next year I think. It did not look comfortable. Because we were young and naive we later joked that when he went down his mother had high hurdled the fence getting to the field she was so scared for her son. And after he'd been worked on, stabilized, loaded into the ambulance and carted off, without a second thought we lined up and went back at like we were invincible, when the truth was it could have been anyone of us.

"There but for the Grace of God, go I." Because on every play when I suited up, it could have been me. Grown men running at each other at top speed to intentionally make contact. Violent contact. Nature of the beast. Despite the rule changes and advances in all the padding, helmets and other safety equipment improvements of the last 50 years injuries are still expected, which is why you have the training staff there, the medics, and at that level even spotters to make sure no one is trying to walk something serious off. But not this. We expect a stinger. A sprain. A hyper-extension. But not this. This is from the football before modern football. We'd left this behind. Or so we'd thought.

I am hoping for Demar's recovery. That he rises in a week or so and finds his charity funded through 2040 with even more money to hand out scholarships. I hope he thinks about it long and hard should he decide to put the helmet on again. I hope is family is overjoyed to have him back. I hope for him many blessings going forward no matter what path he chooses.

This was just a game. That is a man's life.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

What I Learned in 20....No, I'm not gonna say it.

So, what as the passing of another year into the books taught me? What lesson have I taken to heart and tried incorporate into the "new me," who is now the "old me" since twelve months have passed. What secrets have I gleaned from my trials and tribulations that I might share so that those who would walk behind me might find the path easier?

Let me get back to you on that.

I spent the last week or so trying to find the lessons. I thought about during the drive down to see the parents, while I slept on that single bed with the brand new mattress in the guest room at my parent's house, during the long drive home. And all this week while I kinda tried to keep my mind on my work tasks at the new chicken plucking factory. And since my plucking is now "hybrid" and has quite a bit of transport, I thought about it during those drives home. I bubbled and burbled a bit. The always consistent Life goes on. The tried and true Love endures. Even the paradoxical Sometimes getting what you want isn't the best thing, that last one in light of my re-submergence into Atlanta traffic. But nothing clicked. 

I've spent another year just mulling things over. I've planned and schemed a lot, and put in place a lot of things to get me to where I want to go. But I'm still in a mire of my own creation - replaying conversations and reexamining my actions instead of moving forward. It partly irritating because I know I can do better....but have apparently chosen this as the better option.

Some of this is still Covid related. Because unlike a lot of folks I see in social media, I'm still masking when I go out in most situations. I still limit my trips out to just the basics, despite seeing stadiums filled to capacity, night clubs jumping and concerts in full rock. But then I haven't had covid yet either, so there is that as a plus. But this limited interaction also limits that thing I realized last year that I actually need - the person in personal contact. I've done one social event this year and honestly...I miss it. But I'm also of the opinion that with my luck even vaxxed and boosted I'll end up flat on my back if I get it adding up my sins and looking for heavenly frequent prayer miles. 

This past year has been a...year. A number of things happened that I wish I had been a larger part of and the reason I wasn't because my own actions. I've said before and will continue to say that I'm responsible for 95% of things that happen to me through my own actions. I guess that's also true for my failings as well. And unfortunately for me, as I explained earlier, I'm probably going to dwell on that for far too long as well. Sigh.

So, words of wisdom.... eh? I'm not sure I'm as qualified to be handing them out as I like to believe I am. But here goes....

Go forth and live, taking time to balance between taking in the full of the now while keeping an eye on the future. Despite our best efforts and most passionate wishes, the world will not wait for us. Be kind but firm, and warm but cautious and open yourself up to the possibilities. Feast or famine, failure or triumph, just remember that you cannot stay here because here will not be here for long, so make a choice and go. And at the very least it will have been something you chose, not just let happen. 

To next year.