Lessons Learned From the Game

We are deep into NFL Football Playoff Season, when every highlight, every victory speech, and every cooler of Gatorade poured is shown on the news, ESPN, YouTube, Instagram, and every other outlet. I always wanted to be a football player. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was play football in our backyard. I still remember the names of most of the other kids–Lex, Kelly, Danny, Jason, Paul, Jerry, Steve, and David (and I’m talking @1975-1978 when I was 5-8 years old)–kids who were my age and as much as five years older. Notice that these were all boys! I was the only girl on my street and learned an early life lesson in keeping up with the boys!

My father had the nicest grass in the neighborhood, and we had a pretty sizable backyard, so everyone gathered to play football there on a regular basis. That was my first introduction to the game that my parents watched every Sunday while I played Barbies in my bedroom. Because it was my yard, I got to play whatever position I wanted, but looking back, I’m pretty sure the guys made up whatever position I played since I had no clue and was a lot younger than most of them! I actually do remember them giving me the ball sometimes, and I thought I was the biggest playmaker on the field. With a start like that, how could I not fall in love with the game?

By the time I was in middle school, I was a football watcher. Oh, how I idolized Tami Maida, whose story was told in the movie Quarterback Princess (starring Helen Hunt, 1983). I still remember the 1982-1983 season and the amazing Riggins run in Super Bowl XVII in which the Redskins beat the Dolphins 27-17. We even attended the parade in DC after the win. Our school principal, Sister Victoire, actually closed school that day so that everyone who wanted to could attend, a great lesson in knowing that sometimes learning from experiences is more important than learning in a classroom.

As a lifelong fan of professional football, I’ve made many observations of what happens both on and off the field. I think there are many aspects of the game that can be translated into life lessons for everyone.

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Marriage Requires Love

Last week, my daughter sent me a link to an article in the New York Times. The article upset her, and she knew I would have the same reaction. She was correct.

In Marriage Requires Amnesia, Heather Havrilesky presents a section from her new book (coming in February), Foreverland, On the Divine Tedium of Marriage. Unable to read the book as it hasn’t yet been published, I can only glean info about Heather and her marriage from this article. And the article makes me profoundly sad and even angry.

With passages like this: “Do I hate my husband? Oh for sure, yes, definitely. I don’t know anyone who’s been married more than seven years who flinches at this concept. A spouse is a blessing and a curse wrapped into one. How could it be otherwise? How is hatred not the natural outcome of sleeping so close to another human for years?”

How can one not take umbrage to the sentiment?

The writer goes on to list everything she hates about her husband from his daily habits–“He is exactly the same as a heap of laundry: smelly, inert, almost sentient but not quite”–to the way he sneezes and how he clears his throat. And though she says he is exactly the same person she met seventeen years ago, she can’t stand the man that he was and is. “This is just how it feels to be doomed to live and eat and sleep next to the same person until you’re dead. Because the resolution on your spouse becomes clearer and clearer by the year, you must find compensatory ways to blur and pixelate them back into a soft, muted, faintly fantastical fog.”

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New Year, New Chapter

Merry 5th Day of Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas weekend and is looking forward to the new year.

2021 wasn’t all that much better than 2020. With the exception of things opening and the promising vaccines and treatments, the fear rippling through our world remains, especially with non-stop news coverage of the dire situation we’re in. Despite the vaccines and treatments and lower risks strains, everyone is still being told that this is practically the end stages of Armageddon. Of course, if that is the case, I know that I had better step up my game before that final day of judgment!

The point is, there’s a lot of hope that 2022 will be a game changer. We want life to go back to normal, to be able to spend time with friends and family without fear, and to travel, go to the theater, and do all the things we used to do (and without masks). No matter how you feel about the virus or the treatments or the masks, I’m sure you hope that the day will be here soon when we can live like it’s 2019!

And that has me thinking…

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A Time for Rejoicing

For the past few months, I’ve been leading a study of the Wisdom Literature–the books of Wisdom, Sirach, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, and the letter of James along with passages from other books sprinkled in. It’s funny how often the themes of these studies, while I’m in the midst of them, appear throughout all parts of my life. It’s a constant barrage of messages reminding me what I’m supposed to be taking from these lessons and discussions.

A couple weeks ago, I read to the women this beautiful passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you. 

Philippians 4:4-9

The following week, I stepped in to lector at Mass when the lector was unable to be there. Guess what the reading was…

Philippians 4:4-9.

A few days later, Father Mike‘s reading in his Bible in a Year Podcast was…

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Worth Serving For

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It’s a somber anniversary, not like a wedding or an occasion for a grand party. However, it is something to be remembered, and there is something to celebrate.

Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base on the remote island of Hawaii where they destroyed or damaged almost 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in that attack, a number of them civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. It was after this event that President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to declare War on Japan, thus thrusting our American Service Men and Women into World War II.

Photo Credit – https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor#&gid=ci023944f6f00027a8&pid=1-pearl-harbor-photo-gallery-getty-3090085

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You Are Not A Wave

Mitch Albom said, in his wonderful book, Tuesdays, with Morrie, “You’re not a wave, you’re a part of the ocean.”

This quote has hit me more than once over the past few days as I walk along the deck or watch from the stern of the ship or stroll on a beach. I watch the waves that roll in and out, blanketing the sand and then drawing back with them anything caught in the tide. Sometimes, in the early morning or late evening, I stand at the railing and watch the wake of the ship, foaming up from under the berth and fanning out into the open ocean.

The world looks so vast from this vantage point–ongoing, endless, infinitesimal. It’s hard to tell where the Earth ends and where the Universe begins. It’s easy to feel like we’re small and insignificant in comparison, powerless even. Even the clouds, mere collections of air and water, seem bigger, stronger, and mightier than I am.

It’s like I’m no more than a tiny puff of air in the immense cosmos.

And then…

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Are You Simply a Human Doing?

Lately, I see so many people, particularly young people, desperately trying to figure out who they are.

Most people can’t answer the simple question, who are you?

Morgan the Good Sister

When asked, the majority of people would probably respond, I am so-and-so’s mother, daughter, son, cousin, husband, etc. OR they would respond, I’m a doctor or a teacher or an accountant… The list goes on. But do those answers truly answer the question? At the core of your being, are you someone’s wife, mother, teacher, or nurse?

WHO ARE YOU REALLY?

It seems that people of all ages are still trying to find the answer…

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A Past and A Future

A couple days ago, something I was working on with a friend reminded me of this story.

Michelangelo's David

When my girls were younger (our oldest, Rebecca, was between her junior and senior years of high school), we visited Italy. Rebecca asked her friends what she could bring back to them, and one of them said, “Find me the perfect Italian man, and convince him to come back to me.” We kidded the whole time about guys that we passed and how we would fit them into our suitcases; but when we went to the Academia and Rebecca saw Michelangelo’s David and heard of how the artist painstakingly worked on the marble wonder, making every muscle, tendon, and appendage absolutely perfect, she was entranced. She went right outside and bought two little statues from a street vendor, one for her friend and one for herself. When we got home, all her girlfriends went crazy over it and thought it was the funniest thing ever–that Rebecca had found the perfect man in Italy. Since then, I have never been able to gaze at that statue without thinking of David as the perfect male specimen!

Alas, David was far from perfect.

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Rosie the Wonder Dog

Wonder Dog

When I was a child, I loved watching Super Friends every Saturday morning. It was my favorite of all the Saturday morning cartoons, and I have fond memories of lying on our basement floor, wrapped in a blanket, while following the adventures of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Superman, and the rest of the superheroes. Two of the characters had a dog names Wonder Dog who often helped the crew foil their enemies. Wonder Dog could not speak, but he did have a knack for alerting his humans, Marvin and and Wendy, when danger lurked or when clues were nearby. He communicated through barks, gestures, and even his own form of charades. He always seemed to be one step ahead of his humans.

Those who have been following me lately know that we recently rescued a puppy. Luna is quite active, and to be honest, pretty bad! She truly thinks she’s a circus dog, bouncing and bounding across the floors, furniture, and even walls like they are all part of a giant trampoline park. She chews everything in sight from Rosie’s toys and bones to my throw pillows and even the baseboards along the walls! She’s too smart for her own good and often ends up getting herself and my poor Rosie in trouble. They’ve become the best of friends, and Luna is really lucky to have Rosie for a big sister. In fact, we’ve discovered that we’re all extremely lucky to have Rosie around…

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Reassess Your Gift-Giving

I read this morning that Amazon, Target, and other retailers are having “Black Friday-worthy” sales all this month to encourage everyone to do their Christmas shopping while supplies last. According to the financial newsletter The Morning Brew (which I read faithfully every morning even though I know nothing about finance), “Factories in Asia have been closed due to Covid lockdowns, shipping containers are harder to find than a heat lamp, and companies are struggling to hire workers to staff ports and drive trucks.”

I read this and thought, would it be so terrible if people weren’t able to spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on Christmas presents?

Would it be so terrible if all those toys and other items coming from China and Taiwan weren’t available in American stores this year?

Would it be so terrible if kids were *gasp* limited in the amount of presents they receive on Jesus’s (not their own) birthday?

I shake my head and think…

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