As the opening of the NFL season approaches I can’t begin to express the level of excitement I feel. It has been a long agonizing offseason, full of unknowns, with the increasing possibilities of a lost 2011 season. But now the wait is over. The season is days away and many of us will begin to ride the emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows as we follow our cherished team. The time spent following them in the offseason, tracking all of the moves in personnel, and even the financial status of the team and their ability to improve. Wow! Is this a sickness? Is there something wrong with devoting so much time and energy to a sport team that offers so little in return?
I have a long standing relationship with the New York Football Giants that extends 20 plus years. It can be as crazy as any other relationship at times. A love/hate relationship, in which any given Sunday they can break my heart, let me down and disappoint to no end. In the very next breath or week they can bring a level of joy and happiness because of the way they performed and fought to win the game.
I love football. I love the competitiveness and the mental focus it takes to win. I love the physical nature of the game. Being a defensive player in my day, there is nothing like delivering a hit on an offensive player, dislodging the ball and watching as they struggle to get to their feet. But today, in this moment I was hit with the bigger picture.
The season kicks off Thursday for 2 teams but for the other 30 teams it begins on September 11, 2011. This marks the 10 year anniversary of the most devastating attack this country has faced since Pearl Harbor. So as I sit here anxiously awaiting the start of the season, I realize there are millions of friends and family members revisiting the pain, agony and devastation of the moment when they first heard the news or saw the impact. There will be over 6000 grave site visited, specifically because of that fateful day. I think about how close I came to losing my children’s mother in the pentagon. How my life and the life of my children would have changed had she been a part of that 6000. I am humbled and ever so thankful that the Lord spared her and therefore sparing me and our 3 children the unimaginable grief while attempting to pick up the pieces.
I wonder how the day began for the 6000 people who lost their life 10 years ago. I would imagine that it began like any other Tuesday, in which we dread the long week ahead of us, alarms fail to go off, and cars won’t start, not to mention the traffic that’s so thick you wonder why it is you even own a vehicle. What about the argument that morning between spouses or the night before in which they left the house not speaking to each other. It’s like a horror movie to imagine those folks morning and what each person encountered, not knowing that it would be their last. How did your morning start? What have you taken for granted this morning? I can only imagine the things those people would do different if they had the chance. All the things they thought were so important but were really just meaningless. All of the regrets they were forced to take with them without the opportunity to make amend.
I used to always say “It's Not A Game” as I referred to football. I guess that speaks to the intensity in which I viewed the game. The truth is, at the end of the day it is a game and it is trivial to say the least when stacked up against the important issues we faced today.
I think it is important that we keep the proper perspective, stay grounded and remain humbled to the chances that we have every day to enjoy life. There is beauty that is ever present regardless if the sun doesn’t shine, the rain starts to pour, and the temperature goes from 87 to 54, trust me it’s there. Did you look? Can you see it? I did …….and I do. By Unique