Monday, November 11, 2013

Life takes funny bounces

I think that writers decided that sports made a great metaphor for life right after Richard Nixon made his Checkers speech in 1952.  His place as running mate to Dwight Eisenhower was in jeopardy after opponents questioned a gift fund that he had been dipping into. Nixon's response was to go on TV, get all misty, and say that he was a humble man of modest means whose wife couldn't afford a fur coat but he would never give back "Checkers," the dog that was a gift to his family, no matter who said what.

He should have mentioned that if people wanted to get mad at him for his crooked ways, they ought to wait twenty more years and he'd REALLY show' em somethin'!

But as the years went on, Nixon would mention, at every opportunity, that he had played college football, and would bother the coach of the Washington Redskins with his suggestions for plays, sort of like a sober version of Robert Irsay.

Fans of the Baltimore Ravens saw a great life lesson yesterday, delivered by James Ihedigbo, one of the safeties on the team. The team was doing great in the first half of the game against the Bengals, but Cincinnati was closing fast as time ran out.  Ihedigbo had made quite a few great plays during the game, and with two seconds left to play, all Baltimore had to do was defend against a long Hail Mary pass to win, but Ihedigbo, playing pass defense, batted the deflected pass up in the air, and a Bengal caught it for the tying touchdown.

He was wearing the Crown of Shame and Disapproval as he went to the bench, and then one of his own teammates, Jimmy Smith, went over to him and berated him for making the mistake of not knocking the ball down. Nice, Jimmy.  But Ihedigbo said he knew he made a bonehead play, and he had a decision to make: to sit and mourn what was already done, or to make a difference in what was to come.

Pronounced eeHEDeebo
If you saw the game or the highlights, you know that the Bengals, in overtime, were moving toward a winning scoring play when our man James, who had been knocked to the ground on a fourth-down play, got off the ground and make the crucial tackle.  And then the Ravens won, once they got the ball back.

I guess I'm writing this more for the young than for us old salts, but it seems to happen so often that we allow a setback to knock us off course.  You can't change the past, as Nixon found out as he packed up his personal effects, but you can't allow the past to keep you on the bench while the future unfolds.

And that's our lesson for today.  Please pass your texts to the front of the room.  Thank you!

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