Despite the cooler weather, which I dislike fiercely, this time of year certainly has its perks. A long list. There is REALLY something about a homemade steaming pot of stew with crusty bread. And of course, the beauty Autumn brings to our part of the world, with a million colors changing by the minute in the leaves of the trees.
But one of my favorite parts of this time of year is football. Yes, I still watch, support, and like the NFL. Freedom of speech and all. But we have beat that dead horse beyond recognition. That is not what this is about.
Football. I love the game for reasons unknown. Pro and College. It really doesn’t matter which teams are playing, I can watch.
It has its ins and outs. And its ups and downs. It is not perfect, and neither are the people involved in the sport. As with anything else in life. Which made me think.
For those of you who do not know the game, there is something called a Fair Catch. It goes like this. One team kicks off (or punts) to the other team. The team who is going to receive the ball, has a couple of players waiting for that ball to come down out of the air.
They can catch the ball and start running like crazy, trying to pick up yards (which is a good thing). OR, if they think their chances of getting tackled right away (a bad thing), they can signal for something called a “Fair Catch.”
A Fair Catch is this. So there is the guy. He stands there, waiting for the ball to descend, while 11 guys from the other team come charging down the field right at him. As that oblong piece of leather spins and hurtles toward him, he is pondering all his options. Is he going to be able to catch it and run like a madman, or is he going to get tackled right away? A hard and fast decision to make.
Enter the Fair Catch. If he decides neither case scenario is a very good option, he can signal that he is going to catch the ball and stay exactly where he stands. If he makes that gesture for a Fair Catch, he is entitled to catch the ball without interference from any member of the kicking team. Safe as safe can be, neither advancing of receding. Just catching the ball, standing there, and saying, “I got this. And for now, I just need to stay right here. One thing at a time.”
I think, there are lessons to be learned in everything.
In life, it would be great, in many situations, if we could just signal that we want a “Fair Catch.” We really aren’t asking for any advancement, or preferred treatment. Yet at the same time, we don’t want to get tackled and get the snot knocked out of us. We just want to receive what is being given to us, no matter what it is. Safely. Without getting hit hard. We just want to stand still for a minute, and be alright with what is happening. That is all we can do.
Sometimes, in our lives, we just need to signal for a Fair Catch. And it is okay. At that point, we don’t know if we are going to win or lose the game. No way of knowing. But for this minute, we can stand strong on our feet, right where we are.
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.”
― Margaret Mitchell
“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
― John Guare, Landscape of the Body
“Keep your best wishes, close to your heart and watch what happens”
― Tony DeLiso