It’s football season! I’m a fan … and this past weekend did not disappoint, with a thrilling win from the Broncos (I’m always a believer), and such a heroic performance from Aaron Rodgers of …
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It’s football season! I’m a fan … and this past weekend did not disappoint, with a thrilling win from the Broncos (I’m always a believer), and such a heroic performance from Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers that the booth announcers could hardly contain themselves.
For anyone who missed it, 34-year-old Rodgers had to leave the game with a serious knee injury right before the half, when his team was down 17 – 0 to the Chicago Bears in another episode of their historic rivalry. Rodgers came back in the second half, clearly hurt, hopped around mostly on one leg, and led the team to a 24 – 23 win.
Inspiring, to say the least.
This particularly struck me because it was such a contrast to something I witnessed at the recent Rocky Mountain Showdown between Colorado State University and the University of Colorado. I was mostly just an observer ... I didn’t really have any skin in the game, because my Colorado team is the UNC Bears (who, by the way, won back-to-back Division II Championships in the mid-1990s).
At the game, I noticed that one of the Rocky Mountain Showdown teams employed signs on the sidelines to alert players to the action on the field, such as “KOR” for kickoff return, presumably to make sure the right personnel were ready to enter the field. An assistant would hold these signs high over his head and waggle them around so everyone could see them.
What really caught my attention was the “PUNT” sign, not because of what it said, but because of when it was used: as the offense was lining up for a third-down play. Although I’m sure this occurrence is so routine that it probably doesn’t even register with the team on the field, it was jarring to me to assemble the players, in advance, for defeat – a punt on fourth down – instead of success – conversion to a first down.
Unusual, to say the least.
Other people around me were commenting on the “PUNT” sign, and my companions at the game found it humorous. Again, I know it must be integral to their training, their practice, their coaching, but I found it deflating (no pun intended).
There are plenty of “signs” out there in life, if one is looking for them. I tend to believe in the ones I like, such as finding that a cookbook I didn’t even know I needed was on sale so of course I have to buy it, and to disregard those I don’t like, such as missing out on concert tickets as the first caller with the right answer because my phone didn’t connect soon enough.
But I honestly don’t know how I would handle it if life threw me a “PUNT” sign every time I was ready to make some sort of breakthrough, every time a little effort, determination and
inspiration could produce reward instead of defeat. Sometimes it’s so much easier – and perhaps safer – to prepare for the punt than to push through for a potentially successful outcome.
About to drive off for a workout? Punt … or jump in the car. Gearing up for a crucial conversation? Punt … or approach with care. Ready to submit a business proposal? Punt … or push send.
Thrilling, to say the least.
Andrea Doray is a writer who had season tickets for years at the Air Force Academy and considers their games one of the greatest pageants in all of football. Contact Andrea at email@example.com.
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