Please excuse us as we take a break from all this holiday stuff and focus on football, okay? Yes folks, I’m an Eagles fan – always have been and always will be. And yes, although we just lost our Quarterback to a season-ending injury, I keep the faith that my Birds will overcome this setback and continue to Fly! Life’s a lot like football, don’t you think?
Suit up and Settle in – This is Grief and this is Life.
Want the good news or the bad news? That seriously has to be the worst question ever! “Oh yes, please give me the bad news, because I just LOVE bad news”.
Ok, well here goes. You’re getting the bad news first.
You’re on my team and you’re stuck with me. By the way, I didn’t want you on my team. I didn’t choose you. There was no combine, no stats analysis, no draft, no signing bonus, no big contract.
Oh, and once you’re on this team, you can’t be traded or fired either. You’re a “life-er” so settle in.
So here’s the good news…
You’re on my team and you’re stuck with me. There are no rules, no expectations and no playbook. On any given day you can choose your position – from Quarterback to Linebacker, to Head Coach and even GM! You can play offense, you can play defense – the choice is yours.
Some of you arrive to the locker room quietly, knowing that someday you’d be here. Others make your debut kicking and screaming while the door slams shut behind you. You didn’t see it coming and you want out NOW! This wasn’t in your playbook.
Don’t worry, it wasn’t in ours, either. We didn’t want to be here as much as you. In fact, we spent much of our rookie season trying to figure out how to just suit up every day, never mind how to play the game. We totally get if you want to sit on the sidelines for a bit, because when you’re on our team, your presence matters, not your stats.
GRIEF, or as I think it sometimes feels, LIFE. One is not separate from the other. When you lose someone you love, your grief becomes your new life. Your responsibility as a member on this team though, is to not necessarily defeat your opponent, rather to embrace it. Think about it – without loss there is no gain. Week after week we see our favorite teams stuggle, triumph, fight, win, lose and keep going. Week after week, year after year, the game always remains the same.
A little advice for the rookies, here. There will be days when you show up to play and days you will sit out. Days when you return that punt for a Touch Down and days when you will be sacked for a huge loss. The thing about your opponent is that it doesn’t take a day off – EVER. It’s a relentless force that can set you back 10 yards leaving you defeated and ready to give up. But the beauty in Grief and Life and your new team, is that you’ll stumble upon those veteran players out there who pull you back up to your feet and give you the strength to keep fighting. Yes, you’ll make huge gains only to lose big yards, and you’ll feel like you’ve won the Super Bowl one season, to not even making the playoffs the next. This is Life and this is Grief, so settle in.
Oh don’t get me started!!!! You know the fans – the die-hard season ticket holders, the fair-weather (bandwagon) fans, the “know-it-alls” and the, “I’m just here to watch the show” spectators. They’re at every event and they’ve taken their seats at your game too. The ones who are tried and true (and few), the ones who think they know how you should play the game without ever stepping on the field themselves, and the ones who like to watch for your next slip-up so they can report back to whomever will listen. The bottom line is this – the “fans” can say what they want, but until they suit up themselves, they will never truly understand what it’s like to play the game – PERIOD.
So you’re on my team – and although I never wanted you in the first place, I’m glad you’re here. It may not be the path we’ve chosen, but it’s a team that you and I simply can’t live without.