The Big Game – Suited Up at the 40

It takes a while to really get it.  At the proverbial mid-field point myself, I would say I am still trying to live the reality every day, but better late than never.  Here’s how it works:

We think we are born naked, but we’re not really.  We are wearing tiny, invisible, game day uniforms.  Little knee pads, wee helmets, grippy cleats, the whole ensemble.  Over time we start to notice not only are we suited up, we’re on the field.  So is everyone else.

We look around and start trying to identify our team members.  We talk strategy, and possible plays, and rest periods and practice times.  Sometimes we lose teammates, and that hurts.  Sometimes we find out we are playing a position at which we are terrible, but fortunately we have the choice to move around.  Good teammates will let us do that.  Sometimes we get traded, and sometimes we get suspended.  We are injured, sometimes severely.  We win games.  We lose games.  We go into overtime.

Slowly it dawns on us that these things are not happening to us.  We are engaged in most outcomes, and certainly always in our responses to the dynamics of the game.  It’s a relief, and it’s also a humbling and sobering moment of truth.

One of biggest learning  points in The Big Game is that the refs are not ethical arbiters.  Law is only law, and what is legal or technically aligned with the rules of the game most often only coincidentally aligns with what is right.  Learning to know the difference and to respect what that difference requires of us is a demand of the game with no clock running down. 

It is always on.

There is no postponement of The Big Game.  We are all playing it right now, and the sooner the adults involved in the West Virginia AAA State Football tournament debacle wake up to that reality and what we are teaching kids with this ridiculous behavior, the better.  It may be too late, because at the moment the field is littered with nothing but losers as far as the eye can see.

On an up note, one great thing about The Big Game is that there is often a thrilling emergence of an unexpected hero.  My hope is that hero turns out to be the kids themselves.  Time will tell.

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