A short time ago, someone that I don’t know very well (at all, really), made a comment about my life based on what was read on my FB page. Period. No other informational input, just the less-filling, not very nutritious, artificially sweetened thin slices of social media served up sporadically over time. I happen to love social media, but it is a bit like one of those cartoon flip-books – picture by picture, it goes by rather slowly. Rifle through at a quick pace, it almost resembles life in motion.
If you were to put any of our lives in a PowerPoint presentation and fast-forward through the major scenes, it would make life seem pretty compact and audience members in the cheap seats might get the impression that they could have helped you handle it better than you did. Ah! Any good coach will tell you, you learn from the review footage. But that’s in a game, where the rules are concrete, the contest formulaic and, more often than not, comes with a time limit. Life, unfortunately, is not like that. So, having someone make a judgment call, when they are not the referee of me, was a pretty low blow.
The sucker punch comment was in reference to the demise of my marriage. The person who made the remark from afar said, “Well, that was a short divorce.” Let’s see – as far as reviews go: it was flippant, erroneous and public. In my game book, that amounted to three strikes in a row, especially when talking about the lava hot pain and sorrow that has been my life. We had no cameras, no instant replay to go back and judge who was right and who was wrong over the 20 plus years. What we did have, was a playing field littered with substance abuse, cancer, lies, autism, emotional illness and more. Some unions can survive that. For others, it depends on the players and the training they’ve had.
I believe if you were to ask anyone who has gone through the dissolution of marriage, it is never easy and it is most certainly never short. No matter who initiated the process, it is fraught with emotion. Loss, of property or soul, is never simple.
Know that I don’t have a problem with folks making commentary about my life. It’s one of the things that separates us from the animals and helps us to learn from one another. I kind of like that. I also kind of like how sports metaphors can describe our lives, perfectly and simply. Great sportswriters, coaches and athletes have given us hundreds of quotes that cross the board and are applicable to the Game of Life, and I’d like to share just a few of my favorites with you:
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi (Football Coach)
“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey (Boxer)
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary (Football Coach/Player)
“Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” -- Matt Biondi (Olympic Swimmer)
“I have always tried to be true to myself, to pick those battles I felt were important. My ultimate responsibility is to myself. I could never be anything else.” – Arthur Ashe (Tennis Player)
“Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity that we absorbed the loss.” – Doug Williams (Football Coach/Player)
At the half-century mark, I’ve taken a lot of hits and suffered some losses that have set me back and knocked me down. Despite this, I have dusted myself off, borrowed a towel (or shoulder) from my teammates to dry the sweat and tears and I have made the decision to stay in the game. I will take the advice of Mr. Ashe, Mr. Biondi and Miss Hamm and move forward to reach my goals. Like Coach Singletary, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities given to me and I will not squander them.
And as for those who want to Monday Morning Quarterback and publicly review the way I play the game? Well, Gordie Howe said it best and I lil’ ol’ me can only paraphrase: “Squint all you want through the keyhole, but shut yer pie-hole until you have all the facts and yak.”