Interception of a dream

I understand that at the mere mention of football, many of you may navigate away from this page, but I should tell you, this is not about football. This is about life. Let me start by saying I have loved the Oakland Raiders since I was a young child. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you why I love them or how that love was inspired. I can only say, It is a love that has always been. After watching the team share a horrible display during the last ten years, that love has not changed. This year, for whatever reason, has been a year I hoped to see some change. The team has been very strong and has had a great ability to score and stay in games until Sunday’s game. The Raiders lost their quarterback to an injury in the previous game against the Browns and was forced to make some changes at the position. With only one week to properly prepare, none of the quarterbacks on the roster were prepared for what was to come against their division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. The team played two quarterbacks in the game, each of them finishing the game with three interceptions and no touchdowns. The Raiders could not get into the end-zone at all in the game and lost 28-0.

I’m not sure what kind of a setback the team will face after Sunday’s loss or how they will come back when they play again, but this game had to hurt. After a decade of not being able to win, they finally seemed to be on track, only to be humiliated against a division foe who came into the game with a worse record than them. It didn’t matter that the Raiders actually played pretty good on the defensive side of the ball and that it was the interceptions that made the difference in the game. They lost. You come out with a ‘W’ or an ‘L.’ That is how it works in football. It is also how it works in life.

I can say, in my personal life, I feel very much the way the Raiders probably do. After many years of feeling like a failure  in various aspects of my life, I feel like in the last couple of years I have really started to grow up. I felt like I could put a few ‘W’s’ on the board and move away from the past that has haunted me. Everything seemed to be moving in the right direction. I was holding a winning record for once, but then I recently ran into my division foe. Interception after interception has kept me from reaching a score. I feel like I did when I was watching the Raiders play Sunday. I know that I may lose this game, but I would like to see a touchdown, a field goal, a saftey, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to put something on the board to maintain some respectability. That did not happen for the Raiders Sunday, it may not happen for me.

I’m sure many of my readers are aware that I recently lost a job I loved having. I was proud of that job but in the end, that job wasn’t proud of me. Interception. Just when you think you are on track and you are ready to score, someone steals the ball. I have been working to give my kids a better future. They deserve the very best. I want to provide them with a good home a healthy family life, and the best that can be offered. I feel like I have been intercepted. The older they get, the more I realize they may never know what it is to be a part of a real family…  In school, I have maintained straight A’s in all of my classes. It was my goal to continue that, but I was intercepted. I was doing so good, but when I scored 88 points in one of my classes at the end of my last term, that goal was ripped away from me like the Chiefs ripped it out of mid air from the Raiders… I finally found someone in my life who I cared about deeply and was given the same in return. I had finally grown up. Everything else was immature. Now I was ready to love real. I was ready to be loved. It’s time to put some points on the board, but wait, just when I throw a pass into the air, Interception. It wasn’t meant to be. Doesn’t matter how bad you want something, if that dream is intercepted, you lose possession. It’s just not my turn anymore. I’ve thrown plenty of interceptions recently, that I wish I could have back, but we can’t turn back time. We can only wait for our next chance. I’ve done that consistently. I have held on for another set of downs. I’ve waited to have another chance, only to throw another interception. Suddenly, I know why I like the Raiders so much, They are who I am. After so many turnovers and no score on the board, I feel like I have lost this game.

It’s a good thing life isn’t played in a single game. This week the Raiders have a bye week and will have some time to prepare for their next game. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a bye week, but I could sure use some rest. My heart hurts, both literally and figuratively and rest may be needed to prepare for future games. Why still play? Because I know that while I’m here, I can always suit up again and keep taking the field with the intent to win. I don’t just want to score. I want to win – not just one game. I want it all. I want the championship. Maybe my interceptions have displaced me temporarily from the dreams and goals I have in life, but I can’t give up. There is a championship on the line. I want to win it. I need to win it. I deserve it. I’ve played hard. I’ve been focused. Maybe I’ve been a little unprepared at times, but I’ve been focused. Please, please, please.. let me win. I don’t want to lose anymore.

Walking Blindfolded…

There is a game people play (I’m really not sure if it has a name) where one person places a blindfold over their eyes and tries to navigate a course while their partner directions them on where to go.  The game teaches players to learn to listen and accept guidance.  When a player can successfully make it through the course without running into anything, they win.  The more this process is practiced, the better the players will become.

Sometimes I feel like I am navigating a course as well.  I feel like I’m walking blindly, waiting for instruction, but I hear no voice.  I walk alone.  At times, If I spread out my arms and feel around, I begin to think I can do this, I can make it, but then I walk straight into a wall.  I pick myself up and begin again, only to find myself in the same situation, hitting another wall.  This game seems unwinnable.  It seems unfair.  Sometimes I wonder if the people who are supposed to be shouting out direction to me are instead sitting back and laughing while they watch me fail.  But that can’t be true.  No one is there.

I know what you might be thinking.  I guess I should point out that I am not speaking of a higher being here.  I am simply speaking of that group of people who are close to you.  The ones who shape your life by being a part of it.  This is where I lack.  When I think about it, there are plenty of people who are friendly to me.  There are a lot of people who could shout out my directions to me.  But they are so far away.  No one is close.  Everyone is far.  Every once in a while a voice gets close enough for me to hear.  It tells me where to turn, when to stop and when to go.  It tells me where to go.  It guides me.  Then I can’t hear it anymore, and I walk into the same wall again.

So I sit here, knelt down on the floor, my head dropped in despair.  Why do I keep hitting this wall?  Why can’t I find my way out of this maze?  I want to remove my blindfold, but even if I do, I have already accepted the hard truth.  I wasn’t meant to do this alone.  There were supposed to be voices guiding me.  Every wall I hit I fall down again and cry out, “Where is that voice?  Where is the voice that is supposed to guide me?”  This game is unwinnable when played alone.  Some people can’t solve the puzzle . . . they just become a part of it.  They stay in the maze.  They get lost in the game.

I don’t want this to be my fate.  If I have to hit this wall so many times I bust a hole through it, then so be it.  I don’t want to be here.  I want to get past this.  I want to win.  Sometimes the only voice of reason we hear is our own.  I can’t see where I’m going but I can remember which way not to go.  It hurts to do this alone, but I want to make it through.  I will finish this game.