It’s such a stupid, silly thing really. Whole towns losing their collective minds over a damn game played by children. I can’t defend it to skeptics, it’s not rational. I am all too aware of its abuses, especially on rainy mornings when my ankles creak and sing of forgotten glories. Driving home late from another … Continue reading Now, it begins again… (Friday Night Lights)
I woke up this morning and didn’t feel any older, but according to the calendar, I’m now 38 years old — which is weird, just yesterday I was 37. But now I’m 38, another year closer to 40. This is supposed to upset me, but it really doesn’t. As I’ve said previously: I think I’m going to get better as I get older.
I was born July 12, 1976. Saturday marks my 38th birthday. Turning 38 is one of those deceptively innocuous birthdays. Because there’s not social standing or stigma associated with it, one tends to overlook its significance.
Men, I hate to break it to you, but your fate is sealed. Yeah, the experts all agree: the 2014 Overton Mustangs will finish “next to last” in District 11-2A competition and thus will be unable to reach the playoffs. It’s written down somewhere, so it must be true… right? Surely these people know what they’re talking about. C’mon, if Dave Campbell’s Texas Football and TheOldCoach.com’s Friday Night Football say it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. Right? Obviously they’ve done the research and looked at all the evidence to come to an objective outlook on the coming year.
It all goes so fast. Saturday is the first day of summer, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
Where we live, here at the 32nd parallel in Texas, the sun rose at 6:13 a.m. and set at 8:29 p.m. There was close to 16 hours of daylight Saturday. Sunday the day shortens by at least ten seconds, which means little by little the daylight hours will dwindle. Saturday marks the first “official” day of summer — the first day of the astronomical summer — when the sun’s apparent position is at its farthest point north from the equator.
I’ll never forget the first time I was in a real race, on a track with a starting line and real ribbons and everything. It was my elementary school’s field day, near the end of the academic term. There was even a cap gun used as a starting pistol (hard to imagine in our gun-paranoid modern era), and when it was fired, I was off. In only a few steps I was well ahead of the pack and gaining speed.
Looking back at how far back everyone else was, I was amazed at how well I was doing. Surely fame and glory and innumerate riches were mine for the taking (or at least one of those coveted blue ribbons). It was then that I realized this was a 400-meter race — an entire lap around the track — and I was already getting quite tired. Uh oh. Gradually the pack caught up with, and then passed me. Instead of a blue ribbon, I got a purple one that says “participant.” I still have it, because I learned an important lesson that day: life is a marathon, not a sprint.
I’ve never run a marathon, but one thing I know for sure is that it isn’t wise to break yourself right at the start. If you don’t pace yourself, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s good advice whether you’re pushing 40, or moving a tassel across your mortarboard. Relax, the race is long. Writing to you as someone who’s well into the race, I’d offer a few words to you, the Class of 2014.
Does anyone else feel like the world has become a very insane place? Looking at the things we debate about — considering the public policy our government pursues and thinking about the way we live our lives — it seems common sense is harder to find than fly shit in a pepper shaker.
I used to think common sense was just the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18 — the lessons learned from a childhood spent learning by trial and error. Actions speak louder than words. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Practice makes perfect. Don’t whittle toward yourself, or attempt to urinate against the wind. These are just a few of the homespun cliches that illustrate the virtues of plain, pragmatic dealing in thought and deed.