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.
There’s an old Russian folk tale about a farmer who goes to the village wise man complaining his house is too small for his wife and their 10 children. The wise man tells him to invite his in-laws to move in, and to bring his farm animals into the house as well. The farmer complies, and returns promptly the next day, informing the wise man that his problems are even worse. The wise man then instructs the farmer to send away his in-laws, and put the animals back outside. Again, the farmer returns, and marvels to the wise man how spacious and clean his house is now.
If you’ve ever worked at a newspaper (and during your time at that newspaper you’ve ever worked on a Progress Edition) you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The advent of social media has revolutionized not only how we document our lives, but how we live them. Look around. It’s not uncommon now for many of us to fill Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds with our everyday comings and goings.
Granted, I’m the last one to suggest all-out social media abstinence. Those of you who have me on your “Friends” list know I’m a regular purveyor of 140-character Twitter witticisms, artsy-filtered Instagram photos, and the occasional ideological debate on Facebook. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing, way too much of a mediocre thing, or diabolically too much of a trivial thing.
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.