Quick insight; I’m originally from Buffalo, NY. Basically what that means is I’ve lived my entire life rooting for the underdog. Despite having witnessed some horrible defeats, I’ve also witnessed some remarkable comebacks and moments when I’ve seen my teams overcome enormous adversity. Either way, throughout my life, I’ve often related quite directly to both the Bills and Sabres. (There’s a point to this so hang with me).
Yesterday was a good example. The Bills were playing Minnesota and shot themselves in the foot no fewer than ten times including four turnovers, a couple of which directly cost them points. They kept making mistakes, digging a progressively deeper hole. Each time they’d start to gain momentum, they’d make another mistake. And all you could do was sit there and acknowledge you’d been watching this for over forty years.
Yet, despite the multiple debacles, with just over two minutes left in the game, they found themselves only down by six points; eighty yards away from a winning score. Despite having lost their two top running backs to injury earlier in the game, they started their drive. A fourth down and twenty yards to go appeared to be the typical insurmountable hurdle that symbolized the past decade. Amazingly they got twenty four yards and continued. Then a third down and twelve completion. And with one second left on the clock, a two yard scoring strike that led to the go ahead extra point; capping an unlikely come from behind victory.
As a divorced dad, we’ve all fumbled. We’ve entered the day without a proper game plan. Failed to make proper adjustments at half-time. We’ve squandered leads. Mismanaged the clock and run the wrong routes. We’ve battled the referees and been flagged for illegal procedure, unsportsmanlike conduct, offsides, intentional grounding and a plethora of other penalties. Some flags warranted, others not so much. We’ve been blind sided and sacked more times than we’d like to remember. And yet, somehow we’ve managed to stay in the game.
As a Buffalo Bills fan, I’ve watched my team be demoralized more often than nought. So what impressed me about yesterday’s victory was the resilience displayed by the team at the end of the game. Nobody whined. Nobody quit. Nobody pointed fingers. They simply acknowledged and moved on. They put the mistakes behind them and gave it everything they had.
Let me ask you something. How many times have you faced a fourth down and twenty yards to go? Maybe it was needing to be in an important meeting that was scheduled at the same time as your daughter’s softball game across town which was at the same time as your son’s soccer match on the OTHER side of town. Perhaps it was searching the aisles for a specific toy at 11 p.m on Christmas Eve. Or recognizing you’re out of peanut butter while you’re making lunches just as your daughter comes downstairs looking for a specific pair of jeans you know are in the washing machine, all five minutes before the bus is supposed to pull up. Maybe you had to figure out how to pay for an air conditioning unit that just died unexpectedly at a time when your bank account is running on fumes. And of course, in the huddle we’ve all had a time when we heard one play, but your ex heard a different one and then proceeded to run a post pattern when you were expecting them to cut across the middle leaving you holding the ball with nobody open and three hungry kids coming at you completely unblocked.
It may sound stupid, but I could relate to yesterday’s game. I’ve looked down the field wondering how in the hell I’m going to get the team to the other end in time. Especially when the entire game has been filled with one debacle after another. When you’ve turned the ball over multiple times, been sacked six times and hurried the entire game it can be tough finding the inner strength to hang in there. You find yourself just waiting to be blindsided convinced it’s just not your day. Just seeing someone stand up, acknowledge the mess and then shrug it off and make the plays necessary to be victorious was inspiring. For some reason, just seeing someone else muster up the strength to persevere, regardless of the circumstances, made me think perhaps my season isn’t quite over just yet. For some reason, after seeing how this game turned out, I entered the week believing I could score a touchdown even when facing a fourth down and twenty yards to go.