Fast Forward


Most sports fans in Houston have shamelessly boarded the NFL’s Texans bandwagon.  Those of us that pledge our loyalties to other teams for most of the season (mine goes to the Greenbay Packers for a lot of reasons) have allowed the local team a little love.


And, wow, they took us by storm with a run of 7 wins in a row with a team that’s had more than it’s share of setbacks.  The Texans lost, over the course of the season, the starting quarterback, the backup quarterback, a first round draft pick from several years ago that was one of the best defensive players in the league, a great receiver, and on and on.


A week or so ago, this year’s new defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, fresh from being released from the Dallas Cowboys head coaching spot last season, alerted the media that he would be absent for a couple of weeks and would be having surgery immediately.  Wade Phillips took the Texans defense to the top spot in the entire NFL.


A radio host on one of the local AM sports talk shows said, “If there is a God, He hates the Texans.”  Do I really have to explain how put off I am by this???  I actually called them to protest their idiotic banter.  Deaf ears, I’m sure.


At the beginning of the season, the Texans had great promise. Even before scheduled games began, there was talk of a long-awaited, first ever playoff appearance.  This kind of gab always amuses me before a single ball has been snapped because it discounts the unknown – namely the untimely injuries that no one can predict.


Ask the Indianapolis Colts how they felt about suddenly losing their starting QB, Peyton Manning.  Hasn’t been such a good season in Indy.


But Thursday night, the home team Texans played Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis against the one-win Colts with every expectation of winning against the Manning-less ponies.  Even with our third string QB and our injury-laden lineup, everyone in Houston expected to come away with a win.


We had been invited to some friend’s house for dinner that night, so I fired up the DVR.  Man, it doesn’t seem so long ago we put in tape cartridges the size of a classic Dickens novel, set the timer, crossed our fingers and hoped the clock was set to PM and not AM.


When we got home around 10, I thought I’d watch the game.


Beautiful, right?  Fire right through the commercials and  . . . sweet!  Heck, I even hit the 30-second advance button right after a play was blown dead.  Play after play after play uninterrupted with little to no inane color commentary from the NFL Network wannabes.


The fact that the Texans lost in the last seconds of the game made for a not so merry off-to-bed time.


I woke up this morning with a few items on the plate with Christmas day right around the corner.  But while I was off in the yard doing some cleanup, I thought about the football game last night and how I watched it . . . flying past all the incidental seconds that filled the spaces between the good stuff.


And the thought of it left me a little, well . . . flat.


Sure, I got to focus on the highlights or, in this case, the low.  But I missed the threads that lead up to the good stuff, the fabric that makes a competition so entertaining.  I missed the anticipation of the next move.  There wasn’t time for imagination or for armchair quarterbacking strategy.  It was just action without a huddle.


There are times we’re led to believe that life is all action (at least, everyone else’s).


If you’ve been to a movie lately and paid attention, or tried to pay attention to the previews and trailers, you’re know that moviemakers have determined that our span of attention is, oh, about 3 seconds before we need to be slapped around by a new scene or story line.  Action and more action!


And so, when our lives follow a path that’s a more ordinary or mundane, we think, “What’s wrong with me?  Why is my life so boring?”  It’s not.


It’s life as it really is.  Exhilarating, hair-raising adventures, waves crashing and thunder bolts that last for a few minutes or, at best a few hours, then gather back into a calm, sometimes sleepy, pool of reality.  And sometimes the reality pool can stay still for a long time.


Watching a game on the DVR doesn’t give you much perspective.  There is no “between the lines stuff” and the highlights all run together.  It takes some of the fun out of it and denies you the bigger picture.


Everything takes on a different look when we have perspective and when we breathe deep while we’re waiting for life to unfold.


Ever notice that when you get stressed or in a tense situation, one of the first reactions is to, pretty much, stop breathing.  At best, the breathing gets really shallow.  Breathing deep between the big stuff makes the tension and apprehension that usually comes with anticipation of the next big thing more tolerable.


I heard a great line in a movie preview a couple of weeks back.  I don’t remember the film, just the line.


“It will all be OK in the end. And if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”


God is not done yet.    Merry Christmas!


Wayne Watson  Dec 23, 2011