The Team – The United States of America

As I was watching the Kansas City Chiefs pull out a win against the Cleveland Browns by none other than a Michigan man, quarterback, Chad Henne in for the concussed quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, I wrote a piece for this blog I had intended to post today. I tend to allow whatever I write to marinate overnight and edit the next day. What you are about to read is not what I had written yesterday or edited throughout the night.

My three words to live by in 2021, mindfulness, creativity and discernment are becoming a more integral part of my life. I now see it more clearly in what I had written yesterday, which is why the piece is not ready for publication and may never be published at all.

Instead I have written about my love of football because football is an analogy for life. We do not go through life without the help of other people. Our goal, no pun intended, is to try to score in happiness and or in monetary wealth and for some people that means the same thing. Other people consider their final score reflecting a life well lived. In the game of football as in the game of life there will be penalties and fines, injuries which may be career-ending, unbelievable plays of skill and fortitude, and field goals that doink the uprights for missed points that ultimately could decide the game. There are winners, losers, with games sometimes going into over-time. At some point, the tie is broken out of skill or fatigue.

Far be it for me to tell anyone how to live their life or challenge their notion of a life well-lived. I am still trying to figure that one out myself, which is why I am allowing what I had written yesterday to marinate a little longer. Now I will be the first to admit that cooking is not my forte’. Food can marinate too long, spoil or go out of date. My husband, Vinny Sal and I have had many discussions on the expiration date on foodstuffs. Even that topic seems to be one for debate which brings me back to football.

When to throw the red flag?

There are rules on what plays a coach can throw the red flag and plays that are reviewable by the referees. While the referee may determine if that play stands does not mean the opposing side accepts the outcome and moves on gracefully.

The outcome of the game is going to disappoint one set of fans and there may even be a few couch burnings, overturned cars, businesses with smashed out the windows as the disgruntled fans riot in their team’s hometown because of the loss. (This outrageous display by fandom is unsportsperson-like, plain and simple not to mention criminal behavior.) While other disappointed fans may simply go home knowing that their team played their hearts out and next season gives their team another opportunity to make the playoffs and perhaps even win the national title or the Super Bowl.

A Team Player

As a Detroit Lions fan, I know all too well all the above with penalties, fines, favorite players exiting the game of football by career-ending injuries or before this fan was ready for them to retire from the game I love. I fully remember the infamous touchdown that was not because Megatron did not ‘complete the process’ of catching the football. Time and time again the referees seemed to be paid off by the opposing team. Each year the diehard Lions fan like myself dreams of our team’s chance in the playoffs. The Detroit Lions have never won a Super Bowl.

This year the Detroit Lions once again will hire yet another general manager and a head football coach. We are left wondering about our quarterback, Matthew Stafford’s future with the team, the free agencies, and if this new regime can wisely pick the next rising star in the NFL draft who will take us into the playoffs, dare we dream even to a Super Bowl?

Much has been written about the Ford family ownership of the team; however, I will abide by the late great University Michigan football coach, Bo Schembechler:

“We want the Big Ten championship and we’re gonna win it as a Team. They can throw out all those great backs, and great quarterbacks, and great defensive players, throughout the country and in this conference, but there’s gonna be one Team that’s gonna play solely as a Team.

No man is more important than The Team. No coach is more important than The Team. The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team? Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here.

You will never play for a Team again. You’ll play for a contract. You’ll play for this. You’ll play for that. You’ll play for everything except the team and think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team. We’re gonna win it. We’re gonna win the championship again because we’re gonna play as team, better than anybody else in this conference, we’re gonna play together as a team.

We’re gonna believe in each other, we’re not gonna criticize each other, we’re not gonna talk about each other, we’re gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it’s gonna be Michigan again, Michigan.”

Can Jim Harbaugh bring back the Bo era? Michigan fans like myself all thought he could when he arrived back home six years ago. Who could have predicted such a dismal result and still be awarded a contract extension? But I still believe in the team, the team, the team.

So, what am I trying to say here?

This week we will inaugurate a new president and vice-president of the United States of America. Whether you voted for or believe in the new regime or not, I hope you will take the last paragraph of Bo’s quote to heart and insert “…it’s gonna be USA again, USA.” As Americans we are all on the same team, the United States of America. Let’s work together!

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