This weekend’s football action finally gave me an appreciation of how my parents felt one Christmas.
The table was set with the best china and special friends had been invited. I wanted to be a magician. I tried my hand at pulling the tablecloth from underneath the saucers, plates, and glasses to impress my parents. Instead, they watched in horror as most of their china broke into pieces.
Too many of those I’d invited to New Year’s bowl games saw dreams smashed on the floor this weekend. Until then, I never understood my mom, dad and sister asking each other if they had another broken piece.
“I have a shard of Trojan. Anyone else?”
“No, but I have a Gator.”
"Look for a Bulldog for me.”
“I think I have one. No, it’s a Badger.”
“All I’ve seen of a Pirate are small bits.”
Some china survived unscathed.
“Look, here’s a whole Nittany Lion!”
“I’ve got an entire Sooner!”
“I had forgotten to put out the (Missouri) Tiger.”
“The Tide fell on the Bulldog, smashing it, but managed to stay intact!”
I understand how they felt back then, but my instinct is the same now as then—move on. I got down new place settings—two Tigers, the Tide, a Longhorn, a Cougar—to make some seemingly mismatched sets.
After some frustrating moments, my family swept up the remnants and followed my lead in time to welcome our guests. The more you looked at the new settings, the more they grew on you. The new sets looked stronger.
“Dad, there’s a fat man on the front yard. Is it Santa Claus?”
“No, that’s Charlie from Notre Dame. He’s invited next year. He wasn’t the magician who taught you that trick, was he?”
While I can appreciate Mom and Dad’s feelings now, with football, the china can come crashing again next week—or, like a Phoenix, be reborn.
As Bear Bryant once said, "Losing doesn't make me want to quit. It makes me want to fight that much harder."
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