Saint-ly Lessons

When I started this blog two years ago I had lofty aspirations. I believed I would publish regularly, provide insightful content, and move towards a bigger platform.

I've done none of that.

I wanted this blog to be an expression of things I’ve learned as a cancer survivor, a hospice nurse and a mother.

Unfortunately I fear my subject matter, my passion topics, have become redundant. Add to that my aversion to offend anyone, I may be stale and boring.

Well, HOPEspotters, hang in..please. Because here I go, again!

I love NFL football. I grew up loving my family time surrounding NFL games. As an adult I’ve become an avid and passionate fan. To be honest, I don’t totally understand people that don’t follow football, but I don’t want them to quit reading- yet.

This past weekend was the NFL Conference Championships. NFC featured New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams and AFC featured Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots.

Both home teams lost. Rams beat Saints. Pats beat Chiefs.

Winners go to Super Bowl and losers painfully go home. At this stage of the season, stakes are high and outcomes matter.

Just like life.

The NFC Championship game, featuring the New Orleans Saints v. Los Angeles Rams had a highly controversial “non” penalty call. The pass interference committed by Nickell Robey- Coleman (Rams) against Tommie Lee Lewis(Saints) has been replayed over, and over, and OVER again.

The officials blew the call. Coleman committed pass interference. No one disputes that now.

For the non football followers, that game went into overtime and following an interception thrown by Drew Brees, the Los Angeles Rams capitalized on the opportunity and won the game.

The Rams victory was much to the dismay of the New Orleans fans.  These same Saints fans already suffered a last minute loss in the 2017 playoffs. These same Saints fans really love their team and struggled to comprehend the impact of the infamous missed call.

Losing hurts.

This particular loss has created a chaos of “UNFAIR” cries because of the missed call at a crucial moment. The New Orleans Saints fans have screamed with an unprecedented noise that has included billboards, law suits, boycotts and everything angry.  They are, understandably PISSED. But I am going to stick my neck out and say that there is a purpose in this.

I love so many things about sports. The thrill of victory. The overcoming of adversity. Underdogs. Hard work. Team work. So many life lessons.

Sports gives us the fantastic and attractive opportunity to exercise our necessary life muscles. The ones that help us overcome adversity. Manage disappointment. Support our team. Work hard and accept outcomes.

From the beginning of civilization, man has used sport to demonstrate superiority and mastery. But for every winner there is a loser. Historically there have always been close calls, disputed calls, perceived lack of fairness and outcomes that should have turned out otherwise.

Evidence: David. V. Goliath.

Sports friends, to be clear, I have cried the unfair cry more times than I care to remember. When I was 11 I was on a championship winning swim relay team that never got to claim gold in the final meet because of weather. When I was 14 I showed up at swim practice EVERY DAY only to be defeated regularly by a teammate with more god given size and talent.

And, please. As an adult .. a devout Atlanta Falcons fan, please don’t 28-3 me.

New Orleans, and NFL fans at large, I beseech you to remember an important and age old tenant: Life is not fair.

Life. Is. NOT. Fair.

Should it be? Sure, I guess. But it isn’t and sports is the thing that is supposed to help us PREPARE for the unfair curve balls, not cry over them excessively.

How not fair is life? I invite you to visit an infusion center at any major hospital. Please poll the cancer patients in the chairs and ask them about universal justice.

Still not convinced? Spend some time in a NICU- observe babies fighting for life because they were born too soon or battling conditions unfairly placed upon them.

Natural disasters? Not fair. Mass shootings? Hella unfair.

You want to entertain me? Sit me down with an “SC Featured” and talk to me about Eric Berry, James Connor or other athletes who know UNFAIR and came back anyway.

We can be good, try hard, do right and still get bitch slapped with a “I did NOT see THAT coming” sided with a “It is NOT supposed to be THAT way”.

Listen, I am keenly aware that my personal and professional experience may seem to set that ‘perspective’ bar unfairly high. And yet, aren’t I allowed to share my ‘perspective’ bar for the good of us all?

All of us are filled with so many passions and the world right now is angry with passions colliding. Sports are supposed to be fun passions but many of us pour all the the things we want from the world into our rooting interests.  And then when it doesn’t work out, minds are literally BLOWN.

I can imagine a few New Orleans fans I know that may read this and feel awfully salty at my suggestion that embracing the unfairness of life, as bitter as that can be, is actually the best way forward. I’ve personally spent years crying and screaming and beating my head against the brick wall in the chapel of the “life is unfair” church.

It hasn’t gotten me anywhere. If we count up and redistribute all the unfair and missed calls put out in the world, each of us would hide in a corner and pray that we only were delivered what we already had.

Fighting unfair is a losing battle.

Redirection and ultimate victory are the only remedy.

How did I learn that?

Sports. And Life.

But really a lot of sports.

“It is your response to winning or losing that makes you a winner or a loser.”