Before I get to my point, I should give a little background to let you know where I’m coming from. Being that this is January and the NFL playoffs are happening, that means my lifelong NFL team is not playing. Of course, this was known before the calendar flipped to October.
That’s right, I am a Washington Redskin fan.
You know, the organization that, year-after-year, ratchets-up buffoonery to a whole other level.
When it comes to this team, the adage “there’s always next time” is simply not encouraging. In many ways it’s outright frightening. Certainly ludicrous.
Yep, I’m not buying it anymore.
Lately their team mascot’s namesake has come under intense scrutiny (mostly from ESPN and Bob Costas, for what that’s worth); with some saying it is degrading to a culture. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. To many of us in Washington, we’re more offended by the organization’s culture.
This team has no one to blame except themselves. They continue to fail — organizationally — from the top, and it cascades down. They are every bit the laughing-stock. For kicks, I did some quick math to see how the owner, Daniel Synder, is performing since he took over the team in 1999. Turns out, he has a dismal winning percentage of just over 40%! Which means the Redskins, on average, finish a season record of 6 – 10. That’s worse than mediocre.
Granted, I don’t enjoy seeing them lose but when the clock winds down to zero I flip to the next game.
What’s my lesson in all this? Well, in the scheme of my life, it just doesn’t matter.
There was a time — some four decades — when it did. I’d mope around for a week after they lost a game. Now, I have no doubt that just 6 years ago I would’ve been mad as hell if the Redskins suffered the miserable officiating in the Lion – Cowboys game. Heck, the same could be said for the Steelers getting screwed. Anyone with a sense of fairness would feel likewise (or fortunate, if a Raven or Cowboy fan). It’s always tough to watch the officials (potentially) influence the outcome of a game. I promise you I know I would have hurled insults at the television; something to the tune of “Hey, refs, get off your knees… you’re blowing the game!“, which is one of my favorites.
It unnecessarily taints the victory.
Frankly, I really didn’t care much who won either of these games, but that’s no consolation for those who did. Unless you are a member of the team or had money riding on the game, perhaps what I’m about to share will help.
After Ryan’s attack I realized that NFL (and college) football had ZERO impact on my life. In fact, I distinctly remember West Virginia University football was playing on the ICU lobby television (I could see the stadium and hear the crowd from the same lobby), but it all seemed so trivial. All at once, what truly mattered came into crystal-clear focus.
On that Saturday afternoon I questioned how was I ever so foolish to let it control my attitude when there are bigger things in life?
That’s not to say that I’m not a football (and baseball… and basketball… and hockey) junkie that looks forward to watching the games, because I love it! It means I now watch games with a renewed sense of relative-value to my life.
Purely for the entertainment in the competition.
The Redskins aren’t going to change my past. They won’t impact my future. My life is unchanged whether they win or lose. Same for Ryan. The only parallel is…
There’s always next time… unless you’re the Redskins, that is.