December 5, 2016

We Are Winners

I’m not big into sports. I don’t really like to play them and I could careless about watching them. Sure, I’ll follow an interesting story or look in to the games of a World Series so I am in the loop. I’m always down to watch the last two minutes of an NBA game seven when everything is on the line, but usually during regular season play, I could careless about most sports or teams.

Except for one sport- NFL football and one team- The Oakland Raiders. And for most of my life they have been terrible. Losers. So watching them usually just meant frustration, sadness and disappointment. But for reasons I have written about before, they were my team and I supported them and the game I love. There is nothing like American Football. It is a thing of beauty. Calculated, graceful and barbarically chaotic, it is the sport for me.

For the last fourteen years or so, I would check in on, uninterested, but bound by duty to see how badly the Raiders lost on any given week. I rarely knew their players and had lost touch with who they were. All I knew was that year after they year they were terrible and had become some kind of laughing stock of the league.

But this year things are different. I have watched four games from start to finish. I can name at least six players on both sides of the ball and get crazy excited when our small secondary back Jalen Richard runs for fifty plus yards in our tenth win of the season.

Not only are the 2016 Raiders winning. They are good. And not only are they good, but everyone knows it and is talking about what a breath of fresh air this team is. They are young but determined. They play smart and hard and with flair. They are poised and do not lose hope when they fall behind. They can run the ball and pass the ball and their defense, behind Kalil Mack is coming to life. They are in first place in the AFC and they are humble.

I cannot put into words how happy it makes me to watch them win, read the articles talking about how great they are, watch post game conferences where they mention that they are just trying to “stack up enough wins” to get a good spot in the playoffs.

As every Raider fan knows, there is the expected let down. The downturn where even a decent season ends in a series of losses or a blow out in the playoffs, but this team is different. They just play well. Smart. Scripted. Good football. So while they might lose a few of the last tough games before the playoffs. Or worse they might get beaten by a team in the playoffs- this has already been a season of amazing football for this team.

Regardless of what happens for the rest of the year, I am looking forward to what we look like in the next few years. But, who are we kidding, everyone in Raider Nation knows that we are looking unbeatable right now. Massive O-line, two great backs, a gaggle of big play-maker receivers, a clutch tight end, a secondary that is finally looking decent, a strong D-line and linebackers, the best kicker in the league, a punter who dances when flagged (with the flag) and the potential MVP and best quarterback in the league in only his third year.

This team is something special and I am looking forward to watching them throughout January and hopefully at the school Superbowl party when they beat the Cowboys! Just Win Baby!

Everybody I talked to at work, looked really worried about my foot. So much so that they are making me nervous. I checked in with the doctor today- wound is healing. Still split a bit at the bottom and bleeding a tiny bit. He hopes it will be waterproof and sealed in one week’s time. In the meantime, I still need a bandage and bag when I shower. He says to keep putting weight on it, so the muscle do not atrophy too much and make rehab difficult in the coming weeks. I am due back in three weeks for an X-Ray to see how the bone is healing.

So I went to school today and taught a class and got reacquainted with my kids. They were great. So many smiles and waves and welcome backs. I needed them and it felt good to be amongst kids.

By the end of the day I was in quite a bit of pain. My body wasn’t used to being up and about and it took a lot out of me. I came home and crashed for like 30 mins. The foot is swollen and throbbing, but I think that taking it easy the next few days, and knowing that I could take a day to rest, will be my plan. It’s the last nine days of school and I feel like I want to be there and finish things up with my peers and students.

Tomorrow will be my first full day and we are staying late for Kaia’s guitar recital, so I am a bit nervous, but one step at a time is all I can do.

This whole ordeal has got me thinking about not taking my body for granted. I need to have gratitude about the little things like walking around my classroom, or from the car park or to the canteen or down the hall….so often we assume that are bodies will always just do what they are meant to do, but nothing like a fractured bone to remind you to take it slow and appreciate how fragile it all is.

I am looking forward to walking again. To running. To skating, To swimming. To rolling around on the ground with my kids.

Take this moment to close your eyes and be thankful for your body in whatever shape it is in.

Oh....did I mention that the Raiders are 10-2!

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