Football Wisdom Applied To Last Night’s Election

My wife describes how she feels this morning — “sucker punched. That sick to your stomach feeling you get when something awful has happened and you wonder if some of it is your fault.”

And when I told her that although in a much more major way this morning reminded me of how I felt the morning after Bill Clinton lost to Frank White in 1980, she reminded me of several other times in our lives which were much more difficult to stomach. I won’t bore you with what they were, but that’s life for us all — we all have moments of immense joy and moments of unconsolable sorrow.

So like I often do I try to come up with a few lessons I learned playing football to get me past last night’s punch to the gut.

The first lesson that comes to mind was taught me by my dear friend, William Ketcher. After one of our few losses, we dragged ourselves back to the football dorm battered and bruised. All of a sudden William’s stereo  was turned up to full volume to the music of the Four Tops and William shouted down the halls, “What the hell guys, ITS STILL SATURDAY NIGHT!!!!”

It’s already Wednesday morning, the sky is blue, the weather calls me outside, and I am alive and writing novels. It is easy to be grateful during good times, today is not one of those times for me, but I am still grateful and thankful.

The second lesson that comes to mind come from the words of Coach Wilson Matthews known to all Arkansas Razorbacks of the time as simply “The Man.” No one talked back to “the man” and when he spoke, or more often yelled, you listened. Whenever you got knocked to the ground he told you to “hit the ground running” meaning you got right back up no matter what the blow and got back in the game fighting against injustice and tyranny.

The issues that face our country haven’t gone away simply because we have a new President, and each of us have an obligation to hit the ground running and get right back in the game.

Finally, any athlete knows you learn more from your losses than your victories. Winning disguises a lot of flaws and weaknesses. Losses expose them all, even a few you didn’t know you have. Every loss gives an open minded person to learn and in the words of Coach Frank Broyles to “get bettah.”

It is hard for me to say this today, and nothing has to be done today, but when the time is right we need to say, “put me back in the game, coach.”

Don’t Be Sad It’s Over, Be Glad It Happened — Vin Scully




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