I’m going to gripe about the same thing each time I watch a football game.
Jennifer knows this. She just smiles and lets me gripe.
Usually she chimes in to acknowledge she understands why I’m cursing the current stupid running back, wide receiver or kick returner.
“Straight ahead!” Jennifer repeats as though she’s my pigskin parrot. “Stick your head down and go forward!”
I don’t know if she does this because she agrees with me or because she wants me to feel I’m not alone.
This drives me crazy: Athletes on college scholarships or professional payrolls who don’t know any better than to stop. Stutter step. One way … and back. Again. Faking nobody out. Giving every defender ample time to close in and tackle him for a two- to three-yard loss.
Only a few of the truly gifted athletes – such as Walter Payton and Barry Sanders – had the grace and skills to consistently pull off this misdirection kind of juking around on the gridiron.
Bo Jackson is the player who epitomized the running style I wish other players would emulate. Using his size and momentum to overpower his defenders. Straight forward. Never stopping.
So why should I respond to my competition with MS any differently than what I expect of the football players I figuratively coach from my couch?
There are so many challenges that I, and so many others, face in living with MS:
With each day I could ignore any or all of these. Act like they’re not there. Try and fake them out. In the end all it would do is give MS ample time to sneak up and sack me for a loss in my quality of life.
I’m a firm believer in the adage that “the best offense is a good defense.”
I develop a daily game plan. For example, I know my hands are better for typing in the morning, so I do the bulk of my writing assignments at work before noon. Whenever possible I save my phone calls, editing, proofreading and scheduling until the afternoon.
But like any great coach, part of my game plan includes staying flexible to make “halftime” adjustments if MS brings an unexpected scheme to the playing field.
Just like there are quarters in football, innings in baseball, periods in hockey and halves in basketball games, there will be days when MS gets the best of me. But I know those only are for specified moments in time. My goal is to be ahead at the end of the game.
And I can’t do this trying to avoid the realities of living with MS. I move forward, thinking the same thing that I scream at the football players each game: “Straight ahead! Stick your head down and go!”