Monday, December 31, 2012

Life Lessons from the Redskins

The city of Washington, DC and the surrounding metropolitan area are electric today!  We’ve been rocking since our big win over Dallas last night!! This was HUGE! Not only did we beat our arch-rival in a do or die game, we became NFC East Champions and secured a spot in the playoffs! We haven’t had such success since 1999. The year may turn to 2013 tomorrow, but for now, we are partying like it’s 1999!!

I am very tired today.  As Faith Hill sings, “I waited all day for Sunday night”.  Sunday, I was anxious, excited, and nervous for this big game.  It was as if I was awaiting the arrival of my first child.  I watched Chicago beat Detroit and got nervous. Then I watched Minnesota beat the Packers and said “Well, it wouldn’t have mattered if Detroit beat Chicago. We still have to win this game!”  I tore off the tags of my new RG III jersey and settled in to watch the big showdown.  I cheered so loud that I am positive Dude could hear me all the way up in heaven!  I was nervous and excited the whole time.  I stayed up for every minute of the game and watched all of the postgame coverage before finally drifting off to sleep around 1:30am.  Filled with excitement and a heart full of joy, I slept in my jersey.  Four hours later, I was back up at 5:30am for work.  

You might remember this post.  I was frustrated because when the Redskins drafted RG III the city was full of hope and expectation.  Then at the beginning of November, we were 3-6 with a coach who had seemingly given up and dashed playoffs hopes.  Just two months later, we are in the playoffs for the first time in 5 years and NFC East Champions for the first time in 13 years!  During all of the postgame coverage, Shanahan’s comments and our dismal record came up again and again.  Each player interviewed was asked the same two questions: what changed and how did you do it?  Over and over, they repeated the same message: we  took it one game at a time and believed in ourselves.  We prepared and came out to play.  It was patience and belief in themselves that moved them forward.

From the day Dude died, I’ve been encouraged to take it one day at a time.  I’ve explained how difficult this is for me.  I like to think months even years ahead, but grief has not allowed me to do that.  Grief has forced me to take it one day at a time.  When I suspend the belief that it is annoying to be forced to live this way and I just embrace the fact that all I am guaranteed is today, I live more freely and with more appreciation.  I am not always good at remembering this, but Mike’s mom is a champ at reminding me of it.

“One day at a time”, she says. “Just one day at a time."

The Redskins took it one game at a time and currently have a seven game winning streak!

Grief can also steal your self esteem.  Not only did I lose my very best friend, I lost my biggest fan.  For the last eight months, another repetitive message to me has been
“Yes, this is a huge loss, but your life is not over. You are still here, still young, and have a lot to offer”.
At first, this message just bounced off of me and was almost paralyzing.  How was I supposed to move forward?  How would I ever adjust to this?  How would I ever explain this to someone else?  Some people said to not bring it up.  I can’t do that.  Dude was such a huge part of me and this experience is now a part of who I am that to not explain it to the right person at the right time would be a denial of half my life and a huge part of myself.  I trust God to bring me the right person at the right time.  However, I will not get there if I don’t believe that I can.  The Redskins played injured, beat up, and when everyone counted them out.  If they’d given in to those feelings and had given up, we wouldn’t be celebrating today.  But they believed and we cheer like maniacs!!  I may have lost my biggest cheerleader on earth, but I know he is cheering me on from above.  I also have lots of fans still with me, too.  Now, I just have to continue to work on believing in myself and things will turn around.

One of the rookie quarterbacks will probably win “Rookie of the Year”, but honestly, Alfred Morris should be a contender.  He was a 6th round draft pick with very low expectations and has been explosive on our offense!  When thinking about the LSAT and law school I feel like Alfred Morris.  I am pretty sure my LSAT score is not going to be good.  I might end up being a school’s “6th round pick”.  If someone is willing to give me a chance, I am confident I will be a firecracker and excel.

Tomorrow the calendar turns to a new year.  I entered 2012 with much hope and anticipation.  It turned out to be the worst year of my life.  I enter 2013 just as I felt all day yesterday – nervous, excited, scared, and anxious.  The good news is I have survived the worst year of my life.  The events of this year have instilled a physical, emotional and spiritual work ethic in me.  If I carry that work ethic into 2013, focusing on “one day at a time”, believing in myself, and trusting God, I think I’ll be OK.  I hope I can go from surviving to thriving, but at the very least, I know I can survive.

Hail to 2013!



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