March 7, 2010
leap of faith
The ball snaps and I rhythmically find the laces as I drop back, eyes downfield reading the free safety whose decision will trigger mine a split second after his. Before it even comes to that, though....crunch. Someone misses a block and I'm pummeled to the ground without even seeing it. The pile roles off and I immediately find the back side tackle who blew his block. Before I can lay into him, the offensive line coach intercedes (it's practice, not a game). "GET YOUR ASS BACK TO THE HUDDLE AND WORRY ABOUT THROWING THE BALL! I'll worry about correcting the missed block." Furious, I walked back to the huddle but that story comes back to me out of the recesses of my memory as if it were yesterday. That lesson learned applies as much as it did then as it does now. I guess now is the calm before the storm. Check that. It's the calm between the storms, plural. Everything is in motion. Tears have been shed. We each try to cope in own way as everyone waits on pins and needles. It's the huddle in between plays. You're waiting for the coach to pass on the next play, hoping that it's not a stupid one that you'll have audible and then get in trouble for second guessing him, but you'll still do it because you know you're right. I'm not sure waiting is the hardest part but it ain't easy. The next week isn't going to be either. Monday morning, my brother gets a CT scan of the head to see if anything is there, too. Meanwhile, I grab every scrap of data they have and head down to Houston to meet with the dean. We then call the oncologist and I don't know what happens next. I am acutely aware that in these trying times, everyone reaches a point where they have to let go and trust someone else. I had to trust that coach would make sure I wouldn't have a defensive end crawling up my back unseen. My brother, I suspect, trusted his doctor. At some point, I convinced him to let go and move that to someone else. So then that trust falls on my shoulders. I needed to find someone and someone fast. And that's not an easy thing to do. To ask someone to second guess someone they trusted. You take a known entity, and ask them to replace it with an unknown on your word. But then it's my turn to pass that burden onward. And that's hard for me given my background as a scientist, as a quarterback. I know when I'm right. But I also know when I'm completely blind and ignorant. And so on Monday, I turn over everything to someone who hopefully is exceptionally competent. I have nothing to go on other than someone's word with whom I interviewed for about 15 minutes (and didn't go well, incidently). A leap of faith in which one trusts that the steps leading to this decision were placed upon the right path. That you didn't miss the blitz that the defense has called. And in a lot of cases, I'm sure that doctors aren't ever 100% sure of the path (at least the honest ones). You make your best educated guess, really. You don't have time to wait. It's a race against a mass of cells that divides ruthlessly and which with no opposition, will in the end destroy itself and the life that it resides within. See why football is nearly a religion down here in Texas?