Wednesday, February 09, 2011

give it a thumbs up

as i was looking at my camera to see what pictures i have on there that i haven't posted yet, i came across these from sunday's super bowl.  i have sort of blocked most of that day out of my mind, as much as possible anyway, so i forgot about these. 

but just look at that kid up there.  what a cutie.  wearing his worn out troy polamalu jersey.  with smilin' hines in the background.  giving us the "thumbs up!"  and it reminds me that the joy isn't just in the final outcome, but in the journey. 

i mean, we know that to be true in our lives, right?  it's like when i used to collect baseball cards.  in 1987 i would save up my money into little 40-cent increments so i could make the trek through my backyard, along the creek, up the hill and past the car dealership to the mini-mart to buy a pack of topps baseball cards.  i thought i wanted certain players.  i think i was really interested in rickey henderson, nolan ryan, don mattingly, and especially anyone with a pirate or an interlocking NY on their uniform.  but as i think back to that time, i don't really remember being satisfied with a piece of cardboard with a semi-blurry picture of nolan ryan about to deliver a fastball.  i don't remember that at some point i looked at my whole collection and said, "Yes.  Now i have finally accomplished it.  I am now completely satisfied." 


what i do remember is the joy i had in collecting those cards.  the joy of the independence of an 11-year old boy walking to the mini-mart.  the joy of being able to buy a pack - or five - of baseball cards.  the joy of putting my sweaty coins down on the counter and making my own decisions.  the joy of stepping outside those heavy glass doors and ripping off that waxy paper like a golden ticket might be inside.  the joy of shoving five sticks of stale pink gum into my mouth at once.  the joy of flipping through those cards right there on the sidewalk, just to see who i got.  the joy of studying the backs of those cards, so that i could tell you how many stolen bases rickey henderson had for the previous 5 years. 

you see, i don't remember some destination or pinnacle.  i remember the journey

and what is true of baseball card collecting - at least for me - is true for steelers football, too. 

no, we didn't reach the ultimate ending, the utmost destination.  we fell just short.  i didn't get to go to pittsburgh for a victory parade.  but it's not just about the destination.  it's about the journey. 

and it was an awesome journey.  it was a good year of sharing my fanaticism with my family, of cheering on the black and gold.  it was full of adversity and challenges and hurdles and difficulties and crushing defeats.  it was a season of hope and disappointment, of achievement and failure, of glory and agony.  it was a great journey, and that is where the joy is. 

and what is true of steelers football - at least for me - is also true of life.

we all need to stop worrying so much about where we are going or where we want to be "in 5 to 10 years."  we need to stop thinking that we'll be happier when we get the next vacation or the next part of our collection, or when we upgrade to the iphone.  we need to release our death grip on our obsession with the destination, and trade it for a joy in the journey.  we need to stop and take a look around right now, because these are the days to remember!  right here, right now.  this is life.  this is what it's all about.  this is the place of joy and hope and everything you've ever hoped for.  it's all right here.  so pay attention.  enjoy it.  give it a huge "thumbs up!"  cock your head to the side and give it a silly grin.  it may be blurry.  it may be only cardboard and stale gum.  it might not have a storybook ending.  but it's not the ending that matters: it's the journey. 

enjoy it.


Emoly said...

I had (maybe still have???) a Nolan Ryan baseball card. I actually have quite a large stash of baseball cards, for a girl. Maybe. I don't know. I only know that I always compared my cards with what the other boys had...

on a side note: your journey is treating you well, you look great!! (and no, you didn't look bad before, but happiness is radiating from you in your picture with Jack and Cade.)

Greg C. said...

As always, my friend, well said.

greg. said...

@emily: thanks! it probably helps that i've lost double-digit poundage since january 1.

@greg: thanks, bro. i miss you.