As Jackson, the battered quarterback sat in the locker room after his team was humiliated by the opposing team 55 to 3, the blood was trickling down his nose, and his arm felt like it weighed fifty pounds. He just sat there with his sullen face to the floor and his pride shaken. It was hard to face up to the fact that his glory days were over and the coach was thinking about starting Jones, his replacement.
The worst feeling a player can have is when his team is losing, and he is the main reason. He tries to right himself, but he can’t any longer. His decision making isn’t like it used to be, his health is fading, and his accuracy is no longer an asset. He has good receivers, but can’t get the ball to them.
As Coach O’Leary was approaching him while he was sitting on the chair in front of his locker, he knew what he was going to talk to him about. The coach tried to lift his spirits, but had a hard time doing it. “It’s too bad about the game. I can see you tried, but the guys around you didn’t help out enough. Don’t worry. Next game will be a lot better that this one was. By the way, I wonder if you could help us out with Jones, our backup quarterback at practice this week. Try to get him ready for next week. You would be a wonderful mentor, due to your past experience and skill. We need somebody like you to help us out. It would be greatly appreciated. If he doesn’t work out, you will still be our starting quarterback. Why don’t you drop by our house tonight for dinner, and we can talk about it. The kids will be so glad to see you.”
After dinner that night, as Jackson was driving home in his Lamborghini, he thought about ending his career. Football was his whole life, and if he didn’t have that, he would have nothing. Around the next bend in the road was a steep cliff that he could drive off and end it. When he approached it, he almost did, but he steered the car back onto the highway. Then he thought about being a coach. Since his playing days seemed to be over, he thought he would be a fine coach.
With Jones as the starter for the next game, the team finally won, thanks to his help in mentoring the new quarterback. Since he was such a great player in his glory days, he had a lot of knowledge to pass on to him. Once he had been a great player, he knew what it took to make somebody else a great player. He became a successful head coach in his latter years, because he finally realized he couldn’t play anymore. He was glad he didn’t drive off the cliff that night. He made a wise decision. As long as he had the mentality to become a success, he was a valuable asset to the game of football.
Suicide would have been the easy way out, but it was his self awareness that kept him alive.
I wrote this after seeing my NY Giants get clobbered by the Rams on Sunday Nov 5
51 to 17.
Nelson D Reyesover 3 years
You must remember the Redskins/Giants rivalry during Joe Gibbs era. It was a brutal, back breaking, football games of old! Golden days ‘Skins - Giants rivalry. Missed those Sundays. ‘Skins since Joe Gibbs migrated to NASCAR has never been, has not seen the likes of Sundays with Giants, Cowboys and Eagles. What an era.
Nelson D Reyesover 3 years
Glad I am in the company of hometown team fanatics. Hometown meaning the city where we spent the most of our prime time years, where we live and love everything local, the whole enchilada, warts and all. And continue to cheer the teams we love wherever we happened to be.
Vicover 3 years
@Nelson D Reyes: I root for only two football teams. The GIANTS of course, and ANYBODY playing the COWBOYS. LOL
I root for three New York teams - Yankees, Giants and Rangers. I couldn't care less about the Jets, Mets and Knicks. But the Yankees is really where my heart is. I used to follow them, reading Manila Times sports section as a young boy - never ever having seen a baseball game. But I admired how they were always on top in the early 60s. Then I migrated to New York in the early 70s, and stayed there for ten years.