I’ve started interspersing my CrossFit workouts with yoga, so I’ll not only be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, I’ll also be very relaxed and introspective about it. In class yesterday, I was in half-pigeon pose, which everyone else slumped comfortably into, directing their drishti (GAZE in yoganics) forward, toward their purposeful selves, finding clarity and balance in their spirits.
I had my eyes closed, which is against the rules, and my drishti was set on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, because TOM BRADY.
As I was finding clarity and balance regarding my Tom Brady thoughts, the yoga instructor put her hands on me to smooth out my back and direct my drishti away from impurities. So I focused instead on my ujjayi breathing and waited until right this moment to think about Tom Brady again.
Professional football only vaguely interests me. There’s too much money involved, too many overinflated egos, too many valuable Husband-hours spent lolling in a wing-induced haze. But this year’s Superbowl matchup has forced my involvement, because if the New England Patriots lose the Superbowl, there are going to be a couple of deflated balls around here, if you know what I mean. Hot Firefighter Husband believes in Tom Brady the way other people believe in the zombie apocalypse. Ahem.
But I’m not an entirely nice person, so I’ve had lots of fun with Husband since the entire world started accusing Brady and the Patriots of cheating in their game against the Colts. If you’ve been busy focusing on
the war in Syria terrorism in France kidnapped girls in Africa Sarah Palin’s possible presidential bid anything else at all that seems relevant to human existence, here’s a summary: after the Colts lost to the Patriots 532-10, it was discovered that 12 of Patriots’ game balls were under-inflated, theoretically making it easier to pass and catch the ball. Everyone assumes that Head Coach Bill Belichick and Brady conspired to make this happen.
For the love of Knute Rockne, can we just see this year’s Budweiser Clydesdale puppy commercial and dispense with the season?
No, says Husband. Because this is important. Tom Brady’s ability to play in a sixth Superbowl, all with the same team, transcends a simple scoreboard.
Make me understand it, I said. Husband, for the most part, isn’t a frivolous guy. He pretty much knows everything going on in the world all the time, and he’s got some sort of impenetrable vault in his brain where he stores political trivia. So it’s hard for me to understand why he really, really cares about the Patriots.
We went out to dinner to talk about it. Well, to get away from the kids. But we talked about it. “I really only have four lifelong sports heroes,” he said solemnly. “Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, Doug Flutie, and Tom Brady.” He added that there were just too many Red Sox players to mention, but I think he just said that because every time I hear the name Roger Clemens I throw up in my mouth a little.
Tom Brady is 37 years old, Husband said. He was a lackluster sixth round draft pick in 2000, and the Patriots organization had to be coaxed into taking him. And now, here he is – by any standard, an aging quarterback – at the top of his game. It’s a testament to human capabilities, Husband said, like a Greco-Roman athlete pushed to his bodily limits, yet so determined and focused that he can accomplish more than seems physically possible. And it’s not just him – his relationship with Belichick and teammates is legendary. Their cohesion as a team points to not just a single star, but a unit working in concert toward a common goal.
Too bad that goal isn’t more exotic than just getting a ball across a chalky painted line.
But okay, I can buy into this Feats of Strength thing, I really can. It’s why I do CrossFit, I suppose, and like to box, and relish feeling strong. And yet it’s the combination of mental stamina and physical capabilities that really fosters strength. This is where I begin to get it, Husband’s
obsession interest in Tom Brady’s journey. He probably doesn’t get this, because he doesn’t micro-analyze like I do, but really, this Tom Brady thing kind of mirrors our own little journey to raise a family. When we started, nobody really expected much of us. But we took chances and moved forward, and made mistakes, and screwed up, and came back, and screwed up again. We take three steps forward and fall two steps back, then five steps forward and one step back, and sometimes we just fall back.
Certainly there is something spectacular in Tom Brady’s emergence as one of the sport’s greatest athletes with dazzling longevity. But what I like better is the idea that he’s a big fat metaphor for us, for our dogged determination to push these kids across the hashmarks of life, again and again, until they cross that mythical goalpost of happiness. The only difference is that our season never ends and we feel like we’re training for the Superbowl every damn day.
So set your drishti straight ahead, Tom Brady. I’ve decided I’m on your side.