from the Fall/Winter 2015 edition of Reflections magazine.
by Marjorie George
I suppose I should be more distraught about my team losing the Texas Tech/TCU game back in September. But I keep thinking about the final moments of the game.
Here’s the play-by-play (as reported by espn.go.com): The lead had gone back and forth the entire game. Tech would make a TD, then TCU would answer with one of their own. With 8:22 left, TCU went ahead 48-45. Texas Tech answered after two clutch third-down plays on a 50-yard scoring pass with 5:55 to go.
The teams traded empty possessions before the Horned Frogs started at their own 47 and drove downfield for the winning touchdown.
But the Red Raiders didn’t give up. On the final play of the game — after time had expired and a defensive penalty on TCU had extended the game, Tech’s Mahomes found DeAndre Washington for a 24-yard gain. Down the field both teams sprinted, a sea of red/black and blue/silver, but the camera was honed in on Washington. As defenders approached, he pitched the football to a lineman, who pitched it to a receiver, who got the ball to Jakeem Grant. Was it possible? Was Tech going to score? But no, Grant was pushed out of bounds at the TCU 10 to end the game.
My own mental instant replay saw again those beautiful hand-offs. It was a ballet, the way the players had passed the football off one to the other in the midst of the moving mass. Wow, I thought, that’s being focused.
In contemplative-living parlance, they were being present to the present. No one was thinking about the steak he was going to have for dinner, or if his helmet was on straight, or whether or not the tv camera was getting his best side.
Few of us possess that intensity of focus. Instead, our fickle minds refuse to stay in the present, jumping from yesterday’s mistakes to tomorrow’s anxieties.
We drive home from the office, the meeting, the appointment, arriving in our driveways with little awareness of how we actually got from there to here.
Worse, when we are not where we are, we miss a moment that will never come again. That mockingbird sitting on the fence will never sing that particular note again.
The sun will never again play on the tree exactly as it does at this moment.
The look in the eyes of our spouse/lover/friend/child that asks for our attention right now will fade if ignored and, with enough discouragement, give up entirely.
We may glimpse God in other times and other ways, but a moment of revelation missed will surely be our loss.
The contemplative life is one of awareness. It is focusing on the thing that is in front of us right now. It is listening to the sounds we hear, seeing what our eyes reveal, feeling what our bodies are feeling. It is being where we are right now, not where we were yesterday or might be tomorrow.
Of course this is not locker room talk, and football is hardly a contemplative activity. My husband’s reaction to the whole thing was to walk away shaking his head and muttering, “shoulda won that one.”
But apparently watching football can be illuminating. That few seconds of gridiron drama caused me to be a little more present to the present for the next few days.
And that is a win.
Marjorie George is editor of Reflections magazine and ReflectionsOnline. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more articles from the Fall/Winter issue of Reflections magazine, or to read the entire issue, go to this page.