Ay, ay ... ahem...
In the past month, I've been blessed to see six of my TEAM USA teammates long enough to catch up and make some memories. It's been a blast, and almost a blur because it's gone by so quickly.
It's interesting that we are all so changed after last summer - and the things we have in common are certainly more numerous than we ever could have imagined on our flights from all over the United States a little more than a year ago.
I served as water girl for my roomie Pickett & favorite LT / QB Mulli in NYC - and saw the first Sharks game since the playoffs in 2007 when we played each other. I basically lived with Adrienne for NFL Draft week and it was a blast to hang out with the Pittsburgh dynamic duo of Vaz & OG.
My kindred spirit Tarsha brought her skinny self to Atlanta last weekend and it was fun to rekindle our friendship. I so admire her resolve not only to become a tight end before she retires (I have no doubt she'll do it as fastidious as she is with her diet and exercise) and even stronger feeling that before she retires she will leave behind a legacy of players. I think if I went to Baltimore tomorrow and interviewed her teammates, I'd find the latter goal already accomplished. A true inspiration, especially with her patience. I think I need to reclaim that patience in myself as it is faltering of late.
The hardest part of these last few weeks was not the grind, it was - as has been true this year - the rollercoaster of feelings. Atlanta is now 6-0, and with two games left, we are in a good spot looking forward to the postseason. Still, I can't help but think about how much fun teaching is - and how much I can teach. The practices we had with the future 9th graders and even middle school kids were a riot. It helps that my partners in crime probably also have more fun with me ... we are a unique group!
My favorite - and definitely the kids' favorite - was the sack drill during middle school practice. It's the JOY that makes me smile - even from the clinics we did in NYC. It's the reckless abandon and intense focus that makes sense.
Maybe that's why I like coaching the most. For just a few minutes, it's good to remember what that feels like..... and also the complete absence of worry about work, or driving home after practice, or how little sleep you get, or how clean the house is, or a wedding, or if you sent a thank you note, or if it will thunder, or if there's enough cash, or how to get out from behind of all the eight balls in life.... self imposed or not.
It's just football, with friends, and that's the best fun you can have.