On Thanksgiving Day, 1993, the Phillipsburg, New Jersey Stateliners and the Easton, Pennsylvania Red Rovers played to a 7-7 tie in their annual high school football game. Not content to leave well enough alone, these arch rivals have agreed to a rematch this coming Sunday afternoon, April 26. Members of both teams have had eight weeks to get back into high school game shape for this contest. Stories about the event say nothing about these men recovering their adolescent complexions, complexes, or fixations on the cheerleaders.
Though it might be more appropriate for the game to be sponsored by Rogaine (if not the little blue pill), it will in fact be sponsored by Gatorade. I’m betting we’ll see plenty of that product being swilled, spilled, and regurgitated on the Field of Glory, Lafayette College's Fisher Stadium in Easton.
Despite my not caring a whit about which team wins the Phillipsburg-Easton game on Sunday, I do hope that everyone comes through it all right. I hope no one suffers a heart attack, broken neck, or other stark reminder that there are things in this world worse than having played to a tie in 1993.
* * * * * * *
Reading of the Stateliners and Red Rovers jumping at the opportunity for a “do over” of an important chapter of their lives left me wondering about the same prospect. For years I’ve been itching for the opportunity for my Pike Township Red Devils (motto: We’re gonna lose!) to take one more shot at the hated Carmel Greyhounds. Sure, overcoming a 54-6 deficit seems like a lot, but who knows? All the partying and hard living that followed on the heels of the Greyhounds’ gridiron success may have taken a toll….
Is there any aspect of my life I’d like to do over? Haven’t I said, “If only I had known then what I do now”? The truth is, I didn’t know better then. Correcting the mistakes I’ve made would doubtlessly erase the hard earned lessons from which I’ve benefited, and that have shaped who I have become. Besides, I don’t want to live my life looking backwards, like the proverbial cowboy of my Dad’s story who mounted his horse backwards so he could see where he’d been.
I’m not interested in trying to redo or undo the past. It’s the future I’m more concerned about, and the clear awareness that the future springs into possibility from my actions in the present.
Were I to be granted a "do over", I'd seek to live without such a fixation on the past. I'd seek to remain focused on what is, and upon what might yet come to be. And I'd use my eight weeks of conditioning to develop the vision, the strength, and the courage to make a better future possible.
Three things come not back
the spent arrow, the spoken word, and the lost opportunity.
Note: The closing quote comes in several versions, variously
attributed as a Chinese proverb, Arabian proverb, and to a
7th Century Muslim, Omar Ibn, Al Halif. I first came across
this version of the quote 30 years ago
in a commentary by William Barclay.