We’re always playing to win; we just have to choose right game

Contributing writerFebruary 2, 2014 

In the young days of the team, the kids and I often visited the Seattle Seahawks’ training camp in Cheney. The players were welcoming and we’d visit with their families who were always there, too.

On one hot day, cornerback Kerry Justin had brought his son who was about 4 years old. The little boy, wearing his dad’s number 22 on his jersey, ran up and down the sidelines while the players thundered down the practice field. Suddenly, the boy fell.

Running to his mother he wailed, “I’ve hurt my knee. They’re going to put me on waivers!”

I thought then, and I still think, that most of us go our whole life expecting to be put on waivers at any minute. I believe that explains a lot of the Super Bowl elation. It’s official! We’re not going to be put on waivers! We’ve been invited to the prom and we’re going to get to dance.

At church, the sermon was about the 12th man (not who you might think). In Seattle, the cast of “Rigoletto” made curtain calls wearing Seahawks jerseys. “Go Seahawks,” rhapsodized Number Two Son on Facebook, “And comeback Champions!”

On Facebook, too, we’ve seen the Empire State Building dressed in Seahawks colors and sporting a 12th Man flag. Even my grandson in Minnesota has a Seahawks blue cast for his broken wrist.

A lot of time has been spent recently speculating about the excitement that would cause 30,000 otherwise comparatively sane people to turn out at SeaTac International Airport to see the team off to New York.

A partial explanation comes from Broadcast and Cable News magazine. This trade publication alerts broadcasters to prepare for more interactive “reality” shows. We’re spending more time on Facebook and texting, tweeting and sharing. Thinking we’re in constant touch, the less connected to each other we really feel, says the article. They predict that programs will become more interactive and more “reality”-based to give audiences the chance to reach out and connect with others.

Now that I have become a repository of elder wisdom, (which happened last week sometime), I must say I agree with one important exception. Instead of spending so much time attached to our smartphones or Facebook, we might create our own reality shows. We could, oh, I don’t know, look at each other’s pictures of important events, for instance.

My much heralded birthday party finally took place a few weeks ago, and it was everything I had hoped for. My family was all there and quite civil to each other. It was wonderful. The pictures just came back. They are professionally and tastefully done. I have a whole book of pictures.

That’s the problem. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get people to stop and look at your pictures. A friend said, “I know, why not put them on Facebook. Then we could all enjoy them.”

But I don’t want to put them on Facebook. I want to hover over your shoulder to see the reaction when a special picture is viewed. I am reduced to thumping my book down in front of an unsuspecting prospect and saying firmly, “You’re my friend. Time to pay your dues. Look at these pictures.” I wouldn’t say the reaction is exactly enthusiastic, but it works every time.

You see, as I gazed down the party table at my grandchildren, great grand- children, spouses and best beloveds, I couldn’t help thinking back to another birthday many years ago and my terrible fear as a young widow suffering from cancer. I wondered if I’d even get to see these children grow up.

As I looked around the table this year, enjoying the laughter and the stories, I realized that no matter what happens now, I’ve won the only game that matters.

What about that other game being played today? Well, by now, you might know how it came out. There will be other games and other reasons to celebrate. Put down the phone and let’s have some coffee. You can tell me about the game. Wait, where are you going? I have pictures to show you.

Dorothy Wilhelm is a professional speaker and writer. Write her at P.O. Box 881, DuPont, WA 98327, or Dorothy@itsnevertoolate.com, or call her at 800-548-9264.

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