It is the most wonderful time of the year. Sounds of commentator calls, audibles, and cheering crowds fill the house. A familiar sense of calm envelops my being. It is football season.
I sometimes wonder how I survive the offseason. I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and am a loyal Niners fan. Living in Southern California does not bode well for my love of my team. Los Angeles went from zero to two teams in one offseason, and my Niners rarely make the SoCal broadcast. I tune in anyway because I love the game.
I watch the rookies vying for a sacred spot on the team. The song “Centerfield” plays in my head. “Put me in, coach …” And just like that, I am the one wanting to play.
I think back to my youth, when invincibility overrode intelligent thought. Life consisted of sailing, skiing, and faraway travel. Youthful arrogance and naiveté left me unacquainted with the fragility of life.
I played without care or concern — the game came easy. I traversed life laissez faire. Life met me on my terms.
Then came MS. How the game has changed.
I am a rookie. I am as hungry as I am vulnerable. Every morning I ask God to put me in. Let me play. This game is fleeting and so am I. In the time I have left, I will play hard despite my disease. I will leave this game better for having played, and I will leave this game a winner for having tried my best.
I think back to the seasoned player of my youth. Today, MS has rendered me a rookie. Yet, I respect the rookie. I value her steadfast faith in her abilities. I am honored to play the game. I find it ironic that MS has made me an MVP.
This rookie will keep trying. Every day, I will ask to be put in the game. Some days I may only cheer from the bench, but I will always be grateful to participate.
The game of life ends far too soon. We don’t get a two-minute warning. Play like you exist in those two minutes for perpetuity. Don’t keep score or focus too hard on foul plays. Play your heart out.
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