Fame. Fortune. Glory. How many of us have dreamed about achieving these for ourselves? In truth, reaching the pinnacle of success is an elusive goal, one which few reach. However, the reality is each and every one of us have personal moments of success, in which we can embrace these euphoric feelings, if only for the briefest of moments.
Recently, I attended a Utah Blaze arena football game with my children Kaylee, Braden, Alyssa and Jason, as well as 4 of Jason's friends. We were celebrating Jason's birthday. Our tickets came to us via Jason's aunt Emily, who is doing an internship with the Blaze. The free nature of the tickets made the experience sweet in and of itself!
Just before the game, Emily called to invite me to participate in a tug of war contest at the end of the 3rd quarter. The idea of going down in front of thousands of people did not really intrigue me. However, she mentioned a free jersey, and I was in! Being the resourceful father I am, I immediately asked if Kaylee and Braden could also take part. Even though the participants were supposed to be 18 and older, Emily said Kaylee and Braden were on the team. We were all in! It was at this point, when we were committed, that Emily broke the news that only the winning team would get jerseys. I had this feeling of panic come over me. It would be me, my 16 year old daughter and 15 year old son, up against what would most likely be three, 20 something year old men, hopped up on adrenaline and Budweiser. We would be lucky to survive. A vision came to me, of my shoulder being torn from my body, Kaylee with missing fingers and Braden lying in a pool of blood. This would not be pretty.
We stewed about our upcoming death match for the entire first three quarters of the game. Finally, like the innocent going to the Roman coliseum floor to face the lions, we marched down to the arranged meeting place. My eyes scanned the people around me, looking for the three behemoths we would be facing. Braden was still optimistic, Kaylee looked like she might be sick. Finally we saw the other team. A feeling of power washed over me......
The other team was composed of a young woman, a bit older than Kaylee but definitely shorter and weaker. That's one for our team!
There was a tall young man. He was older and a bit taller than Braden, but Braden has been training hard for our upcoming race, so I had confidence in his legs. That's two for the home team! Our fate would rest in my personal matchup......
There he stood, all 5 feet something of him. I hulked over him, like some sort of twisted Goliath vs. David reenactment. Only this time, I'd put my money on the big guy. I must have outweighed him by over a hundred pounds, and my own legs have been churning out miles and miles of training for years now.
The quarter ended, and we were led to the arena floor. My mind was definitely lost in the moment. I was unaware of the cameras on me. I could not hear the thousands of spectators. One would think I might have even noted the Blaze cheerleaders, but this was not the case. My mind was focused on one thing only, and that was the yellow rope at my feet.
My game face on, I reached down and entwined my right arm into the rope. Two times wrapped around my arm. That should do the trick. My left hand caught up the slack. I leaned back, firmly planting my right leg slightly to my back, my left leg positioned like an iron rod to my front. I didn't hear anyone say "go!". I felt the rope go completely tight, and it was on!
I took first one step backward, then two. Then we stalled, neither team making headway. The other team was nearly sitting on the floor, they were leaning back so far. This was not going to be easy. Kaylee relaxed for a moment, and we took one small step forward. She looked back at me, her eyes pleading for help. It was then that I went into the zone.
I played the other team like a fish on a hook. I leaned forward to give the rope a little play, then took two quick steps backward. I did this again, and we made more headway. The girl on the other team gave up and let go. We had them. I powered back more and more, and soon it was over. The other team was defeated, and we were victorious! I razed my arms in triumph, letting out a primal yell to announce the king of this jungle had arrived!
It was then that the flow of blood was restored to my hands. The pain was awful. I could not easily bend my fingers, and my left hand had rope slivers all over in it. I was sweating, my arms ached and my legs felt a bit tired. This truly had been an epic battle. Kaylee, Braden and I collected our jerseys, and ascended the stairs in triumph. A flurry of text messages ensued, as we each eagerly wanted to share our story of battle and conquest. This had been a personal moment of glory for all three of us. A simple football game sideshow, with little or no importance to anyone but the six participants, had turned into something great for Kaylee, Braden and myself. It will be a story that will live on in family lore, which might even grow as the years pass.
Take what life gives you, and celebrate your own moments of glory. It's what makes life fun!