My daughter is an obsessive NFL fan (I admit dads, it’s like winning the lottery). And to my eternal joy, she’s even bigger Indianapolis Colts zealot. Regardless of what choices she makes going forward in life, I will always have this simple proof that I raised her right.
Like most fans of the horseshoe, she was devastated two years ago when the home team parted ways with the immortal Peyton Manning. Yet unlike most Colts fans (who are still writing his name on their children’s birth certificates), she has now become his most ardent hater.
“You know we cut him loose, right?” I consistently remind her.
“Yeah, but if he cared about us at all, he would have just retired.” she snidely retorts.
So when #18 opened the 2013 season on national television by throwing a record-tying 7 touchdown passes in one game, she was despondent. “How could he do this to us!” And let’s be honest, as excited as most Indy fanatics are about a future with Andrew Luck, my daughter wasn’t the only one sitting there thinking “this Manning dude could still be playing for us!”
Those 13 years as an Indy football fan were pretty special. We know that.
Andrew Luck is undoubtedly going to be special. We think.
We have complete certainty of the past, but all we hold is hope for the future. And so we wander into that strange in-between of what most certainly was and what we desperately hope can still be.
Maybe it’s the impending onset of “middle age,” but my wife and I have found ourselves in this same, strange kind of in-between lately. Life is not all out in front of us anymore. For the first time, it seems we can clearly see both a past and a future. The former is known, rich, and celebrated. The latter mysterious, scary, yet full of hope. In some ways, we’re facing our own Manning to Luck moment (and I bet it won’t be our last).
There’s this piece of me that wants to camp permanently in my own personal Peyton era. Who wouldn’t? Four MVPs, perennial playoff berths, and a world championship sounds pretty good to me. I’m tempted to try and live backwards into what was. After all, the past has proven it still has more than a little something left in the tank.
But I can’t seem to find a rewind button, and I don’t want to be that sad, old superstar still trying to live vicariously through his archived highlight reels.
Celebrate what was. Embrace what is yet to be.
You may have an amazing behind (I heard that snicker), but all that’s left is what’s ahead. Or as Seismonic so sagely reminded us in that 90’s one-hit wonder:
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Do you find yourself in that strange in-between? Celebrate your Manning. Embrace your Luck. You’re not dead yet. There are plenty more Super Bowls out there still to be won.