I’ve been a rabid Colts fan since 1984. Lucky enough (pun intended) to have family access to season tickets for many years, I’ve been to more than my fair share of heart-pounding games. But I’ve never seen anything like this past weekend’s 28 point comeback at Lucas Oil Stadium. I’m still recovering.
My 14 year old (ESPN loving) daughter was high fiving complete strangers, even my mom was screaming loud enough to lose her voice, and the UT law student who scalped the seat to my left uncontrollably bear-hugged me like I was his long-lost brother.
Complete euphoria. Here’s 30 seconds of the post-game hysteria:
After the adrenaline finally exited my system (I think it was early Wednesday morning) a sobering reality smacked me right in my blue and white painted face.
The sweetest victories – the epic, legendary, tell-your-grandkids ones – are also full of failures. Sure, any playoff win in sweet. But it wouldn’t have been as sweet without two and a half quarter of near disaster mixed into the storyline.
A four-touchdown deficit.
Yet with truckloads of embarrassment, judgment, and heckling in tow (and that was just from me), the Andrew Luck led Colts just kept playing, and pulled out a win we will still be talking about a generation from now. We loved that win because it was also filled with the sting of potential loss.
There’s a fine line between mythical and disgraced, and the two are often more intertwined than we’d like to admit. Epic victories usually require epic failure. But when I make a mistake, when life maneuvers away from my intricately designed pre-game-plan, I stop throwing. My fragile ego can’t handle the identity crisis that comes from (fair or unfair) criticism.
Here’s the life-lesson I learned from my Colts historic comeback:
Be willing to blow it. Be willing to look like a fool. We all love the elation of a legendary victory, but few of us enjoy the setbacks, the criticism, and the booing that are almost always part of the winning recipe.
(Oh, and drunk guys give really intense bear-hugs).
Epic stories are full of tension. Will they succeed? Will they fail? The moments we can’t stand are undeniably wrapped up with the moments we don’t want to live without. Embrace both.