Monday, January 25, 2016

past, present..and future

The good news is I know my hip is getting much better. The bad news is that I know this because after the first half of yesterday's Patriots--Broncos' game,  I did not sit down once and paced for most of the two plus hours, all to no avail.  The hip passed its test, the Patriots did not-- succumbing to the team that played better yesterday, 20-18.

The postmortem analysts are omnipresent in Boston.  I just left a grocery store where there is an alcove for those who want to sip coffee or eat lunch before they depart.  I was not in my seat for a minute before I heard three construction workers (so identified because of their garb) yakking about the Patriots' inability to move the ball on first down.

One could dissect the game in terms of how well the Broncos defended, the mistakes that Tom Brady made and the ones that Peyton Manning did not, the missed extra point that forced the Patriots to try a two point conversion with twelve seconds left--or many other factors. But I think such analyses would be superficial.  And the point I hope to make in this blog transcends sports; it applies to our own reflections and decisions.

I had to look up this morning a quote I heard which goes something like: "The past is never dead; it's not even the past."  The author is William Faulkner; I know I never read this quote in something Faulkner wrote because aside from a long short story we had to read in high school called "The Bear", I never read anything by Faulkner. This quote, I found out, is from a novel called, Requiem for a Nun.  I don't know anything about Requiem for a Nun.  What I remember from "The Bear" was that it seemed to me interminable and I wished I did not have to read it.  My best guess is that I just wasn't mature enough at 16 to have a shot at understanding "The Bear". Maybe I would not see the significance of "The past is never dead; it's not even the past" had I been 16 when I came across it. But half a century later I get it--in spades.

How does the quote apply to the Patriots-Broncos' game?  The Patriots lost by two points yesterday, true. But they really lost the game on November 29th, and they lost because of arrogance.

November 29th was Thanksgiving weekend's Sunday night. The Patriots were playing the Broncos in Denver and were leading by two touchdowns going into the fourth quarter.  The Broncos were able to trim the lead because of a muffed punt by a Patriot, but New England was still ahead when the Patriots do what they do--they became arrogant.  Instead of running and bleeding the clock, the Pats-"in-your-face-we-are-better-than-you" kept throwing the ball in the fourth quarter with a lead that, had they run the ball, would likely have been insurmountable.  The Broncos went on to win the game.

Both the Broncos and Patriots finished at 12-4 this past season, but Denver won the tie breaker by virtue of having won on 11/29.  Consequently they got to play yesterday's championship game in Denver. The bookies figure home field advantage is worth three points. Home field advantage was absolutely worth two points yesterday. No way the Broncos beat the Patriots in Boston yesterday.

So it's just a game and we fans will be fine. But the significance beyond sport, I think, is not insignificant.

When we decide what to do, today, it is dependent on yesterday because yesterday put us in the position we are in today.  And what we do today, will put us in the position we are in tomorrow.  We are not handcuffed to our past, but our lives are a series of moments that, in some part, evolved because of good or bad fortune--but in larger part because of what we did in our yesterdays.  The Patriots played a well prepared Broncos team yesterday in Denver because the Patriots decided on November 29th for no intelligent reason to throw the ball in the fourth quarter when it could have come close to running out the clock.  I am sitting here now in the Weston Public Library writing this blog because of decisions I made in 1969 in Albany New York--long story that--but that is why I am here now.  You could say I am in Weston at 2 pm this Monday afternoon because of some library books I needed to return--which is in part true. But I am really here because of something that I thought about in 1969.  Too long to go into, but you get the point.   The outcomes of today are grounded in our past. The past is not even the past.

No comments:

Post a Comment