The Agony of De’feet’
Pop quiz: What do Mark Sanchez, My Left Foot, and 3/4 of the students in my pre-algebra class have in common?
Answer: All have experienced the same things in the past two weeks : anxiety, pain, discomfort and embarrassment.
Listen, I’m no “sportsnista” but I do don my Dallas Cowboy sportswear faithfully on Sunday afternoons. In the pre-season, I talk a good game about how we plan to rule the gridiron and restore ourselves to our rightful place of glory. Round about Week 3 or Week 4 (even earlier this year), I hang my head a tad lower and defiantly state, “we’ll get ’em next year” and “fire that bum, Romo“. No one, not even I, believes either is going to happen anytime soon. That being said, even with a dismal 5-6 record, I was prouder to be a loosing Cowboy then to be even remotely affiliated with Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets over Thanksgiving. I missed the game, but the highlights (or low lights in their case) were mortifying. They were booed off the field at half time by their own fans in their own stadium! Sanchez, the quarterback of the Jets, actually ran with the ball, slipped and plowed head first into the backside of one of his own players! I think they may be calling it “Bootie-Gate”. If they aren’t, then I just coined it. On Friday morning every media outlet from print, to radio, to web were rehashing every dirty Sanchez detail. The team and definitely Mr. Sanchez, know what “DEFEAT” feels like and all the agony associated with it. Just relaying the story makes me wince, and I’m grateful it wasn’t our Romo, no matter what I said about him earlier.
Further north in New England, and a week prior to Bootie-Gate…my Problem Solving Algebra classmates and I, were treated to Test #2 of our season. It was expected to be a hard exam, much more so than Test #1 and ten times more difficult than our weekly quizzes. When I stepped into the room, however, I felt as “In Control” as Janet Jackson. Not only had I prepared extensively but I was confidently touting a 98 average and the professor had tapped me as a tutor candidate for next semester. I flipped the test over and my heart sank. Gone were the easy, copied from the textbook questions, and in there place were algebraic monstrosities that dared to force us to use the core concepts learned and apply them to never before seen problems. Hold it a second, this is not what I signed up for! As I looked at the test, I knew I was in trouble and the happy humming of another easy A, quickly shifted to a sadly, soulful plea of “please, babee, babee, please don’t let me get a D!” I knew if I was sweating the outcome of this test and I had been riding high, then many other students, had to be freaked out. There was a definite scent in the air…you might call it EAU“DEFITTE”. Test results came in this past Saturday, I missed class, so I don’t know my grade yet, but I’ve talked to others and for them it was their own personal butt-fumble.
Finally, the oddball of the pop quiz trio, my left foot! What in the world does that have to do with this? Well, call it a silly play on words (or call it an unbelievably clever play on words, if you are so inclined) but two weeks ago my left foot and I underwent surgery. Not for any cool reason like a sports injury or dramatic reason like foiling a robbery attempt but just your garden variety, somewhat embarrassing, run of the mill reason called a bunionectomy. A symptom of wearing too high, too narrow, and too small shoes since I was old enough to slip into my first pair of wedge heeled Candies at the ripe old age of 8. Those shoes were so cute that I ignored the pinching in my toes all Summer long. I wore them bravely to church every week; no one could have told me not to. Fast forward, thirty plus years and hundreds of too cute but too small shoes later and I found myself laying on a gurney with a plastic cap on my head, an IV inflaming my arm and an ice-cold, red antiseptic liquid being applied to my foot to prepare the surgical site. The procedure lasted no more than an hour and when I awoke, there were two victims, I mean patients, on either side of me waiting for their turn under the scalpel. It’s been a little over 10 days and I have to tell you this is not what I expected, not what I planned for and is a physical pain the likes I which I would not wish on another soul. “DESE” FEET are what I and my friends refer to as “a hot mess”.
Feet, football players and flunking classmates. This week they all have come up against something that knocked the wind out of them and set them back a few hundred paces. None of them, however, have stayed down for the count. They all have gotten back up, dusted off the pain and are figuring ways to regain their position. It may not be the way it was before, it may be changed forever, but that’s not always a bad thing. There comes a time for all of us when we feel defeated. Something, someone causing pain, embarrassment or discomfort…maybe it’s a workload, your school work, or a loved one, or a boss. Take comfort in my stories of this past week and my poor ugly swollen feet that in 4 to 6 weeks will be healed and like new, and this time buying shoes that fit. And take comfort in my catch phrase: The Agony of Defeat is Always Quelled by the Victory of Resurgence. I know it won’t garner the decades long status of the Wide World of Sports’ “thrill of victory…agony of defeat” but I’d like to think Mark Sanchez, aka the new Vinko Bogataj, might like it a little better.