Sunday, January 22, 2012

After 168 Hours Have Finally Passed

So maybe it's not exactly 168 hours since the Packers defeat by the New York Giants, but I know 168 hours ago I was sitting on this very couch, watching this very TV, likely wearing these very pajamas, and my heart broke.

Not because my family wouldn't be going to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis (which, in all honesty, is not a very exciting town). No, my heart broke for those 53 players on the Packers roster. My heart broke for Donald Driver who played like the team's life depended on him, and for a good portion of that game, it did. There's just something magical that happens when Driver catches that rocket and rides it for 10 more yards and another first down. My heart broke for Aaron Rodgers. As a team captain, much is expected from him and generally much is delivered, but not on this given Sunday. And for the dozens of coaching staff, the trainers, equipment personnel, travel staff, and everyone else affiliated with the team that would've been eligible to travel with the Pack to Indy, my heart broke for you too.

But my heart was really breaking for the family of Offensive Coordinator, Joe Philbin. Michael Philbin was 21 years old and drown in the Fox River. The portion of the river where his body was found runs parallel to the UW-O campus and happens to be right in front of my office at the Oshkosh Seniors Center.

Had the Packers lost without the trauma of a death affecting their Offensive Coordinator, without several players likely experiencing thoughts of their own families suddenly popping into their heads, and without someone likely taking a step back from all of the hype, the spread, and questioning what was really important, would the loss have been any more or any less disappointing to us, the average fan?

Sometimes something very horrible has to happen in order for a group of people to gain a deeper understanding of life. As much as I love my Green Bay Packers, the week they spent before last week's game had to be dreadful. Traditionally men aren't very good at expressing their feelings, much less deep, sad emotions. It's never better to say nothing, no matter how awkward you feel about approaching a grieving person or someone you know who has just lost a loved one. Say something, do something, but don't just stand there and do nothing.

Maybe ask that person if he'd like to go toss the ball around. Who knows? Maybe that's just the out he's been looking for.

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