Sat | Jun 19, 2021

Kelly's World: Surviving 'The Game'

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM

It's called the game.

No, I'm not talking about the show about life surrounding an American football team (appropriate 'cause I'll be using football analogies). Nope, I'm talking about that at-times-complicated (overly so), centuries-old dance between adults.

Ask any grown person, from both gender pools, and they'll tell you it is a tough game with rules (some established and constant, others changing with the times). And you'd better know what you're doing or you will get crushed. Even seasoned participants occasionally mess up; it's the nature of the game.

At times, you go against your better judgement or your natural instincts, and then ouch! You collide with a 240-pound linebacker, known as reality, who was going at the speed of a derailed train.

Now, I'm no player. If everyone had a game rating, 10 being highly skilled and 1 being lame duck, I would be somewhere below zero. So, not being used to the game, I ask for advice, especially when I'm asked to run certain plays. By the way, I fear letting the team down. And apparently, in the game, that can be an extreme weakness because fear makes you indecisive and hesitant. And that's a recipe for disaster. So I always ask for advice. Sometimes, it works perfectly. Most times, it's good enough. And then occasionally, it's waaay off!

In the long run, when I'm in my 70s (if I last that long), I will look back and laugh at them and remember the young, foolish days. But however you play, I recommend one thing: Be honest.

See, on this one particular play, that's where I went wrong. My better judgement and my natural instinct (in this case, they were actually the same thing) were to just be honest. I should have put my hand up and said, "Coach, I can't make that throw." Don't try to believe it will end like a cheesy underdog sports movie. It won't. But like I said, I fear letting the team down. So I stayed for the play. Whistle goes; play ball. And wham! Blindsided by an onrushing defender, knocked flat on my fat butt, helmet shattered, rendered unconscious. Make it worse? Turned the ball over. Smelling salts applied, I'm awake now. Cue the press conference. Was that the right play? What were you thinking? Were you thinking? Should you even be playing? None of those questions would be necessary, if I was honest.

What limited time I have spent even remotely trying to play the game has left me battered and bruised. Honestly, I feel like packing up and trekking to some untouched part of Jamaica and staying there. But I'm no bushman, so that's out of the question. Simple lesson: don't play games within the game itself. Trust me, it's complicated enough. Think I'll leave you with this section from Max Ehrmann's Desiderata, he says it better than I could. "Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass."