Hey Coach Fox…Some Risks Are Worth Taking

The boys' first Broncos game back in November.
The boys’ first Broncos game back in November.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  ~Wayne Gretzky

Like many Denver residents, I’m still shaking my head about yesterday’s painful playoff game between the Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos, 9-point favorites going into the game and odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl, somehow managed to lose the game during an overtime period that might not have even been warranted if Coach John Fox hadn’t had Peyton Manning take a knee with thirty seconds left in the game. Now, I’m not a great armchair quarterback or anything (although my Fantasy Football team did finish second in our league this season), but Fox’s choice prompted me to shout a few choice words at my television. If the Broncos, with the ball on their twenty yard line and two timeouts remaining and one of the most successful fourth-quarter quarterbacks ever at the helm, had taken their chances they might have won the game outright, just as they were expected to do. But the coach, for his own reasons, didn’t want to take the risk. Consequently, I’m still shaking (and scratching) my head.

When I was younger, I was fairly conservative with my choices. I was not foolhardy. I held things close to my chest. I was careful to protect myself from possible disappointment. I avoided pain at all cost. You know…better safe than sorry, right? Well, as I’ve gotten older and been able to enjoy the unsweetened benefit of hindsight, I have come to realize that my only regrets in life are a direct result of the chances I did not take, opportunities I did not seize because I was cautious. I understand that you only get one go-around, so when an opportunity presents itself now, no matter how frightened or uncomfortable I am, I try to take it. It’s better to give something your honest all, to put yourself out there, and go balls-to-the-wall, than it is to spend the rest of your life wondering what if. Second guessing yourself is a worse fate than failure.

Today as I sat shaking my head about Coach Fox’s game decision yesterday, I found myself wondering if he is already second guessing his choice. If he’d let Manning play those thirty seconds and try to put together a drive down the field, we might have lost the game in regulation. Manning could have been picked off or there could have been a fumble. It might have ended badly. But, what if it hadn’t? What if Manning had pulled out another one of his clutch performances? Thirty seconds is still plenty of time in a football game when you’ve got a competent leader at quarterback. Perhaps we’d been have been able to give Matt Prater a second shot at a crucial field goal or maybe Manning would have been able to hit Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker for a touchdown? We’ll never know. I believe, as Alvin Toffler said, “It’s better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution.” In the end, people respect those who dare. And, those who dare never have to wonder what if.


A Modern Housewife’s Life On The Edge

My completely amazing, homemade banana bread…or what’s left of it. (The things in the background are not my secret ingredients. They are snacks for later.)

This is my second post in two days about my husband. He is not all that happy about it, but he’s made some suggestions about ways I can fix things between us. Most of them revolve around me “owing” him. (He might have left some letters off that word when he told me that, but this is a rated PG blog so we’re going with it.) Anyway, to repay him for what I am about to disclose, I decided that what I owed him was the best, homemade banana bread in the world. So, that is my olive branch to him. I’ve already eaten half of it (because it is the best banana bread in the world), but I figure that’s about right because he only gave me half my inspiration today. The other half of the inspiration came from Aron Ralston but he’s not here so I ate his half of the bread. You snooze, you lose, Aron.

This morning I decided I needed some exercise. I decide that every morning, but today I actually committed to getting off my lazy butt and getting some exercise rather than simply deciding it would be a good idea to get some exercise if I got around to it. Subtle difference. Anyway, I pulled out our books on local hikes and began rifling though pages looking for a 3-4 mile jaunt that either we had not yet done or that we hadn’t done in a long time. I narrowed it down to three possibilities and then, being the kind and thoughtful mom I am, I allowed my boys to have some input into which one they thought we should do. Of course, they both picked different options. Luke wanted to go to Boulder and Joe chose Morrison, so I made the unilateral and unalterable decision to go to Evergreen.

As is my custom, I made sure to inform hubby of our plans because he is, after all, Safety Dad. He doesn’t like it when we go on hikes without letting him know where we will be. I suppose this is just good practice. I mean, look what happened to Aron Ralston when he went off to do some canyoneering in Utah without letting anyone know where he would be. I don’t think any of us need to lose an arm over a little hike. I texted Steve.

Me: I’m going to make the boys do Alderfer/Three Sisters with me.

Steve: Cool. Take the bear spray. It’s in my nightstand. Your rain jackets are in the yellow cube in my office.

Me: Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

Now, what Steve didn’t know at this point was that what I was laughing about was the fact that he actually thought I would take bear spray and rain jackets on a 3 mile hike with the boys in a heavily traveled hiking spot in Evergreen on a day with hardly a cloud in the sky. He clearly does not know me at all. While I am in many ways in my life quite organized and good about planning, the kids and I more often than not fly by the seat of our pants all summer long. We get a wild hair and go with it. We do not plan. We do not organize. We do not pack well. We simply go.

Steve: Are you laughing about the bear spray in my nightstand?

Me: I’m laughing about all of it. You are on crack. I even forgot the sunscreen. We’re still going. We live on the edge when you’re not around.

Steve: Love you.

I love that he thought it was necessary at this point to tell us that he loved us…as if we would not return from our journey alive. I’m sure it would be in all the news stories. He would tearfully report that he had told me to bring along the bear spray and if I would have listened to him perhaps he we wouldn’t have been ingested by that black bear. And, as I was having that thought, another thought hovered in the recesses of my mind, waiting for its chance to get some attention.

Me: Why is the bear spray in your nightstand drawer?

Steve: In case a bear breaks in, of course. 

I assumed he was joking about this, but wanted to make sure so I tested the waters.

Me: Ha.

No reply from him.

Me: The kids want to talk to you about the bear spray in the nightstand.

At this point, I think he realized that he was in trouble.

Steve: You do NOT get to blog about me tonight.

Me: Too late.

Steve: Then, you’re going to owe me.

And now we’re back to the banana bread. The sad part is that this entire story is all true. Every last word. I actually checked. The bear spray, swear to God above, is in his nightstand drawer as I type this.

The boys and I had a great hike. No one lost a limb or got attacked by a bear or even needed a rain jacket. I did get a tiny sunburn on my shoulders, which I deserve for forgetting the sunscreen. Still, I think that somewhere between Aron Ralston’s missing arm and my husband’s bear spray in the nightstand is a happy medium where most of us live. We try to be good, we do our best, and we cross our fingers. Sometimes we get a little sunburned, but it all evens out in the end.