Monday, November 23, 2009

Our Princess is in Another Castle

Donovan McNabb whispers words of encouragement in Jay Cutler's ear after the closing moments of the Eagles' 24-20 win over the Bears tonight. What do you suppose he said to him? We can all probably imagine the pep talk from one quarterback to another; one guy who understands adversity to another.

I've been on this whole struggling quarterback theme recently. I keep finding identification in the shoddy play of the leaders of the teams I care about. I can't help but wonder about the narrative of their lives; what happens next? Will they win the big game? Will they bring us along on a journey to realize all our hopes and dreams?

Of course I'm not talking about football, really. Football, ultimately, is just a really good metaphor. Dramatic music, bright lights, history on the line...those moments resonate with all humans because we all want to be the hero of our own story. (We probably want to be the hero of everyone else's story too)

Most of us won't be the hero or win the big game or save the princess; most of us will make an attempt and discover the harshest of truths: Thank you, but our princess is in another castle. Then we give up and move on with our mundane existence. There's nothing wrong with such an existence; it just feels disappointing after high hopes have been dashed.

I keep dwelling on the dream, though. Is it folly to want to achieve greatness? It wasn't for little Barack Obama who wrote his essay about wanting to be President of the United States in grammar school. Or was that just legendary devotion to some sort of arrogant, egomaniacal obsession?

There is a pesky little truth that plagues us: we don't get to know the end of our story. We won't know if Donovan McNabb's private words to Jay Cutler are the beginning of a great dynasty of football excellence or if his mediocrity will continue to build up and eventually suffocate him.

I'd like to think, for Jay's sake, for my sake, for Juice's sake, that this is all just the beginning of a wonderful story. I'd like to think that some grand narrative awaits me. It would be nice if, although bright lights and cameras may not accompany it, some sweet destiny is out on the horizon. Perhaps some day the monster will be slain, the princess will be waiting and the day will be won.

In the meantime, I may just throw a few interceptions.

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