Yep. It’s that time again. Football season. Every year when the season ends, we immediately start counting down until it begins again. It’s the time of year we romanticize for months, imagining winning records, conference championships, and national titles. Nothing seems too far-fetched. We believe that this year will be the year. Football season is filled with hope, and joy, and excitement. It provides a diversion from the rest of the world; football makes everything better, until it doesn’t.
The sad thing about the way college football is set up now is once you lose one game, you lose all hope. Your chances of being one of the final four teams who will play for the National Championship are virtually gone. There are a few opportunities after slipping up of working your way back into the race by winning the conference title. But then it depends on algorithms, strength of schedule, and the stars aligning at just the right time.
Every year since I can remember, I’ve had hope. Hope that maybe this will be the year for the Aggies.
Hope in itself is a wonderful thing. It keeps you going. When you have hope you believe in something. But, as they said in “Ted Lasso,” in what has become the Keith family sports motto, “It’s the hope that kills you.”
I love Aggie football. I love to attend games at Kyle Field. I approach each season waving my Twelfth Man towel and believing this will finally be our year.
And then it happens. We lose a game we were supposed to win. Our quarterback is injured and out for the season. But we recover. We come back strong. We win two big SEC games in a row. Aggies everywhere are openly stating that we will win the next big game. We play a fabulous first half, but for the last thirty minutes, we can’t get it together.
See what I mean? It’s the hope that kills you.
And now for most Aggies, the sky is falling. It’s another year of disappointment. Another year of not living up to our potential. Another year of saying, “Wait until next year.”
We’re not even in the middle of October yet, and I’m an exhausted fan. Please don’t think I’m a two percenter. I’m one of the biggest Aggie fans around. It’s in my blood. But I’m mentally and emotionally tired, and I’m tired of waiting until next year.
When the laundry is done, and I’m putting my clothes away, I see the t-shirts purchased especially for this season. The clean fresh scent of the laundry detergent is masked by the overwhelming smell of despair. The tangible realization of a dream deferred.
Weatherwise, it seems we are always looking toward the next season. When it’s hot, we long for cooler weather. When Winter brings unprecedented ice storms, we pray for Spring. Once Spring arrives, and allergies flair up, we can’t wait until Summer. And then it’s hot, and we want it to be cool again.
Just like the weather, when it comes to the seasons of life, it seems we are always trying to survive one so we can move on to another. I’ve mentioned before I’m in a tough season right now. Roles are reversed, time seems short, and being the middle part of the sandwich, wedged between two pieces of bread, has left me gasping for air.
I don’t want to elaborate about all the circumstances, but there seem to be more bad days than good. Or at least that’s how I’m viewing them. I’ve let my busy-ness, and exhaustion define how each day will be greeted. Most days start out well, but by the time the sun sets, I’m usually once again overwhelmed with something new.
At times it’s hard to have hope; to see beyond the mundane drudgery, and daily worries. In the past, writing has been such a great outlet for me. I could sit down and click on the keyboard for hours. These days, I long for the ability to do that. To quiet my mind enough to put my thoughts into words. I won’t say it’s been impossible, but it sure has been difficult.
As most of you know, I like to be busy. I’m always trying, and many times failing, at learning new things. I don’t ever want to stop learning, and growing. I always want to have a goal to work toward and hopefully attain.
I spent a month or so this summer, just getting through the days. It wasn’t bad. I wasn’t depressed. But it seemed daily, I was fighting the feeling of not wanting to do anything. I just wanted to relax, not think, hoping that my mind could find rest.
Sitting around definitely wasn’t the answer. One day, out of the blue, I decided I wanted to paint. When I was young, I loved to draw. I entered every poster contest known to man when I attended Raguet Elementary School. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, but stopped doing it. Whenever I needed to draw something for school, it always seemed and looked rushed, and not quite up to the standard of what I hoped to create.
But on a normal, uneventful Saturday this summer, I picked up a paintbrush. Before I realized it, four hours had passed. What I created wasn’t anything to brag about. But what occurred after spending hours painting was just short of amazing. My mind was clear, and I felt renewed.
Each new day, I kept attempting to paint flowers, and landscapes, and even my dog Lorelai. All of the attempts were okay, but nothing I would want to display to others. When visiting my son and DIL, I became inspired. They have moved into a new home, and have a Texas themed house. Kaitlyn showed me a picture of Texas Wall Art. It was an alphabet with each letter representing something about Texas. She was going to order a print, but was unsure about the size, fearing it might be too small, and be dwarfed by their high ceilings.
I told her I would paint the Texas Alphabet.
And that’s where my new goal, my renewed energy, and my ability to silence the noise of the world now comes from. Painting.
I know I’m not a great artist, but I absolutely love the time I spend with a paintbrush and a blank canvas. When I’m painting, all the problems of the day, and being the middle of the sandwich disappear. Painting clears my mind enough that I am now able to write. The blank page is now filled with words that had evaded me.
In a season of disappointment with my team, and feeling like the sky is falling, I’ve found refuge in all the hues of the rainbow. I’ve accepted a personal challenge, and hope to continue this new adventure as I ease into retirement. As I wait until next year, when football season will begin again, and we will once again dare to dream about a winning season, I will be drawing, painting, and creating a new and better season with a clear mind, and a hopeful heart and soul.
Maybe the hope doesn’t kill you. Maybe it gives you the courage to try something new, even when it feels like the sky is falling.
So for now, I’m going to color my world with hope.
“Art is my cure to all this madness, sadness, and loss of belonging in the world, and through it I’ll walk myself home.” ~Nikki Rowe
Please visit my website and check out my new adventure: Sassy’s Texas heART.
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