I’ve got a list of life lessons I like to follow to ensure maximum happiness. I’ve written before about my advocacy for fun.
Here’s another life lesson to take with you: Try not to sweat the stuff out of your control.
I under that’s a tough one to swallow, especially those people of faith who believe their wishes are a prayer away.
Trust me. Once you stop worrying about what you cannot control, your life is much simpler.
This has made me become a much saner sports fan. That playoff run by the Philadelphia Eagles back in the 2007 season didn’t end in the NFC Championship because I forgot to tie my shoelaces a certain way. It was because the Eagles are great at going down double digits, then coming back to give you enough hope to ultimately lose on a doomed turnover on downs play. (I swear I’m not still salty about this.)
Hope allegedly died in me years ago. Life as a sports fan since then have been wonderful, or so I thought. When my teams lost, I didn’t care. I didn’t sweat the stuff out of my control.
But then a crazy thing happened this past football season. The Eagles started to get win after win, doing it even after suffering those injuries. They lost their starting quarterback in Week 14 — a quarterback who would have won the league MVP award had he not been injured the final three games of the regular season.
No matter, they became the number one team out the conference, snuck by Atlanta, beat down Minnesota and hope came back to me. I knew by the end of the Super Bowl, I’d have tears of joy or tears of regret because hope came back to me.
A Philly Special, a strip sack and 41 points later, the Eagles knocked off New England to become Super Bowl champions for the first time ever.
Hope is a heck of a thing.
If you’ve been watching the FIFA Men’s World Cup, you’ve noticed that (as of press time), England have made it to the semifinals. Since college I’ve followed a lot of English soccer, making the mistake (as friends have told me) of becoming a fan of Arsenal F.C. Knowing the history and knowing the relatively young squad (according to statista.com, England are tied for 2nd in youngest average age, behind only Nigeria), the Three Lions were not picked to go far in the tournament.
But after that game against Colombia happened, hope is back.
England gave up an equalizing goal in the 93rd minute to force extra time. With no goals in extras, the Three Lions were doomed to repeat the history of never winning a penalty shootout in the Men’s World Cup. According to Ben Lyttleton of The Guardian, going into that penalty shootout, England had three defeats from three World Cup shootouts, six defeats in seven shootouts in major tournaments.
“And with a 14 percent win percentage,” Lyttleton wrote, “[England have] the worst [percentage] of any national team with more than five shootouts to their name.”
England won the shootouts 4-3.
Hope is back. How could a tournament like this end in any other way than a victory for England? It’s poetic.
We’re a few weeks away from two-a-days. I know, I hear the groans, but school is coming back. Whether we like it or not.
What I like about this time of year, specifically for fall sports, is that hope is at its peak around the state. There are athletes finishing up their offseason training in hopes of it making a difference come playoff time when fall inches closer to winter.
By the way, England advanced to the semifinals with a bit less drama, beating Sweden 2-0 on July 7. And as of press time I’m hoping they beat Croatia, just so that I don’t look silly in about half of my column on Thursday morning when many of you will be reading this.
Hope. It’s a heck of a thing.