Last week at flag football, one of my teammates (who also reads this blog - Hi Jack!) and I got into a heated argument after some bad plays. It was one of those things that bubble up only for a minute or two, and happens mainly between competitive friends. Shortly after we both calmed down, he said to me, half-jokingly, "You know, sometimes I do it on purpose because you play better when you're pissed off."
It's no surprise to hear that. I distinctly remember the Saints losing to the Falcons in the playoffs in New Orleans' charmed season of 1991. Every good Saints fan despises the Falcons already, but two losses in one month to the team was a bit much for my 11-year-old self, who wasn't the emotionally reserved and mature man you see today.
Three days before, I had received a table-hockey game for Christmas (it was actually the third one I got, because the first two were defective, but that's an even longer story). It wasn't the air-hockey kind, but the kind with swiveling and sliding players. My older brother and I went at that game like crazy. As was often the case with everything, he usually won. The score marker went up to 9, so that was always our match point.
On this particular night, we were both fuming over the Saints' loss. It seemed to adversely affect my brother's playing ability, as he was ahead only 7-0. Then it happened.
I don't if it came from within, or if my brother said, "Think of Jerry Glanville." (I had a picture of the Falcons' head coach on my dartboard at this point.) I seem to remember it being both. All of a sudden, it's 7-5. I still lost that night, but my brother made a note about how I play better when I'm pissed.
And then my sister, just shy of 2, choked on a Life Saver and we had to call an ambulance. She was OK after the scare. But it really put all of the games in perspective for me, and made me realize that life and family are most important.
So, naturally, I didn't beat my brother in hockey for a long time after that.
My point is, if I perform better when I'm having a bad time, this next batch of blogs might become the next historical epic, read for generations by scholars, students and fans of literature.
A game of hockey sounds REALLY good about now. It's under my bed. And fortunately, I'm fresh out of Life Savers.