Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Okay, okay, so the regular season for the NFL doesn't start until September.  Nevertheless, I'm stupid excited about football already.  I was relieved to see the NFL lockout come to an end so teams could start making personnel and player moves, training camps can get underway in time, and we can go about planning our fantasy season -- live draft included -- without a cloud of uncertainty hanging over our heads.  Since the lockout was long, and no one could lock out coaches, owners, and managers from thinking, discussing, and planning player moves, the result was a flurry of activity yesterday -- player trades, free agent signings, rumors of possible moves, etc.

One of the biggest surprises to me was the Seattle Seahawks' signing of QB Tarvaris Jackson, a former Minnesota Viking who has largely ridden the pine with the likes of Brooks Bollinger and John David Booty.  He might have been Brett Favre's backup for the past couple of seasons, but he ain't no Aaron Rodgers.  For whatever reason, though, it looks like the Seahawks are putting Jackson under center (though the possibility remains that he will compete with another mediocre QB for the starting role, as the team was attempting to sign Matt Leinart as well) and paying him $8 million over two years to do so. 

I was out at a bar with some friends last night (I know, I know....on a Tuesday!) when I saw the byline on ESPN announcing this.  Any avid Bears fan would know how this guy plays, seeing as we face our NFC North rivals at least twice a year.  Having seen him play that long, I was surprised to see that he was snatched up so quickly, presumably to be the starting quarterback.  My first thought was, "I wonder what Brian will say."  Damn.  That hasn't happened in a while.

I had to take a moment to process the thought that had popped into my head.  I looked out the large window (we were in an open-air kind of bar) and just stared for a few seconds, not really looking at anything, just having a quiet, internal "widow moment."

When I came back to reality, I wondered if anyone had seen me suddenly flinch and turn away from the TV, or the subsequent longing, sad stare outside.  It hadn't taken long -- maybe 20 seconds total -- but these moments do still happen.  A year and a half later, I still have the occasional illogical thought, where I almost forget that he's gone, followed by the pang of remembering. 

My "widow moments" don't just come up when I have those "Oh, maybe it's Brian calling" moments, which are admittedly growing more rare as time passes.  There are so many other triggers -- seeing an ambulance, hearing a voice like his (though none have sounded quite the same), stumbling upon something of his at home, or even random memories and images popping into my head for no apparent reason.  I know there are plenty of times when I mentally depart from my surroundings, taken away by pain no one else can see.  I'm sure I look like I'm zoning out or something, eyes unfocused and glazed, mouth hanging open, oblivious to what's going on around me.  I just didn't expect a mediocre quarterback to take me there last night. 

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