Tuesday, May 6, 2008

You have to earn it

Old James Ryan: Tell me I have led a good life.
Ryan's Wife: What?
Old James Ryan: Tell me I'm a good man.
Ryan's Wife: You *are*.

That's the last lines in the movie Saving Private Ryan. The old James Ryan was visiting the cemetery and looking at Captain Millers cross. Captain Miller ended up being shot in the process of achieving their mission of getting Private Ryan out of the war zone.
I was thinking about that because Private Ryan was at a cross roads the day Captain Miller was killed. Private Ryan realized all the sacrifices that were made so that he could be sent home. He was told by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks Character) to Earn it, to live a good life. -- So towards the end of his life, Spielberg puts us at that graveyard, and the elderly James Ryan asks for reassurance from his wife, He wants to know if he did earn it.
No one died to get me to the point I am at in my life, but I do feel a burden. A sense of having to earn a good life from here on out. The other life I had, which ended up being so miserable in the end, is still the life I knew, I believe I was basically earning a good life before it all got derailed. I still have this feeling in my mind that if only a few things could be changed it could have been a wonderful life. Its not to be though, It frustrates me, because to this day I still cant make any sense of it? I still ask the same questions and wonder the same incredulous thoughts and have the same anger over the details of what went down.
Anyways, My life is what it is now, Bill Parcells will tell you your record is what you are, and I am trying my damnedest to adjust. I cant tell you that I am a family guy, because even though we all want to be 13 and 3 or something like that, I am more like the Dolphins, in that I am clearly a one and fifteen squad right now, and my family, they live in Gainesville. I am a little beaten down, a little weary from the ride. I am the coach of my team as well as the GM though, and in a few years I hope to be back in playoff contention. I will get better at being an every third weekend dad. I am not cut out to be Single forever.
The Dolphins aren't always going to have a losing record either. For now I guess the rebuilding process is kind of exciting. Who is my Jake Long? and seriously, did I just reference my future Girlfriend as a 315 pound left tackle?
I'm like a kid playing with fire who ends up with burn marks all over him. I truly am a pyromaniac, but I'm kind of a dysfunctional pyromaniac, one that's afraid to play with fire.
As far as your average pyromaniac goes, that would suck to be afraid of fire. I am like a vegetarian that deep down, knows I should be sitting at the meat table, cutting off huge swaths of roast beef, dipping it in Horse Radish Sauce and washing it down with Prime Rib. its just a messed up situation. I am a married guy living a single mans existence, right now the exotic vegetables are a treat, but please, how long can you eat salad?
So in the end, when I am that old man, how will I look back on my life, Will I have earned it? or will I be a depressed beaten down single guy moaning and whining about how unfair life is? I can tell you this, until a few years ago, I was climbing that mountain very well, thank you. it was getting better and better, but much like a rock climber that falls, you hope you are able to get back up that mountain. I started climbing the mountain with my wife and even as we re-climb it we will be doing it together, in a separate sort of way, if that makes any sense. because of our children, I want her to have the right ropes and the right equipment. I want her fingers to grip on to the crevices well, and to a degree, we will each be tied together with safety ropes. You hope the learning curve helps speed up the process. You hope Jake Long doesn't turn out to be the next Tony Mandarich. (Mandarich was a number two overall pick who didn't do anything much in the NFL except have some really cool tattoos, if you are into that sort of thing)
In the end, what I make of my life from here on out needs to be better then what I had been working on before it all completely disintegrated. And its my fault for letting it get that far, If I would have stood my ground and insisted on how stupid everything was the first time I had to pull out 10k from our 401k, maybe things would be different. Some day when I am old and looking back, will I think of the time between now and that far off distant day as a struggle? or will I eventually look at this transition time and whatever happens, as a blessing in disguise? Will my relationship with my kids be strong? Will I ever own a house or a condo again? Will we ever find a quarterback, Is Jake Long the next Mandarich or is he the next Jonathan Ogden?


Rick said...




Bill From Gainesville said...

Rick, so true- Mandarich was a number two overall, I still think the analogy works though.

Quin Browne said...

the more i read you, the more i <3 your blog...

i had the big turn around in life... no huge details, this isn't my playground. here is how i look at it, though...

every day, i get up... if the terrier isn't chewing on my dead ass, it's a great start.

life is about hope, and hope is, well, hope is a trojan horse. it's beautifully carved, painted, decorated and set just *there* for us to marvel at, to wonder about, to reach for... to open.

some days, it is full of shit. but, some days...some days, the wonders of the universe are there.

so, every day, i open it... i like surprises.

as long as clowns aren't involved. or grasshoppers.

Bill From Gainesville said...

Quinn -- first off, HUGE fan of your writing...Second, you are absolutely correct about the hope stuff. In the end I realized I would never have hope for my future if I stayed with my wife and even though leaving her means I have to leave my kids to a degree, I have to have hope and I will stay involved with my kids. third, -- I am with you on the clowns--