Monthly Archives: January 2013
From time to time, we stop and remind ourselves to enjoy some of the amazing things we’ve experienced in our lives. For me, it happened, again, Monday as I participated in my third Presidential Inauguration. I remember years ago when I was in fifth grade and the son of a family friend attended the Inauguration. I had him come speak to my class about his experience. I remember thinking how incredible that all must have been…never expecting that one day I would have my own memories from three of them. We’re reminded to, at some point on “game day,” stop and take a look around and take in all that we see and realize that we are a part of history in the making.
It’s at these times when I also remind myself just who I am. At my core, I’m just a small town girl. It wasn’t all that small to me when I was growing up, but after living away from home for several years, I realize it was just that. People like me aren’t supposed to grow up and become employees of an organization responsible for orchestrating one of the most important ceremonies of our entire country. And then I remember I’m not alone.
This time around I had the privilege to work on the Inauguration with some of my very favorite people. There’s the one who grew up on a farm (he may call it a ranch) in New Mexico who has brought so much joy and support to my life that I can’t imagine my life without him. And the one who is adopted and makes me wonder what if he hadn’t been adopted. Would he have ever been who he is today? He can drive me bananas, but when he gets out of bed the morning after the Inauguration (after working the previous two months on a 24/7 schedule) and comes to work just to give me a hug and thank me for my hard work, I forget about the bananas because he’s the one who’s been through all three of these with me and he KNOWS what surviving one of these (much less three) really means. Or the one who grew up in a small town in Michigan, the only son of parents who own the local hardware store. He’s the one who worked and saved his money so he could afford to move to Washington, DC without a job, so he could look for one once he got here. He’s the one who keeps a smile on my face…whose eyes everyone should get to see the planning of the Inauguration through. There’s the sweet girl who’s the daughter of one of my favorite office managers. It’s her face that lights up when she sees me walk in the room. It’s her I stop by and see to make sure she’s keeping her sanity and isn’t going to cry herself to sleep over the stress. The one I tell “everything’s going to be ok” and “it’s in no way, shape or form her fault that something stupid just happened.” There’s the lady whose laugh is contagious. Who has some of the best advice in the world and two of the greatest listening ears ever created. She’s our fearless leader and the one who escorts the Vice President to his seat and instead of clapping and cheering for a Vice President I really do adore, I yell at the top of my lungs in excitement and pride for her because she’s my friend and she just escorted the freaking Vice President of the United States to his freaking seat on freaking national television.
That’s when I stop and ask myself, “how does this happen?” How do all these people come together at this very moment…having known each other for years…and end up planning and orchestrating an event of this magnitude with practically perfect precision? The small town girl, the New Mexico farm boy, the crazy adopted dude, the Michigan blue collar kid, the Capitol Hill legacy, and the fearless leader pulled it off with a lot of help from a lot of new faces who quickly became old friends, too.
Somewhere along the way I stop and say it doesn’t matter just how each of us made it to this very moment in time. It only matters that we did because looking back, I realize I wouldn’t have wanted to go through this experience with any other group of people. Together we made history, we recorded memories, and we changed lives…including our own.
So here we sit. It’s been 295 days since Peyton signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos on March 20, 2012. Truth be told since he came into the league, he’s only reached the end of a season with the last team standing once, so I’ve spent 90% of his career not smiling at the end of a season. But something funny happened on Saturday night despite my “shout heard round the world” when Jacoby Jones scored on a 70 yard TD pass to send the game into overtime for an eventual loss to the Ravens. (Seriously, if you didn’t hear me scream, you should get your hearing checked.) I smiled…at the end of a season that didn’t include Peyton’s team raising the Lombardi trophy…I smiled. Why was I so “ok” with it? Why was I, dare I say, happy? And then it hit me…at some point between last season’s sadness and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, I re-evaluated how I view the end of a season.
And it turns out Peyton felt the same way:
“When you take a year off from football, you come back for all the enjoyable moments,” Manning said. “When you’re not playing, you miss out on all the highs, but you also miss these disappointments. But I would rather be in the arena to be excited or be disappointed than not have a chance at all. That’s football. That’s why everybody plays it. You have to be able to take the good with the bad.”
“You can’t do it right away, but as the sun continues to shine every morning you do take some time to reflect on some good things that happened this year. It’s certainly not the finish that we wanted, but I think it’s a mistake if you don’t reflect on some of the good things.”
Ten months ago when the Colts decided they no longer needed his services, I absolutely was completely unsure if he would ever play football, again. It was an uphill battle for him to not only prove to NFL teams that he could still play the game, but convince them enough to invest a significant chunk of their salary cap in him. When he finally made his decision, he landed himself smack dab in the middle of Colorado with the Denver Broncos, a franchise I hadn’t necessarily been all that fond of in previous years, but I accepted it for two reasons: Peyton was satisfied with his choice and the Broncos WANTED him unlike his previous employer. Of course this didn’t stop me from cringing at the thought of him running out on that field and taking that first big hit. My hope ten months ago was that he would survive the season. My hope was that he would be given the opportunity to get his legs back under him and his arm back into the swing of things. I got a lot more than I hoped for or expected.
I got Eric Decker, Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, Elvis Dumervil, Knowshon Moreno, Wesley Woodyard, Joel Dreessen, Champ Bailey…just to name a few. I never expected to fall in a love with this team so quickly. I never expected to have so much fun watching them play. And somewhere along the way, I became a Broncos fan. Somewhere in the middle of a season I could’ve only dreamed of, I suddenly felt like Peyton had been a Bronco his entire career. The season felt more like they were out in the backyard just throwing the ball around. And I realized the reason I was having so much fun watching them play was because THEY were having fun playing. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the last time I saw Peyton have this much fun.
So here we are 10 months later. And of course I would have cherished a Super Bowl victory, but knowing where this all started and never expecting this team that entered week 6 with a 2-3 record and won their 1st of 11 straight games in incredible fashion, made the playoffs with 4 games left, and then ended up the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs, how in the world could I be anything but happy, thrilled, thankful, and excited…for the future.
If I can have this much fun as a rookie fan of the Broncos…I can’t wait to see what’s next. I couldn’t script Peyton’s twilight years in the NFL any better than this if I tried. He needed a place where the organization and fan base would let him be himself…where he could do everything in his power to reward them for their belief in him…where he could eventually sail off into the sunset on his terms and not the terms of some doctor’s scalpel…where he could get back to the pure joy of playing football…where he could have fun, fun, fun til daddy takes the t-bird away.