Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Universal Truths

Pride goeth before a fall.

I wasn't sure if Ben Franklin or Jesus said that, so I Googled it. Turns out it's in the Old Testament...Proverbs. Proverbs is not only a book in the Bible, it's a word we use to identify statements of truth, universal statements of truth. This particular proverb shows up in every religion, every culture. The Greeks called it hubris, and nothing got a mythological character in trouble faster.

Sooooo, in my 100th post, I bragged on my baby steps toward self-improvement. "I didn't throw a fit over a silly game of golf. Go me!" I felt good about that accomplishment, proud even. I was growing into a mature adult, leaving sore loserville behind.

Then Saturday came, and I proved that proverbs are universal truth.

Saturday was Bruce's staff Christmas party. We never just sit around eating, drinking, and making merry at a football party. These are coaches, by god, and they are all about competition. Kinda makes sense that I married one, doesn't it? Anyway, Ellen, the head coach's wife, always has some big tournament planned for the Christmas party, and the prizes aren't anything to sneeze at. Cold hard cash is involved. Combine a room full of highly competitive people, the spirits of the season, and cash...honestly, I'm surprised we still like each other when it's over. I haven't seen the linebackers' coach since Saturday, but I'm still composing the apology I owe him.

Ellen organized a Catch-Phrase tournament this year. You know, the word game where you give clues to your partner so they'll say the word or phrase that pops up on the screen. She broke everyone up into offense and defense, and then divided the various tables up so that offensive coaches and wives played against defensive coaches and wives. To make everything nice and even, she had to make some arbitrary assignments. She put the athletic trainer and his wife on team defense which would have been fine if she hadn't apologized for it. "I'm sorry, Randy. I had to put you and Amy on defense."

Sorry? Really? Ummmm...the only thing standing between the other team's quarterback and the end zone is the DEFENSE! Are you sorry when the defense puts the quarterback on his ass? I think not. Offense may win games, but another proverb, universal truth as it were, is that defense wins championships.

Yes, my husband is the defensive line coach, and yes, my hackles were standing up when the game started. In the first round, I was paired up with the linebackers' coach. Picture me banging my head against the table. It's been three days, and I'm still not over it.

I had the electronic thingy first, and the phrase was "Anakin Skywalker." Piece of cake, right?

"Luke's father," I say

"Darth Vadar," says Shan.

"Yes!! But it's his name before he became Darth Vadar!"


"YES!! I need his first name too."

Blank stare until the buzzer sounds an obnoxious end to the time. Point to team offense. I took a deep breath, cracked my neck to relieve tension, and shook it off. Anakin is hard, and although it's a piece of pop culture almost everyone knows, Shan is definitely not a Star Wars geek. We restart the electronic thingy, and offense quickly gets their phrase correct. Now Shan has the electronic thingy.

"Oh!" He shouts dramatically.

"Oh Brother, where art thou!" I shout back.

"No. Guys like to be called this."

"Dude, bro, man, strong, tough..."

I listed every appellation or adjective I could think of. Shan sits, staring blankly at the screen. Finally, as the electronic thingy is beeping wildly, indicating the buzzer is about to sound, Shan shouts, "HE'S A LOVER!"

Huh? My clues are "OH!", "Guys like to be called this," and "HE'S A LOVER!" Before I could say WTF, the buzzers sounds. Point to team offense. The word Shan wants me to say???



Honestly, what's the first thing anyone else in the English-speaking world would say? Juliet, maybe? This one really stuck in my craw because Romeo and Juliet is part of my ninth grade core content. There are a hundred things Shan could have said that would've made me say "Romeo".....starting with JULIET!

In the next two rounds, I had different partners, and we kicked ass and took names. At the end of the tournament, couples added their points together and the highest totals won. Bruce and I came in third overall, and we did leave with cash. Third place cash. Anakin Skywalker and ROMEO could have meant second or even first place cash. I harangued poor Shan mercilessly the rest of the evening, and I will apologize the next time I see him. He's a truly nice guy who doesn't deserve my crazy, sore loser alter-ego.

Oh hubris, you have been the fatal flaw of greater characters than I, but you can add me to your list of the fallen. I am appropriately humbled.

(For the record...the first, second, and third place couples were all on team defense. It's a mindset. Offense thinks about scoring points. Defense thinks about crushing the enemy, proving that universal truth that defense wins championships.)

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