A week ago, my attention was profoundly affected by the upcoming Denver Broncos game. I was, along with a number of other Americans, completely immersed in all the hoopla leading up Peyton Manning's return to Indianapolis. How would this wily veteran respond to this homecoming? Would there be any grudges held? How would he feel about returning to the field where he delivered so many division championships? So many wins? So many touchdowns? That Super Bowl ring?
When it was all over, the Broncos had lost, and those of us who were wearing our hearts on our orange and blue sleeves had tasted defeat for the first time this season. It was a sad day.
I went to school the next morning, feeling like I must gird myself form the inevitable joshing that I, as the lone Denver fan in an Oakland public school, was bound to receive. I was grateful that I received only a modicum of razzing. I was even surprised by a measure of sympathy from the football fans who had fully expected Peyton Manning and his newly supercharged team to march through their season without a loss. I came home and commiserated with my family, who understood my affliction.
And something happened in that evening: I began to consider how I felt, and compared it to the feelings that Peyton Manning might be having. Not only did he lose in front of the crowd that used to call him theirs, but he took a couple of wicked hits that caused the normally unflappable one to become, well, flapped. I didn't have to suit up, nor did I get tossed to the ground by a three hundred pound lineman. I sat on the couch and watched. My wife brought me dinner, and I stared into the screen, hoping that somehow my concern rays would somehow influence the outcome of this spectator sports mega-show. When the final gun sounded, and the Broncos had failed to mount a last-minute come-from-behind win, I was devastated. But I wasn't battered, bruised, in need of medical attention, and still have to talk to a room full of reporters devastated.
Things were looking up for me, I figured. The schedule offered another chance at redemption for Peyton and me the following week, and keeping my priorities straight was probably key to our collective future success. Then, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, my dog died. Suddenly I had my perspective forced. I hope that Peyton's dog is healthy and happy. We could all use a break this weekend.