That other great sports day – January 3, 2009

The day started out with Jay’s MLAA hockey game vs. the Blackhawks. It was cold, but as usual all his teammates arrived more than 30 minutes early and were warming up before the game. Jay and his teammates got off to their usual early lead and the (now 9 – 1) Rangers won the game. I enjoyed watching all the kids do well, but I especially enjoyed watching Jay fearlessly battle kids much bigger and older than him (he did a nice job and showed no fear), and near the end of the first period Jay scored with a one-timer off a great pass from his left wing, Jimmy.

A few hours later, I watched the Arizona Cardinals win their first home playoff game in more than 60 years. (I recognize how distorted that statistic is… and normally such misleading info is a pet peeve of mine, but my son really bought into it, so I’ll restate it here for effect.) The Cards jumped out an early 14 – 3 lead, before the Falcons came storming back. It was a lot of fun to watch, and although I do like the Falcons (since the Jerry Glanville days – eep, yes…), I was very happy to see the Cardinals come out on top!

And then… the San Diego Super Chargers beat Peyton Manning to advance in the AFC playoffs.

I don’t hate Peyton Manning. I hated John Elway – not for any good reason other than as the result of a sports rivalry. But Peyton Manning…. Peyton Manning bugs me because he’s not Ryan Leaf. Back when the Chargers drafted Ryan Leaf, I was happy they’d landed Leaf instead of Manning. (I know… I know…, but that day a lot of people were). Now Manning stands as a constant reminder of everything that Leaf was not. Add to the fact that his brother, Eli, and father spurned San Diego (although I can’t really complain because that’s how the Chargers landed Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman).

Anyway, I don’t hate Peyton. He is just the opponent who scares me the most. His strengths, his talents, his skills… they match the Chargers’ weaknesses. So, when the Chargers face the Colts, I get that nervous pit in my stomach… and their eventual victory (if and when it comes) is that much sweeter.

Last night was sweet.

I’ll admit, I felt like the Chargers might lose. I felt they were dominating, but Manning had caught them for that go-ahead touchdown during a substitution. There was that Charger fumble at the 2 yd line, and Rivers’ interception in the endzone. Everything pointed to the Chargers outplaying the Colts but losing the game (shades of Shottenheimer’s last game coaching against the Pats… the 14-2 season that ended with a devastating loss). But they did it.

And you probably heard Jay screaming with joy. These are great moments to be able to share with him and my family, and I am so grateful and appreciative of the chance to be here with them doing just that.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)


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