The Big Game
Life is like a game, or a game is like life; something to that effect. And just like a ball game our lives go through different phases. We may have all the momentum at one point, and be in a slump at another. Just as a team calls a timeout, we may need a vacation.
We all start out needing some serious coaching. We can't do anything for ourselves, this is where parenting comes in. We are unpolished rookies and need some basic instructions. Our coaches see potential, and they teach us valuable lessons that we later teach our own rookies. These lessons can also keep us out of trouble with the referees, and ultimately, the penalty box.
The first quarter, for the most part, is about learning the ropes. Life is easy, nothing complicated, responsibility is a distant thought. Some of us have easier first quarters than others, it all depends on the coaches. Many of us look back at the early years fondly, with a sense of youthful exuberance. Others had it pretty tough, and this has led to problems in the later quarters. The first quarter, while a learning experience and lots of fun for many of us, can shape the way the game is played down the road.
The second quarter can be the most exciting. This is the time when we become independent.. This could mean college, traveling, and for most of us, making bad decisions. Through our twenties and thirties many of us will marry and even start our own team- ahem, family. We build our foundation and prepare for future quarters during this time. This is a broad stretch that can determine how the game will end. Not to say there can't be a comeback, but it helps to play well in the second quarter.
Upon middle age we get to halftime. Now is the time to make adjustments. Even if you've played two lousy quarters, it's never to late to change it up. Some of us may even go back to our coaches for a pep talk, we're never too old for coaching. We start to realize that although we can't do the things we used to do, we are able to do things that we couldn't do before. Whatever the score at this point, hopefully we have another half left. Now get back out there and show 'em what ya got!
The third quarter is different for everyone. While some are making up for lost time, others are starting to settle in to their roles as General Managers - grandparents, or empty nesters. The third quarter can be a great time to make changes too. Realizing past mistakes and making amends, or rekindling a love that took a back seat during the hectic life of raising a family, either way the third quarter is what you make of it.
The fourth quarter, or the golden years can be both great and difficult. Many of us enjoy the fourth quarter gracefully as it comes to a peaceful conclusion. It can be a time of reflection and joyful memories. Stories are told, and lessons are passed to others. Sometimes it's a more painful ending, with confusion and regret. The game is starting to wind down, and whether it's been a classic game, or a dud, they all have to end.
Not always. There are those who force overtime. We usually read about these people. The 102 year old man that skinny dips in Lake Michigan in March. Or the 110 year old birthday girl that still smokes. These people are the exception, four quarters is not enough and they have forced extra innings. Congratulations to them.
And now for the cheesy post game analysis. No matter how many quarters we get in the game of life, it's more about how we play the game than how long we play it. How we treat others and what kind of legacy we leave for future players. We all have our own beliefs, way of doing things, and values, and we all have to play the game together. So here's to a great game, enjoy.