I completely missed the first football game of the season for the New England Patriots. This might sound surprising if I had shared this information only a year ago, but in 2020 I’m convinced it’s not as shocking (or rare) as one might think. With our world in turmoil, many of our ‘normally scheduled programs’ have been disrupted entirely and completely. Sporting events represent only one of these chaotic and fractured markets. And yet, the human spirit endures, the determination to establish normalcy prevails, and we witness a new, adapted arena for our athletic combats.

If you haven’t read my posts before I share my thoughts on matters at hand. Sometimes they may be relevant to current events, sometimes they may be interesting only to a select few, sometimes they may even be insightful. Ultimately they are my thoughts at a moment in time, perhaps fallible (is that a universal trait?) and likely full of passion. My desire in sharing them with you is to encourage you to think as well. Don’t blindly consume opinions and ideas of others; rather think for yourself, establish your own opinion, and be capable of expressing it with grace and poise.

Whew, I have rambled entirely too long, let’s try to get this post back on track. Here are my recent musings around the topic of preparation and the road ahead.

The Prep

As I contemplated the upcoming football games, I realize that while this may be their first publicized events and the first opportunity to demonstrate their on-field prowess for the praise of others, this is not the first game they have played. In fact, the National Football League originally allowed pre-season training to continue as scheduled in April. I believe there were some modifications made to these dates as things unfolded and full-contact play wasn’t permitted until August, but regardless of the specifics there was most certainly significant preparation and many practices held before stepping out onto the field to play last night.

How many passes were thrown before connecting with the receiver in practice? How many tackles missed? Each time, the team returns to the line and runs the play again. Practice. Fail. Repeat. (Oh, and for the cynics, they do the same thing after a success too.) Repetition reigns supreme in preparation.

Only Prep

The second memory which impacts my thinking this morning on the subject of preparation comes back from a conversation with my oldest daughter around the dinner table. Schools have also been drastically impacted in their process and extracurricular activities as well. Unfortunately, whereas the professional business of American football will attempt to reopen and stay in business, schools are under no such dire obligation and choose instead to reduce or completely remove games from any sports calendars.

What does this mean for the high school field hockey team? All the practice - none of the performance. As you can imagine, without the beguiling siren song of victory before a crowd, the daily grind of unseen practice is hardly appealing.

My Prep

And now a new thought enters my mind and swirls around. How do I apply this to myself? What does this mean for me? (No, I don’t mean my daughter’s lack of practice interest or missing a football game.) If I’m attempting to truly contemplate my situation seeking correlations, then I am ashamed to admit, but forced to proffer, my writing schedule and delivery. I have taken a much needed hiatus from blogging in order to recharge my engines, rejuvenate my thinking, and restore some of my creative chi. But the time has come. I have so many new ideas and thoughts to share and I simply must pick up the pen (keyboard just doesn’t have the same ring to it).

But before performance there must be practice. There must be, in writing, just as elsewhere, a time spent honing a craft, improving a skill, or perhaps for the more accomplished a dusting off of the linguistic mastery (of which I fall woefully short). I must practice writing and sharing my thoughts.

Your Patience

Aside from starting to run out, your patience is the aspect of your character I appreciate and call upon the most. For you see, as I begin to share my thoughts again in writing, I must rely on your patience to endure the strident, disjointed, and sometimes chaotic manner my thoughts may take as I share them.

I’ve got some ideas to share. I have some great big things I’ve been thinking about and I want to share them with you, all of them. I believe it will be worth your time.

Our Path

I promise ideas will become more clear and my words will flow better as the days continue and the muscle memory of effective communication is strengthened. We have exciting days ahead of us.

I’ve been thinking, have you?

Oh, are you curious where we’re going next? I’ll be honest with you -