--> Forty-two years ago tonight my life changed in a heartbeat. An instant in time has affected many people in one way or another. Unaware of what was about to happen, my head football coach, Milt Osterberg, called me into the game to replace an injured teammate. It was about halfway through the second quarter and Owatonna was driving again.
Owatonna had two excellent running backs, and they were chewing up yardage
all night long. We were undersized and inexperienced compared to the entire
Owatonna team. When I was called into the game, little did I know as I ran out
on the field those would be the last steps I would ever run. That is why they call
Some of you have read my book entitled "I Still Believe In
Tomorrow" and know all the details of what happened those last three
minutes of my first life. I have always told people I felt I had two lives. I
lived to be sixteen in my first life, and tonight I start the forty-third year
of my second life.
It is incomprehensible for me to believe it has been forty-two years
already. I cannot tell you where the time has gone. I am sure many of my older
readers often feel the same way. Where have our lives gone?
I once heard an analogy about life being like a roll of toilet paper. I will
paraphrase, but it went something like this, "Life is like a roll of
toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes."
I do not know how you feel about it, but I believe that analogy is spot on.
I remember in my first life how time could not move fast enough. When I was a
first grader, I wanted to be in junior high. When I was in junior high, I could
not wait to be in high school so I could play the varsity sports, football,
basketball and track and field. Then, I played baseball all summer long. Those
last two summers before I got hurt were idyllic for a young, athletic, wanna be
growing up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota. Worthington had
everything I wanted or needed.
Sure, the Vietnam War was raging in Southeast Asia, but that had nothing to
do with me because I was not going to war when I graduated. I was going to go
play basketball on a college scholarship. My mother had three brothers who did
four tours of duty in Vietnam. She wrote letters to them and sent them
religiously. When they wrote back and told her where they were, she would put a
pin on our Vietnam map hanging on the kitchen wall to show us where one of them
was at any given time.
We know better now more times than not they were lying to her about where
they really were and the kind of danger they were in. But the kind of men they
are, they did not want Mom to worry.
As per my regular writing style I have wandered off course again from the
point of this post. I believe tonight it may be intentional.
I am writing this about the time I would have left home to go get my ankles
taped in preparation of the game. I was so nervous; I left early and was the
second person to arrive at our locker room. Ben Horak was one of our
co-captains and he was already at the locker room when I got there. I do not
know who was more nervous, Ben or me.
As everyone started to arrive, along with coaches, managers and other
players tension in the locker room was starting to build, as was the noise. I
remember lying down on that cool, concrete floor using my helmet as a pillow
and trying to relax. I could not relax as this feeling that had been with me all
day was getting more intense. I later learned it was my intuition.
That is a whole other story! I go into greater detail in my book about intuition
and how males are taught not to listen to it. We are taught to suck it up, it
is just nerves and you will get over it.
Once we hit the field for warm-ups, the feeling went away a little bit;
but it was still there and I was not going to listen to it. I remember
everything from that night; and those feelings always come back every year on
September third. My anniversary is always a melancholy day, and this year was
no different. Writing about it always helps, and this has helped me immensely
put up this post. Thanks for reading.
For those of you that do not know, I am not actually writing this. I
have a Mac Mini with voice recognition software called Dragon Dictate. I have
actually been speaking this entire post. That explains why I have made it so
long! I hope you enjoyed my rambling.
As always, I look forward to your comments.