Yesterday, I spent the morning getting
ready for my first “day job” sale of the year.
At noon, I went out to run a couple of errands and pick up lunch for
Christina and me. The first errand was a
trip to C.T. Garvin’s Feed Store, where I bought cracked corn for the pigeons
and squirrels and suet for the starlings, grackles, and woodpeckers. Garvin’s is a throwback to earlier
years. Unlike a lot of throwbacks, it
does a thriving business, and people seem to enjoy shopping there.
As I pulled away from the loading dock,
Virgo that I am, I began planning the rest of the trip in my head. That’s when I remembered that Christina had
just mentioned that we were on our last package of paper. With that in mind, the plan came together – North on Pulaski Pike, stop at Staples, then
go further north on Pulaski to Oakwood, turn right and go to Golden Star. Don’t call in the order. Order at the counter and read a book while
waiting. OK, that’s a plan.
At Pulaski and University, I got caught
by one of the longest holding traffic lights in Huntsville. I’d been sitting at the light for about
thirty seconds when I heard a siren. I
looked west, in the direction of the sound, just as a fire truck blasted out of
the station about three quarters of mile west of my position. A second fire truck was hard behind the first
one. In moments, they were at the
intersection of Pulaski and University, running hard, in the center lane of
University which is six lanes at the intersection. I had a gut feeling they were going to turn
south on Pulaski and do it without braking. I was right.
Having been in trucking for many years,
I have an ingrained appreciation for good driving, and I saw a marvelous
display of it in the next few seconds.
Moving like the lead planes in a Blue Angels formation the two trucks
negotiated the turn perfectly, gaining speed as they ate up the asphalt at an
ever increasing rate of seed.
Now, why I’m sharing this two minute
segment of my day with you? Here’s why.
As the fire trucks turned, I was in a perfect position to see the faces
of each of the firemen in the crew-cab trucks.
Their expressions and focus were identical: eyes fixed straight ahead, determination, and
commitment, to the power of ten, was their common visage. The sight gave me goose bumps and transported
my mind to another place and another time – Vietnam, 1967 and 1968. What I saw was the look that has become known
today as their game face.
The light changed, and I moved across
Pulaski. Suddenly I thought of November
5, 2011. I’m not a true
football fan. I’m an Alabama football
fan, thanks to Bear Bryant. I’ve even
spread Alabama fever to Christina and Adrienne.
We were gathered around the TV to watch undefeated Alabama play
undefeated LSU, at Bryant-Denny Stadium, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Everyone who follows college football knew
that the winner would come away from the contest holding the undisputed number
When Alabama came out of the tunnel and
ran onto the field, Christina exclaimed, “They are not ready for this game.”
Optimist to the end, I said, “They’ll
be alright.” But deep inside, I
It was a game of field goals. No touchdowns were scored and at the end of
regulation play the score was tied at 6 points each. In overtime, Alabama missed a field goal and
LSU made one. Final score, LSU 9 Alabama
As luck, and from my point of view, a
bit of intervention from the gods of football, would have it, Alabama and LSU
finished the season ranked 1 and 2 and were matched against each other for the
Jan 9th Bowl Championship Series to determine the number one team in
Thursday, Jan 5th, four days
before the game and exactly two months since their meeting in Tuscaloosa, I
turned on the TV to get an update. As
luck would have it, Alabama had just finished their first practice session in
the New Orleans Superdome and that’s what two sports commentators were talking
about. Actually, one was talking and the
other was listening and nodding his head in agreement.
“Jerry, I’ve never seen anything like
that. Have you?”
Before Jerry could reply, the first
commentator continued, “We’re still four days from the game and Alabama had its
game face on – every player, every coach, even the student assistants were
wearing their game face. They got off
the bus wearing their game face….”
That was all of the conversation I
could stomach, so I turned off the TV, but I did so with a confident feeling,
in spite of knowing that most of the “experts” predicted another LSU
At 7:30 PM (Elvis time), Monday,
January 9th, the Alabama football team burst onto the Superdome
field. This time Christina said, “That’s
better. They are going to win this time.”
Adrienne, without looking away from the
scene that was unfolding five hundred miles south of us, said, “Yep, I can see
Once again, they were right. Final score, Alabama 21 LSU 0, and worth
noting, LSU never crossed midfield. The
difference, summed up in one two words, GAME FACE.
Game face isn’t an act. Game face is the outward expression of a
person’s commitment, dedication, and willingness to do whatever is necessary to
achieve the desired outcome.
How’s your game face looking today?