Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Drake and Buddy

Followers of the blog are well aware of Buddy, B and I's four legged child. But you might not be fully aware of Drake. When I was in late middle school/early high school we adopted a white west highland terrier. The name Drake comes from a video game called Legend of Legaia which, at that time, was my favorite.

Drake now lives with my mom in Broken Arrow, OK, so I only get to see him once or twice a year. But before I left for college, Drake and I were inseparable. The phrase "man's best friend" was invented to describe Drake and I's friendship. This picture above is what Drake would look like, if we could keep his hair clean for longer than 2 minutes.

Drake doesn't shed, which is a good thing. But a corollary of not shedding is the same dirty hair stays attached the dog for eternity. Buddy's hair remains white as the driven snow, partially because he sheds an entire coats worth of hair in 24 hours. Fresh hair = clean hair = Buddy is always white = our couch is always covered in hair. Not Drake. As a result Drake leaves less hair in the house, but a more accurate name for his breed might be "off-white west highland terrier."

I brought my computer into the living room early this morning to work on my lesson plans* which turned into watching videos on NFL.com. Right now is a good time for this, as my Atlanta Falcons have a 12-2 record, only matched by the New England Patriots. If they can beat the Saints on Monday night and secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they'll have a great chance of playing the big game in Arlington.

One of the things I love about the Falcons and their head coach, Mike Smith, is that are a balanced, intentional, and consistent football team. They do not have as many "big plays" as the Eagles, Patriots, or Chargers. There aren't as many spectacular highs during their games where they take a big chance and succeed! And there aren't as many lows where take a chance and fail. But they can pound the ball down your throat drive after drive after drive. After the first half of the Seahawks game, the Falcons had twice as many plays as Seattle! This is especially impressive considering the Seahawks started the first half with the ball!

I'm about to make a potentially absurd correlation between two distinct idea, but bear with me. Or stop reading, either way here I go:

The Falcons are a successful low-risk team and the Patriots are a successful high-risk team. If these two teams represent two philosophies of life, I would choose the Falcons over the Patriots. If the Falcons represent a life philosophy of measured, intentional, and (dare I say?) conservative living, then the Patriots represent more emotional, daring, and risky behavior. I'm averse to drastic fluctuations of emotions. Super highs following by crushing lows... That's probably why I was ready to move on from being a teenager by age 14. It's also probably why I get frustrated working with 14/15-year-olds. Their lives are the swings of a pendulum.

Recently I've spent alot of time thinking about my emotional life. In college I was described as "steady," "even keel," and "consistent." I interpreted these descriptions as very positive comments. Recently I've been described as reserved, distant, and difficult to relate to -- a decidedly negative spin. My behavior hasn't changed, I don't think. I'm not sure why the interpretation has changed. Possibly as my friends/community have changed their expectations for emotional depth and connection have changed. Also as my primary role/identity has changed the expectations for relational depth have changed as well.

No conclusions here, because I'm not sure how to think about all of this (Notice I didn't say how to "feel" about this). On the one hand I want to be a more emotional personal because I think it will help me to develop deeper connections with more people. However, I honestly find it difficult. Enter the Falcons/Patriots analogy. If the Falcons are going to win the big game, will they need to change their game plan and take risks down the field? Or if they stick to their strengths will they be more successful? My money is on sticking with what has worked in the past, both for the Falcons and myself.


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