The Football & Space Dream

Pleasurable dream. I came off as successful beyond what I expected (although others seemed to expect it) and was happy, respected, and admired. I was a hero. Isn’t that what we all want to be?

The first dream found me at a football game. I don’t know what level of playing, team names, or anything like that. A running back, I was on the sideline. It was early in the first quarter. My team was down by a touchdown. Okay, it’s early, that’s not bad, but what was demoralizing was that it didn’t look like we could do anything against their defense.

I watched the play from behind. A running draw, our big back was stuffed and lost yardage. But as I watched the play, I knew that it would be different if it me.

I told the coach. He and the others had already reached the same conclusion and sent me in. When I went in, I was doubtful. I was so much smaller. Anxiety swept me.

Then, the play was over. Back on the sidelines, I’d discovered that I’d scored on a fifty-plus yard run. What a great feeling of celebration. Then I found that it was late in the game; it was almost over. I’d scored three times. The other team hadn’t scored again. We were winning in a blow-out.

I read notes on that first scoring play, when I went in. Smaller, but fast, I was able to duck and spin past the initial rush. Then, according to a guard, “Seidel used him like a lawn mower, pushing me ahead of him down the field and mowing down anything in his way.”

Reading that felt great.

Now, it was off to work. I worked in a space operations center alongside engineers, admin people, radar trackers, etc. I was a high-level position. There was a crises. People were waiting for me to arrive. They believed I could resolve it.

I went right to work. Although my desk was at the front, by the status boards and maps, I worked the room from end to end and side to side, talking with everyone, taking notes, making and taking phone calls, and issuing decisions. The crises was resolved but we stayed busy. I consulted with the engineers over a few things. They were always eager to show me what they were doing.

Some were ending their shift and going for food. I was invited but declined. Others decided that a food run was in order. One scientist held up a script of paper. “Here’s my order,” he declared. “I thought that a food order was going to be taken, so I was ready.”

Taking his note, I read his order. He’d used a cryptic shorthand that made me laugh. I had to puzzle through it to make any sense of it.

A cake with white frosting was delivered. A piece was cut for me. I picked up a plate with the cake and prepared to eat. The dream ended.

Everybody should experience uplifting dreams like these.


The Football Dream

Dreamed that I was at this outdoor location that focused on the National Football League. Not the only one there, it appeared that thousands of other people were present. While the awakened me has scant grasp of what was going on, dream me was there and ready. Names were being issued for a very special honor, so I was listening with anticipation.

My name was announced. Pleased and proud to be selected, I went to my assigned position beside a large sculpture. The sculpture was of Steelers players. Ben Roethlisberger, number seven and the current quarterback, was the main figure but there were others. My job, as explained to me, was to explain the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, with emphasis on their championship seasons. Then, from a special bowl, I was to select the future Superbowls that they’d win.

Other presentations began. I eagerly awaited my chance. The Green Bay Packers were right before the Steelers. Suddenly, as their presentation ended, something happened to disrupt the gathering. People began departing and the agenda was abandoned.

I refused to leave, hoping that I’d still have a chance. At last, though, acknowledging that I wouldn’t be presenting, I said, “I guess that means the Packers will win all of the rest, because no other team had been given a chance.

I don’t know what any of it means.

A Football Dream

I’d been part of the defense, set up to be an edge-passer on a high-school football team. Being a little guy, that surprised me, but I took to the role with the zeal I apply to things when I must get them done. Come game time, though, and I found myself lined up as a tight-end. Talk about confused! I had no idea about the offensive plays or blocking, but again, here I was, in a mess, so I would do what I had to do. Which meant, figuring it out as I went along.

They also weren’t including me in the huddle. Hello? Totally bewildered, I tried catching the coach’s eye to point out the obvious error of me being where I was. He told me to stay out there and do what I can. So —

I lined up, but it was an awkward position, because I was half-turned to see what the quarterback was doing. The ball was snapped.  Here comes the rush. I blocked a guy and cut into a middle open flat, caught a pass and was crushed in a tackle. Still, five yards were gained. On the next play, I saw a hand-off to the running back, so I picked up rushers and helped make a path for him, resulting in a first down.

The next play was bizarre. Lined up, I could hear the defense talking and see the quarterback. He planned to throw to me, I realized. I mentally set myself for the task. Then, the quarterback didn’t set. He kept standing up, moving around, and checking the defense. Time was passing, passing…I almost fell out of my stance. I kept wondering why the quarterback didn’t set us and get the ball hiked. I worried about delay of game.

Meanwhile, the defense had drifted off to the sides. There was a huge hole in the middle. If I released and the quarterback threw a quick slant, I could exploit this defense.

The ball was finally hiked. I snapped out into the flat and looked for the pass, but the quarterback was running toward me. I turned to make a block, but no defenders were in the area. The quarterback raced thirty yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

I realized that the quarterback was planning this all along, and that I’d been part of his secret scheme. It impressed me. Looking at the scoreboard, I saw that we’d now scored three times, and the score was 21-3.

Dream end.

I awoke thinking, take the opportunity when it comes, and make the most of it, but create opportunities. The quarterback on done both.

Last Night’s Game

Last night’s professional football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals epitomizes my frustration with the sport.

First, let me tell you. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. I became a Steeler fan around nineteen sixty-nine, when I was thirteen. That wasn’t a good year for the Steelers. They finished with one win, and thirteen losses. Things began picking up the next year.

Second, about ten years ago, I began thinking that football has become way too violent. I tried watching less of the sport. I marvel at the players’ speed, grace, and athleticism, and enjoy the multiple levels of tactics and strategy continuing throughout a game even as I rue the violence. I’ve thought, like others, what is the solution to reduce the violence, especially the flagrant fouls, and the head injuries?

Last weekend featured a couple of them. Gronk of the Patriots was suspended for his hit. Other suspensions and fines are being issue. But how much do these mean to these players? Yes, they recognize that they’ve let their team down when they’re suspended, and that it could affect winning records, contracts, sponsorship deals, and championships, with all the collateral associated with a season, like home-field advantages, pride, rings, and trophies, but these same players are pushed to be aggressive and competitive. They’re amped up on adrenaline. To expect them to stop instantly, in the middle of motion, when the whistle blows — and is heard — and tamper their emotions is not always realistic.

Especially so in a game like last night, between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Their games have been especially tough and violent for several years. Memories of results and actions linger, affecting how the two teams feel about each other, and how they play one another. The game last night featured penalties, marked off in yards and loss of downs. Quoting Kevin Siefert on ESPN:

The game was also reminiscent of the playoff game due to the high number of penalties. The Bengals set a franchise record with 13 penalties for 173 yards. The two teams have combined for 1,088 penalty yards in their matchups against each other, including playoffs, since the 2015 season. Their 32 major penalties, such as unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct, in the same time span is nearly twice as much as any other matchup in the same period.

Wow, right? Yet, it keeps escalating. These penalties and suspensions aren’t working. Maybe something more concrete is required, like a loss of points instead of yards, or a loss of downs. Yes, flags can be thrown, and players ejected, but perhaps it’s not enough. Maybe a flag is required to warn them, one more personal foul, and you forfeit the game.

Too extreme? Perhaps, but that’s what the NFL is all about: winning and losing. Until something tangible is done to immediately affect that line, the escalations will continue.

The H.S. Football Dream

I dreamed I was a teenager. It was bright and sunny outside, and I was inside a well-lit building. I learned that my high school football team was short of players. Coach Thomas came to me and asked if I’d play. I’d quit the team the year before, after an accident.

Pleased, I quickly agreed. He gave me some instructions. A game was starting soon. I needed to get there fast. “Don’t let me down,” he said, in a joking but serious style.

I raced to prepare. People were giving me things. It took longer than expected to get ready. A player – a real-life buddy from high school – came in. “Coach Thomas sent me in to see what’s going on. You need to get out there.”

I looked out a window. From there, I could see and hear things happening. Part of that was Coach Thomas talking to the ref, who was warning Thomas, “You need to field a team.” Coach Thomas was irritated and impatient as he asked for more time, insisting, “He’s coming, he’s coming. I need him.”

“I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying,” I told the player. He left.

I don’t know what I needed to get. It seemed like that’s an extension of confusion I felt in the dream. Finally, I was out there, with the team, and in the line-up, nervous and uncertain. I had a piece of paper with instructions in my hand. The ref made me give that up. A player beside me, Daryl, told me he’d help me know what to do. A whistle blew as I jumped offsides. I wasn’t pleased with how it was going. I lined up again in a different position. The game commenced without any significant highlights, except players would suggest things to me. I’d do those things, and my confidence grew.

That’s how the dream entailed. I took three lessons from it.

  1. Don’t sweat the mistakes. You’re going to make them but you can overcome them.
  2. You have more to learn.
  3. Others will help.

A very positive dream to remember.

Up My Game

In what I must consider one of my strangest dreams ever, I dreamed I was a running back in the NFL.

It was the off-season, and we – running backs – were being tested. I didn’t know this, though. The whole thing was unfolding in the dream.

I was approached by a man in athletic gear. Holding a stopwatch and clipboard, he asked me to run a course. I didn’t know who he was or why.

The course was in a high school slash…ummm…hotel. I was to run the course through the halls.

It was a funny request to me. I was in my late teens in the dream. “Okay.” Shrug. It seemed strange, but what the hell.

Only after I ran it did I begin to realize that it was a test. Players, coaches, owners and sports announcers were staying in the high school slash hotel. Then I realized the test was about rating NFL running backs. With that, I experienced memories of being in NFL games. I didn’t have many touches but I had a high yards per touch score. Watching film in my head, I saw how I could improve.

Eventually, hanging around and talking with different people, I confirmed that I was an NFL running back and we were being rated from one to thirty-two. I was eight rankings from the bottom. Doing some dream math, I determined that meant I was twenty-fourth. Not a great score, but hey, I was an NFL player with no idea how he achieved that.

I immediately began visualizing how I could improve my rating by upping my game, how to better protect the quarter then cut into the flat as another passing option. I saw how I could change the way I see the field, watch for blocks, be more patient and cut more explosively. I was dismayed that I was only five foot eight and one hundred and forty pounds but determined I could gain weight.

Then I spilled a glass of water on a carpet in a room in the dream, and the dream ended.

The glass had been half full.

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