Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

This was originally a post about the new look of Geek Monkey, and what kept me away for so long.  But I've covered it already, and the rest of the garbage life dumped in front of me doesn't really matter when you look around and see all the stuff that's out there that's so monumentally worse than your pathetic little life that kvetching about it only makes you an imbecile in front of others.

So instead I want to briefly talk about Friday Night Lights, my son, and how both conspired to bring me back to this blog.

I'm not much of a sports fan.  I have favorite teams, but don't follow them with any real conviction.  I'll gladly watch a game with friends and family, and love to see sporting events live, but left alone to my own devices I'd much rather read a book, watch a movie, basically do other things.  The same logic applies to movie and shows about film.  But over the past few months I kept hearing from some of my favorite podcasts (with a specific shout out to Jeff @ The Totally rad Show) about how good Friday Night Lights was, so when the first three seasons came out on Netflix's Instant Viewing (in HD, no less), I added them to my queue and planned to watch.

And that was it until yesterday.

The thing that changed was my son: specifically the 4th day of a vicious virus that has left him with a constant temperature of 104 degrees that massive doses of Motrin and Tylenol only manage to bring down to about 101.  Every night is a new experience in screaming, vomiting, and violent shaking that borders on seizures.  And I leave out a certain measure of eloquence in the preceding description it's because to think too closely on it causes my hands to tremble, my eyes to water, and my soul to crumple just a bit more than it already has. 

During the moments of the day when he's moderately lucid, all he wants to do is cling to your shoulder and watch television.  Since yesterday I had him all day while my wife worked, in between naps, cool compresses and episodes of Dora the Explorer (which has now earned me the new name "Poppi", which for a myriad of reasons I adore above "Daddy") we curled up on the couch to watch the first episode.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the show - by now if you're not watching you're probably not that interested.  I was surprised at the amount of heart the show has, the great use of the camera to give things a gritty, documentary feel, the excellent (if slightly old to be playing teenagers) cast, which seems to play a lot on improvisation, and the incredible dynamic of Coach Taylor and his family.  All good stuff, and as I watched the pilot unfold my son sat transfixed at the screen with me.

The pilot's plot is fairly predictable, leading up to the big game that they win in the final seconds.  And if there's a consistent complaint I have heard about the show, it's that the games don;t show the same level of intensity that inhabits the off-field situations. As we watched I spoke to Jack about the game and the men running and the colors of the uniforms and for a few minutes it seemed as if he wasn't sick, and was just happy to be there, to hear the sound of my voice.

The the end came.  The game was won.  And as the team came out to clap and to pray over an event that occurred moments before, Jack's smile came back for the first time in days, and exclaimed "Good game, everybody!  Good game!"

I had never heard this before, never knew that he understood that in the end you give thanks for a good game and try to let the pain go.  I can't even explain why something so minute had such a galvanizing effect on me.  But the combination of the show, and my son's response to it clicked something, and although I didn't cry, and didn't speak about it to my wife when she came home, I knew at that moment that no matter what's happening to me, no matter how I feel, at the end of the day you just have to go out there and say, "Good game".  Even when it doesn't feel like it, and even when it rips you inside to do so.

Clear eyes, full hearts...can't lose.