Glorious, ugly victory

My family is like the Green Bay Packers; we get the job done but it’s often ugly. Tonight was no exception.

It was the divisional round game against the Seahawks who are led by the ever remarkable, Russell Wilson. We got off to a comfortable lead in the first half which only set the stage for a game script wherein Wilson would carry his team to a heroic comeback.

Enter scene with a lot of yelling. At first it was just me but eventually my wife, three boys and two dogs came to join me in the living room. It was the fourth quarter with two minutes and change left on the clock. Green Bay was up by five and driving the ball from their own 15 yard line. What we needed was enough first downs to burn Seattle’s timeouts and then be able to kneel on the clock. I was literally on the edge of my seat.

My wife sat to my right, screaming louder than me at every play and then following up her screams with questions about what just happened. My oldest son sat in the recliner to my left and then dutifully followed his mother’s orders to fulfill the end of night chores such as getting the dogs bones and taking the dirty laundry downstairs. My middle son set forth to build his extra complicated new lego set that he got for Christmas and my youngest son joined him to covertly watch/steal highly important pieces. The dogs, sensing tension, paced nervously.

Roger’s scrambled on a 2nd and 9 only to throw the ball away in order to avoid a sack. I screamed some bad words. My nervous, hundred and twenty pound German Shephard accidentally stepped on my wife’s foot and she screamed some bad words. My four year old stole a lego from my 7 year old and my 7 year old screamed some bad words. I, in turn screamed some bad words at my seven year old which made the nervous German Shepherd backtrack and accidentally step on my wife’s foot again… you get the picture.

“What’s the flag for?” My wife screams.

“Mom, we are out of bones!” The 10 year old screams.

“Give me back my Lego, you butthead!” The 7 year old screams.

And then… Rogers completes a pass to Jimmy Grahm for just enough on third down to seal the game. I screamed, they screamed, we all screamed and the neighbors didn’t call the cops. Victory was ours.

And it was ugly.

But here’s the thing; an ugly victory gets the same trophy as a pretty one. And for what it’s worth, that ugly victory is more fulfilling than a perfect one because it’s the one that you never saw coming. It’s the one that, when the smoke finally clears, feels like destiny.

Actually, my argument would be that destiny itself is an ugly business.

Greatness earned will only come at the expense of much folly. This is how I think of family. It’s a third down scramble and a hail mary. It’s fighting through to the end in order to achieve the goal and there will be mistakes and setbacks.

There will be losses.

Fortunately for us though, it’s not a game with some arbitrary clock to determine when to quit.

There will be yelling and fouls and missed calls but there will also be great heroics. There will be edge of your seat, breath holding, fist clenched, teeth grinding jubilation. There will will be victory. Glorious, ugly victory.