The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 27, 2021 1:00 am

In the face of adversity, attitude is everything

Frank Hill

What follows is about more than sports. Stick with me.

Rutgers defeated Indiana's football team two weeks ago. IU received the opening kick and the IU quarterback fumbled deep in enemy territory on the first play from scrimmage. Rutgers recovered and scored quickly, leading 7-0.

Fifty-eight minutes remained to be played. The IU quarterback who fumbled said after the game, “It was just a bad exchange. That just set the tone for the rest of the game, and it was hard to come back from that.”

“Hard to come back from” with 98% of the game remaining? IU's quarterback sounded like a weatherman who says the temperature is 32 degrees but it feels like 21 because of high winds.

Yes, Rutgers scored before my body got used to the cold metal bleacher seats. Somewhere a cup of hot chocolate was calling my name.

If not that, a hot soft pretzel probably wanted to curl up in my tummy. My son, grandson and I had been much warmer at Nick's English Hut.

If Rutgers' quick touchdown made it “hard to come back from...” for IU, I think I know why. It was because the better team scored first.

Years ago I heard a story about a 60-year-old man telling friends he was going to go to medical school. One of those friends said, “Why would you do that? By the time you finish school and an internship you will be at least 67.”

“So what,” replied the future doctor, “I will be 67 anyway.”

I wanted the 60-year-old future doctor to tell the IU quarterback that his team had to play the next 58 minutes anyway. Why not try to accomplish something?

Whose attitude would you rather have: That of IU's quarterback or that of the 60-year-old man?

Surely you have heard about the young boy digging through manure in a barn stall. When asked why he would do that, he replied, “With all this manure, there has to be a pony in here somewhere.”

That young boy and the 60-year-old future doctor demonstrate a hopeful attitude. I remember being hopeful when I started eating the cooking of a young bride who could not cook, but I digress.

Many folks, both young and old, take a chance even though they do not know the certainty of the outcome. Was that freshman quarterback, thrown into the fire because of injuries to teammates, conceding after two minutes of the game?

In the second quarter of the IU game, temperatures were in the thirties. High in the stands on the east side of the stadium were dozens of male students not wearing shirts or coats. They were standing and cheering, seeking attention.

Fueled perhaps by beverages and positive attitudes, those young men ignored uncomfortable weather conditions and made the best of the situation.

Cold day? So what? Their team was losing? So what? Things could not be as bad as they seemed.

I doubt if any one of those young men could have replaced IU's quarterback. He probably continued competing during the game. He certainly needed a substitute in the interview after the game.

Somewhere in a heated classroom, the 60-year-old medical student may be smarter than most of us. He confronts a lengthy commitment and plunges forward.

Yes, age can make us see situations differently. There was no way I was going to join those shirtless young men.

Back home, in a warm house, I write about a sport I never played. There is little that I know.

I know it was great to be with my son and grandson for an entire day. I know that young bride is now an excellent cook.

I know that 58 minutes remaining in a football game and Highway 58 in southern Indiana have something in common. Neither will get you anywhere unless you use them.

Say, do you think that 60-year-old man going to medical school has any remaining eligibility to play college football?

Frank Hill is a Fort Wayne resident.

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