Last weekend, I was watching a pro football game like I always do.
There I was, sitting on my easy chair, stuffing my face with Ruffles, pounding beers. Just being a guy.
Of course, if anyone else saw me, it kinda/sorta/maybe didn't exactly look like I was sitting on my easy chair, stuffing my face with Ruffles, pounding beers, just being a guy.
It kinda/sorta/maybe looked more like the TV was on in the background while I was sitting on the floor trying to find a good place to hide Bobba Fett in the Cantina from Darth Sidious, a Tuscan Raider and my son who were trying to capture me in our multi-level expandable Death Star unit from Mattel.
At one point during the manhunt, I looked at the TV and saw Ray Lewis of the Ravens bust through the line, throw a couple of offensive linemen aside, and sack the quarterback.
It was a really nice play.
Apparently, Mr. Lewis thought it was a really nice play too, because after the ref blew his whistle, he got up and started jumping up and down in great celebration of the really nice play he had just made.
While I admit, I was impressed with the height he reached in the standing vertical leap, I was a little confused with all the excitement.
Um…isn't that what he's supposed to do?
Isn't Ray Lewis paid like a gazillion dollars to bust through the line, throw a couple of offensive linemen aside, and sack the quarterback? On every play?
Isn't Job Requirement #1 for a defensive player to stop the guy that's holding the ball?
Don't guys like Ray Lewis just lift weights and study film and practice every day so they'll be really good at this stuff?
Isn't that his job?
So…why all the excitement? Isn't that what he's supposed to do?
I dunno, though.
Maybe I've got this all wrong, y'know?
Maybe he's just a really good employee.
Maybe he just wants everyone to know that he loves his job a whole lot.
Maybe instead of criticizing him, I should admire his work ethic. His dedication to his chosen profession. His insatiable desire to do the best job he can.
Maybe we can all learn a lesson from Mr. Lewis and the countless others players who celebrate their success.
Maybe we can use their example to understand that even the most basic of job-related tasks can still be cause for celebration.
And while the majority of us don't have the opportunity to bust through the line, throw a couple of offensive linemen aside, and sack the quarterback, we all have things we're expected to do at our jobs that could be grounds for joyful delight as well.
I mean, why should pro football players get to have all the fun at work?
Why can't I be proud of accomplishing all that I'm expected to accomplish at my job, just like Ray Lewis?
Why can't I say to the world, "I was asked to do something at work and gosh darn it…I DID IT!"
So I checked with our office manager, and I found that there's nothing in our employee manual that frowns upon excessive celebrations in the workplace.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am working man.
Hear me roar.
At 10:14 AM, I typed a complete sentence without one single mistake.
At the completion of the sentence, I lifted my computer off my desk, and threw it on the carpeting in my office. Then I raised my arms and did a little dance around it.
I called my dance the Perfect Sentence Jig.
I also shouted "Woo Hoo!" like 10 or 50 times.
Y'know, the fun thing about spiking a football is that you never know where it's going to bounce because of it's odd shape.
The fun thing about spiking a computer is that there are all those little metal pieces and wires that you never got to see unless you spike it.
Jesus, I never realized how many little metal pieces and wires are in a computer.
The weird thing was though, the computer guy at our company didn't really seem to appreciate my great typing. When he came in my office and saw my computer, he almost seemed, I don't know, pissed.
I was like, "Dude, we're on the same team here, man. When I win, you win! It's all good. I got your back. You got mine. It's cool, dude. You shoulda seen that sentence I typed, brother. It was like, so fine."
Then I held my fist out, knuckles forward, waiting to pound my knuckles into his knuckles. But all he did was shake his head, bend down and start picking up the little metal pieces and wires.
I was like, "Whatever, dude." And I just kept dancing.
Late in the afternoon, the telephone rang in my office.
I picked up the receiver and said, "Hello."
My "Hello" was friendly, yet authoritative.
Inviting, yet professional.
Pleasant, yet business-like.
It was maybe the best freaking "Hello" ever.
So I put the phone on my desk and started strutting down the hallway.
I strutted into each of my co-worker's offices. Then I got right in each of their faces and shouted, "Who Da Man? Who Da Man? I Da Man!"
I think a lot of my co-workers wanted me to stay and talk, but I had a lot of celebrating to do.
"Maybe I catch your asses later," I said. Then I strutted away.
First thing in the morning, someone stopped by my office and told me he had some additional information for a project I was working on.
He handed me a sheet of paper. And I didn't drop it.
I instantly fell to my knees and pointed to the sky to thank the dear lord Jesus Christ for giving me the strength and belief in myself that I was able to hold on to that sheet of paper and not let it touch the ground.
Then I stood up and did a really aggressive flex. And I let loose with a super-huge primal scream.
The guy in my office just stood there looking at me.
I guess he was stunned by how good I am at what I do.
I hope this doesn't come out wrong, but I can't say I blame him.
Someone asked me to make 10 copies of a document to distribute to other people in the office.
I went to the copier. And yes, I made exactly 10 copies.
So when I left the copier room, I didn't just walk out.
I jiggled my shoulders and I took big lunging steps.
I jiggled and lunged down the hallway like no one has ever jiggled and lunged before.
Because I was asked to do something. And dammit, I nailed it.
I jiggled and lunged into the first person's office, I glared at him, I pounded my chest, and then I threw a copy on his desk.
Then I left and continued to jiggle and lunge down the hall to every person I had to give a copy to.
I heard a couple of "Nice job, Lane's" on my way out of their offices.
But not as many as I should've heard, though.
I'm beginning to realize that sometimes it's tough being a star in a team game.
Near the end of the day, I had to sign some papers to change my 401K contribution.
I held the pen firmly and spelled my name. Error-free.
As I finished the last "S" in Strauss, I grabbed the paper, and shoved it in the face of my Benefits Administrator.
"Let's see YOU do that!" I screamed.
Then I took the paper and walked into someone else's office.
I pushed it in her face and shouted, "THAT's how you sign a paper!"
Then I saw the President of my company in the hallway.
I crammed the paper in his face and hollered, "My signature is unstoppable!"
Then I ripped off my shirt and ran down the hall away from my co-workers as fast as I could.
Eventually, I slid to my knees and clenched my fists in utter, spontaneous joy.
While I was cheering myself, some of my co-workers came up behind me and dumped Gatorade on my head.
It felt cold.
Cold, but, y'know, good.
As I basked in the glory of me, and all the greatness of my work week, I couldn't help but wonder if I let the whole Ray Lewis thing get out of hand.
Maybe the way these guys play football today is a bad influence on me.
Maybe all of the arrogance and braggadocio of these overpaid crybabies has made me delusional about work and success.
What ever happened to the days when Walter Payton would stroll into the endzone and just hand the ball to the referee?
I hate to say this, but I think I'm done with NFL for awhile.
I think I need to find another league to care about.
A league where I can root for teams that are committed to being teams.
A league where grown men don't act like immature adolescents.
A league where the only thing that matters is the game.
A league where they don't care about individual athletes and marketing and overblown hype.
A league like y'know, the NBA.