Monday, January 02, 2006

Embrace the Tweener

This past fall, Adam Goff and I had a continuing debate about the Tweener. He would frequently, like every time we got in a huddle, try to tween folks, and his pleasure in doing so became increasingly annoying. He would rejoice with every successful Tweener, and crumple in the agony of defeat when each roller missed its target. After I while, I set out to diffuse the situation by Welcoming the Tweener (the sexual conotation of the name does not escape me). Basically, when I saw it coming, I would open wide and receive. This was highly successful. There was no joy in it being so easy or so embraced. He tried to convince me otherwise as we debated the merits of Embracing the Tweener, but I could tell by the dull light in his eyes that it was true.

While it is a fictional account, I think one of the best examples of Embracing the Tweener is Eminem's last rap in "8 Mile". Nothing like rolling out the laundry list of your flaws to disempower your adversary, and to bond with the audience as I think most of us can relate to the everyday failings of life.

When I was a kid, I had a lot of trouble Embracing the Tweener. For every teasing charge that I vehemently denied, the pack of sharks grew in fury as they began to smell blood. I am not sure that I had a sense of humor back then, and any semblance of one certainly did not include self-deprecation.

I think each of us, either sub-consciously or not, draws a line in the sand, and if someone crosses that line, we take offense. It is the nature of the Tweener to one-up its way close to that line and test the waters. I think a mature player does a relatively accurate assessment of their on-field strength and weaknesses, but I don't think we have done a similar inventory about where our line in the sand is when it comes to the Tweener. I had a brief discussion about this with Russ Bogan last night, and he said, as a lawyer, you must acknowledge the arguments that reveal your weaknesses. This makes you strong.

This is not to say that I am continuously successful at acknowledging my weaknesses, nor that I am able to always Embrace the Tweener in less mundane circumstances. This fall I did get pretty tired of the "old guy" comments. The various Viagra, inevitable suppository, and nap jokes as well as one of the younger folks dubbing me "Grandpa George" did wear a bit thin. I think I had brief lapses in my awareness of the relentless nature of the Tweener, but, not to worry, even my few vaguely successful moments on the field were greeted by comments of "Wow, good job, that gives me hope for when I get old". I think I was able to get through it with a chuckle and my dignity intact, but it is easy to forget that having the courage to Embrace the Tweener takes energy and a perseverence equal to the incoming Tweener. Just wide.....and receive.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Ah, George. So nice to be mentioned on such a famous blog as yours, no matter how fanciful the account. You've been 'embracing the tweener' since long before me. I get no credit for that, no matter how persistent. You go right ahead and enjoy it.