To Curse and To Court: A Football Story
My wife's post is entirely accurate. I was/am a football fanatic. In my defense I have settled down significantly from my 5-6 fantasy football leagues to a meager 1 (occasionally 2) per year. At the same time I couldn't tell you the last time certain jerseys and t-shirts got washed. The infamous game she spoke of was one of the greater moments in Steelers history. That entire season is littered with memories.
The 2005-2006 season was pretty stinking glorious. I was all about Willie Parker before he got his first start in a beatdown of the Titans (thanks Madden 05). Roethlisberger got hurt the day before my birthday in a brutal Monday night game against the Chargers. The first game my future wife watched with me was an epic smack down delivered by the Indianapolis Colts. The first offense play in front of my "date" (seriously what does that even mean?) was a long pass to Reggie Wayne burning Ike Taylor. I imagine there were unfavorable words spoken out loud. Weeks earlier I had watched the Steelers beating the Packers with an iconic fumble return for a touchdown by Troy Polamalu. My family still jokes to this day about the screaming and arm raising that resulted in a bruised wrist from a spinning fan blade.
I kept tabs on the Steelers beating the Bears in the snow in the parking lot of Manchaca Baptist Church. Though I had grown up in that church it was in a building I was quite unfamiliar with and a team I could not quite understand. The calendar year ended with me proposing to Alaina before she left for New Years. Unplanned. At a street curb. It was pretty anti-epic. But words matter. And the words spoken by the both of us confirmed that we were ready to go forward with this thing we called loved. The more important questions at the time was could our relationship survive the offseason? It's important to stop and reflect. The previous year had ended with me in the bath as the 16-2 Steelers lost in the AFC Championship to the New England Patriots. The Patriots, people. I had not handled it well. Going in as the sixth seed the anticipation was much more mild. It would turn into a revenge hit-list.
The Bungholes (Bengals). The Colts. The Broncos. The Seahawks. All lost to the Steelers in white. And it was during that crucial game against the Colts that the curse went down. My "courting" of Alaina started with a game against the Colts and almost ended with a game against the Colts. Manning was riled. The Steelers Defense was fighting the genius of Manning and the stripes/zebras. By the time the Bus had fumbled, Roethlisberger had tackled, and a rookie named Bryant had made two stops in the end zone I was spent. The most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL stepped up to put the game into OT. I snapped and cursed him. He was never the same. He was never the same again.
Analogously that's how words work. Rejecting "words can never hurt," we must accept that words do things. Seven months later I would be speaking words. Not curses but promises. My life changed. Words are able to do that. This wasn't about the Colts offense. This wasn't against a Colts kicker. It was to and about my commitment to my wife. I'm not superstitious. I'm just a little-stitous and thus I affirm that words accomplish things. Our God brought things to life through words. Our Lord said that not a single uttered word would fall to the ground without judgement. Words matter and bring about affects upon the world. Our speech in life effects the world. The speech from the pulpit effects the church. The speech at baptism effects new life. Words accomplish things. I'm not sure that my curse on a Colts kicker ruined his career (I'm sinfully on the fence) but I'm grateful the other words I spoke during that season have had an impact that has altered the course of my life.