There’s more than football even if we may not act like it, especially during playoff weeks. Life is what happens between games. Acknowledging what’s truly important feels like a cliché until health crises faced by our favorites offer sobering reminders.
It shouldn’t take competitors facing physical peril to put the wild card race in perspective. But complacency is the default setting until events remind us that life is fragile for even the fiercest.
Football enthusiasts noted the triviality of sports as Eric Wood literally walked away and while Pittsburgh’s Ryan Shazier spends 2018 worrying about his health instead of football. I just wish we had fewer examples of why it’s true.
We really don’t need to use Jim Kelly facing cancer again as further proof that wretchedness abounds. But we don’t get to take polls on whether or not those admired should face crises. That said, those tested do get to decide how to face them. It’s true for Kelly whether before or after 1996.
Facing cancer once is too many times. A recurrence feels sadistic. A third bout is a nightmare that remains after awakening. Someone who’s inspired us for so long faces a cellular monster once again. Kelly gets another brutal burden, and that’s just the way it is. All we can do is cheer him on.
The league only unites when something sad happens. But at least hardships show how everyone involved with playing a game for a living knows what really matters. You know life is foreboding when the Cowboys are offering support. Kindness from a franchise that makes us sneer is absolutely appreciated.
Life after football entails grappling with bigger obstacles than the Broncos. The game is a rehearsal. Coping with defenses was practice for whatever real life heaves.
Existence places great demands on the strongest. They don’t ask for it. But fairness isn’t a factor. Those who’ve shown toughness are forced to remember there’s no expiration date.
The traits displayed during games become evident in other fields. Those challenged get tired of having to show it again. Yet muscles only get stronger after experiencing pain.
The franchise quarterback has proven he’s worthy. He was the one who had the fortitude and platform to start a crusade against other children having to suffer from the same horrific disease as his son Hunter. Similarly, a man known for adding toughness behind center has been called upon to fight for his own health yet again. Life’s not easy, so the second-best option is to deal with it when it’s difficult.
The Earth revolving means it’s impossible to outrun the shadows. Being cleared of cancer in 2014 seemed like it was finally the end of agony for Kelly.
Another bout with the loathsome malady seems cruel. Everyday adversity seems sufficient. We can ask why the excruciating becomes commonplace. There’s no answer that makes it easier to vanquish.
It’s hard enough for fans to cope with the latest distressing news, which makes what the Kellys face directly seem unfathomable. I want to write about draft needs and not about why the franchise’s emblematic player must head to the hospital again.
But facing bad news is part of the deal despite not having signed up for it.
There’s a reason the Bills haven’t found a quarterback as stalwart. Kelly played long enough ago that fans around for the origin of Zubaz have to explain to youngsters why he made us feel like brick walls are merely obstacles to smash through.
His name keeps coming up because nobody’s come close to measuring up. Wondering who can steer in adverse conditions like Captain Jim did is an unreasonable comparison everyone who’s held the same job has to face. It’s better reach for unreasonable standards than aim too low.
Those with cranky knees and long memories keep bringing up Kelly for a reason. He persevered despite things not going his way. That admirable quality used to apply to attempting to win the final playoff game. Now, the embodiment of resiliency must again try to keep sickness from getting away with destroying his physical being.
Possessing the ability doesn’t make using it fun. We’re sick of watching someone who embodies everything we love about sports having to enter crisis mode. Those observing helplessly can do nothing but offer support. But we grew accustomed to placing faith in Kelly’s ferocity long ago.
He earned our concern playing a game that represents virtues put into action. Trying again after falling short was good practice for what comes after an athletic career is over. The whole point of the Buffalo Bills is that the franchise doesn’t quit even when things suck. Kelly’s the best at it, which we can only hope helps him once again long after his last snap.
Editor’s babble: Thanks to Anthony Bialy for this touching tribute about Jim Kelly. Anthony seems to always find a way to explain the unexplainable. We are all keeping the Kelly family close to our hearts as they face the next challenge. BillsMafia will continue to surround the Kelly family with love. You can follow Anthony Bialy on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.