We’ve all been there, Tony

I’m not having a good week at work. I’ve struggled with just about every story I’ve sat down at the trusty Mac to pound out. It hasn’t mattered whether the article is two paragraphs or 20, the words just haven’t been coming. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit over the past 48 hours starring at my blinking cursor—all the while panicking about looming deadlines. The problem being that the more I worry, the worse my writer’s block gets. At one point this afternoon, I was ready to abandon my keyboard in favour of any job—it didn’t matter which one—as long as it didn’t involve writing. Words were now my sworn enemy and I wanted nothing to do with them. However, life has a funny way of providing perspective when you need it most. I went home for lunch yesterday desperately seeking a distraction from my work-related anxiety. And as is often the case when I’m stressed out about something, I turned on the television looking for something sports-related to take my mind off of things. Unfortunately, there are few sporting events that take place mid-afternoon on a Tuesday. Fearing I might lose my mind, I began surfing the channels. Three trips around the dial later, I found what I was looking for—sort of. The NFL Network was re-running Saturday night’s NFC wild card match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks for roughly the 700th time in two days. It didn’t matter that I’d seen some of the game Saturday night or that I knew the final score. I was desperate and simply happy to watch sports on the television. Little did I know my viewing experience not only would distract me, but cheer me up, too. By now, even the most casual of sports fans has seen the play that decided that particular football game. The one in which the Cowboys, trailing by a single point, lined up for a chip-shot field goal with less than a minute to go. It should have been automatic. After all, the ball sat directly in front of the uprights—no further away than an extra point attempt. The Seattle fans had a look of disgust on their faces, certain the Cowboys were about to steal a game from the home team. The Seahawks’ coaches frantically were going over strategy with their offence on the sideline, searching for the plays that would allow them to move the ball into field goal range themselves before time expired. It should have been automatic—but it wasn’t. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo muffed the snap, eliminating any hope of kicking the field goal. To his credit, he recovered quickly enough to try and run the ball into the end zone, or at the very least get just past the one-yard line for a fresh set of downs. However, Seahawks’ cornerback Jordan Babineaux had other ideas. The speedy Seattle player ran Romo down from behind and tackled him before he could reach his goal. Romo was left lying on the field inconsolable, knowing he’d just cost his team a playoff game. The highlight package then cut to footage of Romo after the game, standing in front of the assembled media, apologizing to his teammates and the Cowboy fans. He was quick to mention that he had never felt lower. Watching Romo, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy while at the same time feeling better about my predicament. Sure, I was having a pretty crummy week, but at least I wasn’t doing it in front of millions of people on national television. I wasn’t ever going to be remembered as the reporter whose bad week caused the Times to miss out on fame and fortune. Nor was I going to be hated by a small army of people until the end of my days. No, things definitely were looking up for me. I’m not a Dallas Cowboys fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I really hope Romo can overcome this adversity. No one should be ruined by a bad week at the office. acruickshank@fortfrances.com

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