Saturday, September 06, 2008

Football and Writing Romance

When I moved from Oregon to Alabama in 2001, a friend of mine from Huntsville said I had to choose a side—Alabama or Auburn. Absurd, I thought. I don’t even watch football.

After living a year in Birmingham, I met my husband, David, who happened to be an Alabama fan. Soooo, now I am an Alabama fan too (no comments from the Auburn peanut gallery, please). I have to tell you, I still don’t understand all the hoopla around this sport, but as I watched the game against Clemson last Saturday, a few things occurred to me. What was missing from the Crimson Tide over the last few years, in my opinion, was greatness (settle down Tide fans, I’m not finished). So in amazement, I watched this newly focused, steady team come back from each play Saturday with more energy, zeal, and solidarity, despite the fact they were playing a stronger team no one expected them to beat. I realized then what makes football exciting for me. It’s catching a glimpse of that rare greatness in a player. It’s awesome to behold and often lasts only a moment. To see one player unite an entire team, another help an opponent get to his feet, and another take a hit hard enough to put most of us in the hospital, yet they spring up from the ground and run down the field on the next play just to try again for a few more yards. It’s inspiring and I couldn’t help but notice something important about myself.

I’ve written romance for 20 years. I was, in fact, writing during that game. There have been a lot of … shall we say … hits over the years. Some tackles. A few injuries. Some days—okay, some months—I wanted to quit. I’ve left this highly competitive, sometimes brutal business for long stretches at a time, only to come back each time, a bit more deflated but always ready to try again. I realized Saturday what’s left me uninspired over the years was not the business of writing but my reaction to it. What I’ve failed to do is aspire to that greatness I saw on that field last Saturday. To bounce back from each setback, hitting and pushing harder toward that goal of getting published with everything in me.

A newly energized and more determined writer came away from that game last weekend. Who would have thought football could inspire a romance writer?


Carla Swafford said...

NASCAR inspires me. But it has more to what fills out those tacky one piece suits. It's amazing how sexy some of those drivers look in them. I bought my husband one of those packages to drive on the Atlanta track and he looked good in the one piece suit too. Yeah, I got a lot of brownie points from that present.

Christy Reece said...

Wonderful post, Karen and you're so right. Getting back up after being knocked down, staying focused, with your eyes firmly fixed on the prize, and sheer determination are crucial for success in anything...especially football and writing.

Oh, and Roll Tide Roll!