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?