There’s that dream; the one were you have to go somewhere, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem get there. Mickey Mantle once said he had one, a Yankee version of it, were he must get inside the stadium for a big game, but instead, he is outside the gates of the ballpark, and although he tirelessly tries, he just can’t seem to open them. Then there is the one just like in the movie “Groundhog Day,” when you seem to be reliving the same day over and over again, and despite efforts to change things along the way; you are left with reliving the chain of events right back from the beginning.
I had one of these dreams the other day, the Miami Dolphin version I guess. They started the season off in Washington against the Redskins, and throughout a hard fought game, I found myself reliving the horrid image of John Riggins and the offensive line of the hogs running all over the exhausted, undersized Dolphin defense. An overtime field goal and a bitter loss rang through my head, but refreshingly, the day would start over. However this time the opponent had changed, it was now the Dallas Cowboys, and this time they would come to South Florida; where the sun plays havoc on opposing teams, and the heat melts the tourists, leaving a wake of perspiration and a trail that leads to home team dominance. Only something went wrong – it was the Dolphins themselves that seemed out of breath, exhausted, and struggling to grasp what little air was left to consume. And just in case I missed it, there was Terrell Owens in the west endzone with an imaginary video camera in hand, rolling film and capturing the one sided debacle for me to re- live, over and over again. But why fret? I am beginning to get the hang of how this really works, and sure enough, it starts over again, only this time we are at the Meadowlands, taking on the division rival Jets. I was just starting to feel confident, like this time the dream was going to have different results, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of Leon Washington finishing off a 98 yard kickoff return and 70,000 plus Jets fans echoing J.E.T.S …. Jets Jets Jets! Forget this, get me out of here, let’s roll a new scenario. How about the Raiders, yes the Oakland Raiders, that team with such a terrible season last year, they were given the 1st pick of the draft for this season. Bring them in; this will surely get things turned around. Who is that guy? He looks familiar, like when you have something from your past and then incorporate it into your new dream. I think I just put Daunte Culpepper in my dream. He is playing for the Raiders now, and through the courtesy of what was tagged as the most porous offensive line in Pro football, is doing that dance in the endzone, the one he does on that video game, where he keeps turning his forearms around and around and around…. Oh brother, this can’t be happening. Let me get up, clear my head and get a glass of water. I think I have figured out the problem, I have too many past events in my head, and I am bringing them into my current dreams. So let me pick a team and a place where the history is relatively new. Oh yes, this is much better, it seems as though we are in Houston, and the Texans are today’s nemesis. I can already tell things are going to be better because there is Zack Thomas, and although he was not in my last two dreams, he is back today. There’s Jason Taylor, back in form, a sack and now a forced fumble. I guess it was just a matter of perseverance, making changes until the day works out the way it was meant to be. Here comes our kicker Jay Feeley on the field. He has been perfect and now he will try a 56-yard field goal to put us in the lead and on our way to a brand new day, one with “Victory” stamped on it. Wait, there is a time out flashed by the official - that’s O.K., no worries, I have been seeing more and more of this in the league lately. The defensive team calls a timeout right before the kick, to “Ice” the kicker and in some cases even make the offense re-attempt the kick. This is odd, it seems as though the Dolphins have called the timeout? Now the Dolphin punter is coming on the field and the Texan offense is getting ready to start a last minute drive. I close my eyes tightly as they are now bringing in their kicker to attempt a 57 yard kick, it is long enough, straight enough, “Oh no, not again!”
I quickly look for my list of teams and pick a new one. Cleveland, yes, this seems right. Not an easy team to beat by any stretch, but a team we should be able to beat if we perform like we are capable of. Here is a chance to put the “Dog Pound” in their place, and get things back on track. The whistle blows, opening kickoff is in the air, and the game is about to begin. I can hear the alarm clock buzzing in the background, I toss and I turn. This must be the end of the nightmare, time is at hand, and I can feel it. I HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON ONE MORE TIME, READY TO END THIS DREAM AND FACE REALITY!