Football is a game. It is only a game.
It's easy to forget that sometimes when your team loses and your spirit feels defeated. It's easy to forget that when your team wins and you feel unbeatable for days.
Football is a game that lacks perspective unless and until life intervenes. And then when life does what life does -- throws curves, some of them vicious and biting -- we remember that how our team performs on Sunday or in free agency, or on the draft's first day, matters not one wit in the grand scheme of things.
Football is a game. It is not a battle or a war as many players and even some coaches often suggest in passing reference. Wars are happening in Iraq and Afghanistan every day without relent. Not in Pittsburgh or New England or Buffalo for 16 weeks in the fall.
Football is a game. It is not a life and death struggle between two teams. True life and death struggles play out every day on our streets and in our hospitals and nursing homes.
I remind you of all this to tell you that football as life is a lie.
Life is life and it is filled with more drama and more bitterness and more boundless joy than any 60-minute game could ever hope to offer.
I remind you of all this because I am touched and saddened but also heartened in hearing that ex-Dolphins and current broadcaster Jim Mandich is battling cancer.
I want to publicly say that I pray Jim recovers completely. I want to say publicly that I hope he recovers a million times more than I hope the Dolphins win a Super Bowl next year.
The Super Bowl, you see, would be an important accomplishment. It would be great for us all. But no one will live or die if the Dolphins succeed or fail in chasing a Lombardi Trophy. Mandich is indeed fighting for his life.
And all of us would be lessened if he doesn't win the fight.
This is not an obituary. Jim Mandich shall live and not die.
So I'm not going to tell you what a great guy Jim is. I'm not going to share stories of his career both on the field and in the radio booth. The time for those nostaligic tales is not yet. Hopefully it will not be for a very long time.
We believe Jim will recover. We trust that when the 2010 season dawns, he will be there to witness it, to describe it on the Dolphins radio network, to take us via his commentary to all the games we cannot witness in person or on television.
Today we celebrate the fact that around here we understand what's truly important.
Today we celebrate and toast Jim Mandich with a "Green lizard."
Get well soon, Jim.
Get well soon.
[Update 11:30: There is a fan facebook page for anyone wishing to sign a petition to get Jim Mandich's name on the Dolphin Honor Roll. Here is the page if you wish to sign the petition.]