(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Football, Fumbling and Morning Coffee

I work in an office like many, and like many I go to the kitchen in the morning to get a cup of coffee. That sounds simple, right, except for the fact that a) lots of people are getting their morning coffee at the same time and b) the hallways where my office is located are narrow and therefore pose problems for spilling coffee.

I worked for some pre-possessing people early in my career, those who were wont to pick apart not only your placement of commas but also your carriage of coffee. This particular guy was one of the owners of the business, and he insisted that we all place lids on our coffee cups, so that if we misstepped or banged into someone, coffee wouldn't spill on the carpet. (Whether or not this particular executive cared more about his carpets than about his employees' sustaining first- or second-degree burns remains open to speculation).

So, here's how the sports analogy comes in handy: you notice when watching football games that running backs (and where necessary, quarterbacks and receivers) change their carriage of the football and sometimes the arm that they use to tote it depending on where the defenders are, as one of the primary objectives of the defender is to strip the ball carrier of the ball. Now, it isn't my colleagues' goal to knock a coffee cup out of my hands, but they are motivated to get from one location to another with dispatch. That means, of course, that they'll walk quickly in hallways, not always cognizant that there might be oncoming traffic.

So, what do I find myself doing when I'm walking in the hallway with a cup of coffee? I find myself switching hands, depending on which side a person walking quickly in the opposite direction is likely to be on, taking into account merging hallways, cube and office locations, and the locations of doorways. Translated, I probably switch the coffee cup from hand to hand six times during my jaunt from the kitchen to my office. So far, this theory has worked well, although there isn't all that much "opposing" traffic, so to speak. Still, I think that the likes of Tiki Barber (who had fumblitis until changing his approach to carrying the football) would be proud of me for the combined sense of office citizenship and dogged determination not to drop the goods. Then again, he might well think that I've taken the analogy way too far and think I'm nuts.

No, this does not mean that I shoot baskets with crumpled balls of paper, slam dunk thinks into the recycling can, lead a fast break toward the lunch truck or anything like that. Okay, so I shoot a basket every now and then. Who doesn't?

And, remember, this is a pretty parochial undertaking on my part. I don't expect anyone to channel his inner Keith Jackson and yell "fummmmbullllllllll" if I were to drop the coffee.


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