Do you happen to remember Eli Manning’s first career game with the New York Giants? I won’t blame you if you don’t, because I'm not sure he even remembers it.
It was the 2004 season opener and the Giants were visiting their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. Since Manning was only a rookie, Kurt Warner (recently of the Arizona Cardinals) was starting behind center for the G-Men. The Eagles were running away with the game late, so Manning got the call to go in for some late mop-up duty in the 4th quarter.
On one of his first plays, he rolled out to his right, looking for an open receiver. The only problem was that since he was only a rookie, he hadn’t developed the ability to sense defenders coming from every angle yet. While Manning was in mid-stride, an Eagles’ defensive lineman came up from his blindside, and along with two other Eagles, they absolutely OBLITERATED the newly-minted, franchise quarterback (click here to watch the video).
And as Manning slowly got up from the ground, looking for his teeth, one of the broadcast announcers couldn’t resist the customary “Welcome to the big leagues” greeting that you typically hear after a rookie gets rocked for the first time, whiffs on an ugly three pitch strike out, or gets his shot rejected into the eighth row.
I only remembered that Manning hit this past week, because my Wife and I received our first “Welcome to the big leagues” moment as a married couple.
I’m not going to lie. We have been cruising through this whole married thing for the first six months. Every other married couple we knew kept telling us how difficult the first year was going to be, but I was beginning to think that they just weren’t as awesome as we were; because this was easy.
I also am of the mindset that while you can’t ever be totally prepared for every fun thing that life throws your way, all you can do is position yourself in the best place possible, and hope you can navigate your way through from there.
Yeah, we weren’t ready for this one at all.
Last Tuesday started off like any other normal Tuesday until my Wife called me at work that morning. I always get a little nervous when she calls because she always texts. In our modern world, no one ever calls unless it’s really important, so in my mind there was no way that this was a good call.
I hate being right all the time.
Sure enough, my poor Wife’s car had broken down on the side of the road. She said that it had just stopped and now she couldn’t get it started again. I immediately called for a tow truck and my boss said I could use my lunch hour early to go take care of the car and get her to work.
There was some early good news: the tow truck guy was able to start her car again so my Wife was able to drive it to our mechanic’s shop. But that was followed with more bad news: the tow truck guy charged her 60 bucks to start the car (I picked the wrong career) and now she couldn’t get the car to go above 20 MPH.
I’m the first to admit that I know nothing about automobiles, but even I knew that this wasn’t a great sign.
Our mechanic said he’d give us a call when they figured out what was going on, so I took my Wife to work and then we waited. I hate waiting to hear back from a mechanic. It gives your brain too much time to think, and wonder, and imagine the worse.
Only this time I didn’t even imagine the worst.
Here was the worst case scenario that I knew would be bad but I thought we could handle: a day or two or repairs, right around one to two thousand dollars that we would have to put on the credit card.
Nope. Sorry. Wrong.
Try needing a new engine that would only cost SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS to replace.
As I slowly got up from the ground, looking for my teeth, reality began to set in piece by piece. The car is nowhere near worth that much money. It wasn’t going to be worth it to fix. We’re not going to fix the car! We’re not going to have a second car!!!
So what did I do? Well, naturally I freaked out.
Actually, to simply say I freaked out would not do justice to the all-out, overreacting, panic attack that I indulged in for the rest of that day. It was one of my finest performances. I can’t say that it was up there with George Banks getting arrested for taking hot dog buns out of their packaging in a grocery store, but it was up there.
Fortunately, we’ve been blessed with level-headed family members and friends that instantly helped us figure out a plan and have offered their cars and rides in the meantime. And fortunately for me, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful Wife who helped me see that this is our first real opportunity to get through a legit crisis together.
It still blows my mind that one day we had two cars and the next we were donating one of them to Goodwill for a tax write-off and I still don't know how we are each going to get to work every day with our conflicting schedules.
But I know we will get through this.
Even though we weren’t ready for it and even though it’s going to be uncomfortable for a while.
If nothing else, I'll just keep reminding myself of how well things have worked out for Eli and hope for similar success for my Wife and I at the big league level.