I had never heard of the poet Ross Gay until earlier this week.
I was sitting at my desk, listening to Spotify, pondering the two things that matter to me: the current quality of my golf game, for good and bad; and attempting to will the start of football season into existence. Part of this process involves me pulling up the three sportsbooks I use and staring at Week 1 college football/NFL lines until I want to cry (from joy or sadness, I’m still not sure). After a good cry, I shuffle over to the preseason NFL lines/totals tab and place a few wagers. I am well aware there is no lower behavior than gambling on preseason NFL games, and yet I persist because in some bastardized way, it temporarily satiates my desire to have real, live football at the center of my life. This year I have gone a step further and…started live betting preseason NFL games. I’m sure it was as hard for you to read those words as it was for me to write them.
This is normally where I would say I am not proud of my actions and pray to everything holy that time can fast-forward to August 27 and Nebraska-Northwestern, or September 8 and Bills-Rams. But as I was sitting perusing lines, a voice started speaking through my speaker. The voice belonged to Ross Gay, and for 15 minutes I stopped everything and became transfixed by a reading of his poem “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.” I would highly encourage you to take time out of your day, sit in a quiet place, and listen to what he has to say. I was blown away, not just by the words or accompanying music from one of my favorite musicians Bon Iver, but because the voice came across as an echo of my own mind, exploring a deep love for life that I share.
And somehow, preseason NFL games are a part of that! So rather than apologizing for my depraved behavior, I feel compelled to embrace and trumpet my own unabashed gratitude for all things. I live bet the hell out of a Raiders-Jaguars game and had a damn fine time doing it. I was screaming in joy because of Nick Mullens and Jarrett Stidham! Ameer Abdullah, my former beloved Cornhusker, scored a touchdown on behalf of my bet! What a world, where a disheveled, sloppy knock-off can transform into something that does not approximate the real thing but still stands independently on its own and provides value, even if it’s small. I will end this newsletter with the end of Gay’s poem because it spoke to me in a deep, deep way (and again, I cannot stress this enough, please listen to it in its entirety):
I want so badly to rub the sponge of gratitude
over every last thing, including you, which, yes, awkward,
the suds in your ear and armpit, the little sparkling gems
slipping into your eye. Soon it will be over,
which is precisely what the child in my dream said,
holding my hand, pointing at the roiling sea and the sky
hurtling our way like so many buffalo,
who said it’s much worse than we think,
and sooner; to whom I said
no duh child in my dreams, what do you think
this singing and shuddering is,
what this screaming and reaching and dancing
and crying is, other than loving
what every second goes away?
Goodbye, I mean to say.And thank you. Every day.
This Week On The Chris Rawle Show
Who Will Rise & Who Will Fall In The 2022 College Football Season?
On this episode:
- The fall from grace for Miami, Florida State, Nebraska, Texas, and USC.
- Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma: the ruling class of college football.
- With coaching and roster turnover, are Clemson and Oklahoma susceptible to falling off their throne?
- Penn State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Michigan, USC, and Oregon: teams floating around the periphery, hoping to step into the elite tier.
Being Unafraid To Be Who You Want To Be
On this episode:
- The career of Bob Dylan and his unabashed willingness to be who he wants to be, contrary to the wishes of many of his fans.
- The struggle of Nebraska's football program to establish an identity.
- Who the Green Bay Packers want to be in 2022.
- The QB Betrayal Index (from Mike Sando of The Athletic) and thoughts on Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Mitchell Trubisky.
- Peyton Manning's Colts and the Legion of Boom Seahawks.