As another Saturday with the Florida Gators playing football dawned, I was tired.
I suspect I’m not alone.
I’m tired of Florida — the state, not the team, though the team is inextricably part of the state — being besieged by storms. Two monsters have slouched toward the Sunshine, yearning to bear down on a fragile paradise, in the last 11 months, and have only by good fortune managed merely to rake it, rather than raze it. Still, people spent last week fearing and fretting and prepping; still, people have spent this week cleaning and clearing and sweating; still, more people will spend weeks or months without power or water or a roof of their own; still, people died.
I’m tired of Florida — the team, this time — being offensively inept enough to let the same stale jokes pass for wit and the same lame criticisms stand in for insight. Every failure and every success is its own, but they have all blended together for so many and for so long that there is a narrative fatberg lodged in our discourse. I would prefer, at minimum, something slightly more compelling to consider than Florida struggling so generically that everyone can blame everything.
I’m tired of us for letting that narrative calcification happen. It’s our fault. Mine and yours and everyone’s. Physician, heal thyself and all that.
I’m tired, just generally. My life is not yours and my life is not the hardest to live on this Earth, but my life has felt hard of late, and for longer than I’d have imagined it would, and in ways I did not anticipate. Not every cloud has had a silver lining; virtually every silver lining has had a cloud. (Pro tip: Don’t buy a car when a hurricane’s coming.)
But mostly, I’m tired of waiting for things to be better than they are, or at least waiting for the things I cannot change. I wasn’t going to get Florida to play this football game any faster than it did, nor was I going to be able to get Florida to play that last one, last weekend. I am powerless against Category 5 hurricanes, as are we all, after all.
This last thing, though: This last thing is one that I no longer have to wait for. Florida is playing today, in a few minutes, and, at least, the wait for something to shake out of stasis has come.
The Gators may go forward or backward today, but they won’t be standing still.