“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” –W.C. Fields
Y’all know that I follow football. I keep up with news and rumors, gossip and playmaking. I love my 49ers, and I pay pretty close attention to a few other teams. The New England Patriots is one of those teams; it’s sort of fascinating how quickly they’ve gone from football royalty to insane train wreck. Between serious injury problems, a former player accused of murder, and a defense that just sucks right now, they’ve got a long row to hoe this season. I suppose there’s still enough quality there to get them to the playoffs, but they’re not going far this year.
Neither is third string quarterback Tim Tebow. He was picked up by the Patriots this offseason after being cut by the Jets, who got him after he was cut from Denver last year (they made a serious upgrade at QB). This is the third team to release Tebow in eighteen months. Tebow has promised to keep pursuing his dream of being a starting NFL quarterback.
I’m not going to get into the mess that has been Tebow’s NFL career too much. I will say that in spite of his success in college, he has turned out to be a pretty lousy QB; he has what is quite possibly the ugliest throwing motion I’ve ever seen. He gets a lot more attention for his overt shows of faith, on both sides of the spectrum, than his abilities or lack thereof. (Many of his more devout fans feel that he’s being persecuted because of his faith, but that’s a giant load of BS.) The thing is, he keeps on cheerfully trying, in spite of an overabundance of evidence that says maybe he should switch positions or quit.
This Eagles song was written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey for bandmate Randy Meisner, who had decided to leave the band. (There’s been a whole lot of friction between the Eagles and Meisner since then, but that’s another story.) It’s such a sweet, melancholy good-bye to a relationship that has clearly run its course. “Time passes, and you must move on. Half the distance takes you twice as long. So you keep on singing for the sake of the song, after the thrill is gone.” Loosely translated, I think that means you shouldn’t beat a dead horse. Randy Meisner had gone as far as he could with the Eagles, and his frenemies sent him off with love. (“Frenemies” is really the only word that should be used to describe the relationships between anybody who’s ever been in the Eagles.) The song is technically about a romance that’s over, but the sentiment applies to pretty much any relationship out there.
There’s a point at which people realize that whatever was there once is gone, and it’s time to cut their losses. I think that’s what Tim Tebow needs to do now. He’s not going to be the next Joe Montana (still my gold standard at QB). He’s not even going to be a mediocre backup. It’s hard to admit it’s time to let the dream go, but it’s time to move on. (And I just now thought of a song that is so much better for this post, but I don’t want to start over again. Listen here.) He’s gotten so much farther on his dreams than most people do. But life isn’t a fairy tale, and dreams don’t always come true. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Like the W.C. Fields quote I opened with, maybe he should just quit being a damn fool.
But I know it’s a hard thing to give up on a dream you’ve always wanted. I remember when I realized I probably wasn’t going to have kids, even before my surgery. I’ve still got some complicated emotions about that, but I’ve realized it’s pretty much for the best. Not all dreams come true. And not all of them should. What are your wistful pipe dreams?