NFL: NFC Wild Card-Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears


Imagine, if you will, training most of your life perfecting a difficult skill most don’t understand or respect. You hone your highly-specialized craft in a world where most risk life, limb, and brain-trauma fighting for that extra yard, and yet few who fight for those yards can replicate the one thing in which you have invested the most.

Now imagine developing a reputation for succumbing to external pressure and frequently failing at the one task you’ve spent most of your life perfecting. Your brothers who risk life, limb, and brain-trauma fighting for that extra yard continue to believe in you and try to boost your confidence as external forces clamor to see you fail again so they can tear your embattled spirit to pieces.

Lastly, imagine that the very thing you fear most comes to pass; failure on the greatest stage of your life, melting beneath the microscope of notoriety, your greatest effort summed-up in an onomatopoeic, “doink-doink”.

I sat on my floor, having just slid off my couch, staring at my screen in silence, no longer feeling January chill born from an old furnace and poor insulation. Numb to external elements, I didn’t feel the anguish I expected in typical expected terms. The team wearing the laundry I’ve rooted for since I was four had been bested by an apparent missed kick, and as I watch an entire city prepare to heap hatred upon the kicker’s slumped shoulders, a single thought echoed repeatedly in my head…

“That poor kid.”

frail sun slips away
winter night falls unannounced
I have faced both ways

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday: January, hosted by kim881.

14 thoughts on “Doink-Doink

  1. I know nothing about American football, Barry, but what I do understand is ‘training most of your life perfecting a difficult skill most don’t understand or respect’. I’ve never risked ‘life, limb, and brain-trauma’ but your haibun conveys it in such a way that I have an idea of what it must be like. And you’ve evoked the feeling of failure too. I love the haiku!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you on the “poor kid” thought. How is it no one blames missed tackles, failed 2 pt after touchdown, forgetting to drag a foot and ending out of bounds, and the blame comes down to this one “poor kid” who is destined to be the scapegoat for the entire team. You’ve covered it well … and I’m sad all over again!!


  3. Just the thought of perfecting yourself as an athlete and have it end has to be devastating.
    I know kids doing other sports, one is a triathlete and the other a swimmer…. and all that time they put in… but at least they don’t have to fail on primetime


  4. Poor kid indeed. I can sympathize with the long hours of training and intense pressure only to flub and fail at the crucial times. That frail sun in the haiku is a vivid metaphor.


  5. Just remember that “poor kid” will still get paid millions of dollars so don’t feel too badly! I do feel your pain as a Steelers fan living in the Philly area. There’s always next season! Great write!


      • Nah. I’m no better than you or anyone. I’m a mess. Just a casserole of nonsense. Ask anyone who frequent my blog.

        I’m just trying to be a better person than I was yesterday. It’s an ongoing process and often I fall short.

        My wife told me a story and the long and the short of it is that someone was presented this challenge: “Before criticizing someone for failing you, ask yourself one question; do you believe that the person who failed you tried their best?”

        It really made me think, and now I try to approach tough situations with more grace and equanimity. It doesn’t always work out and I will cuss a blue streak at times, but I try to be mindful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your wife sounds very wise! That’s actually the message I tell my kids – funny how it’s easier to apply this in the kids’ world than in the adult world. Btw, I will be stealing your phrase “casserole of nonsense”!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s probably hard for the kids too and only seems easy because we compel them to do right. They roll their tiny eyes just like we do. (Especially my daughter.)

        (I heard that casserole phrase on a tv show, but go nuts with it. Take it home with ya!) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I am SO with you. Couldn’t believe it but … to focus just on that crazy kick and not all the other things that happened during the game. Poor guy!


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