The N.E. Patriots, Fly Fishing and Thanksgiving

I’ve been thinking a lot about the New England Patriots, fly fishing and Thanksgiving. Here’s what I mean.

In an amazing game vs. the Broncos, the Patriots had a furious 2nd half to tie the game and go into overtime. The Pats won the coin toss. They decided instead to give the ball to Peyton Manning. They elected to kick, which was puzzling, as the Boston Herald reported:

When Patriots coach Bill Belichick won the overtime coin flip and handed the ball over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, owner Robert Kraft’s immediate thought was in line with what most of America was thinking.

‘‘When Bill chose the wind, I said, ‘What is he doing?’’…. But I spoke with (Belichick) and chatted about it with him afterward, and once again, he was on top of things. What they figured out was, by choosing the wind, it was an incremental 20 yards that they needed to be able to kick, and sure enough, it was a very wise decision.

So, a risky move paid off.

It’s similar to fly fishing. It’s very easy to fish the banks of the river or to stay in the shallows. It’s a lot of work to go into the river, fight a strong current and wade into the middle. You can slip and fall and get carried away for a bit by the current. That’s happened to me a few times. Trust me, it isn’t fun to emerge from the cold water with soaked clothing.

But, here’s the rub. The big fish are in the middle of the river, deep down. There’s a hierarchy among trout. The biggest and strongest fish chase away smaller ones in order to claim prime feeding lanes for themselves.

With risk, comes gain.

Now, I write this because I recently emailed with a friend, who is about to leave for a Thanksgiving reunion with family. Recently, they’ve all become aware of the need to improve their communication with each other and together are doing so. In other words, they’re taking inter-personal risks. I think this is very gutsy. For me, I’m close to my family, but it can be difficult to really share what you think and express “what you need” from them without appearing whiny.

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. Many of you may be on the road. You may be looking at the holiday with joy or dread as you reunite with family. Regardless, it might be worth taking some personal risk with your family? As I’ve blogged before, vulnerability ironically leads to more happiness.

A safe and peaceful Thanksgiving to all!

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