“That’s it. I’m calling it. Game over.”
With that, my friend put his empty chili bowl in the sink, grabbed his coat and his wife and headed to his home in East Nashville. Super Bowl LI still has 8:31 to go in the third quarter but after the Falcons staked a 28-3 lead, people all around the country put a fork in the Patriots. The rest of our small gathering also left and soon our house was empty with more than a quarter to go in the game.
I won’t pretend that I predicted the outrageous comeback but while my wife headed to bed, I stayed up on the living room couch because I sensed an underlying murmur that the Falcons were running out of gas. “At least Brady may make a game of it,” I muttered to my dog Lola, who sighed and proceeded to take her 19th nap of the day.
“Luck is the residue of design” is one of my favorite sayings. The Patriots were probably the only ones who truly believed they had a chance of winning and kept plugging away and sure enough, all the “lucky” things that had to happen to win, happened. Facing adversity, the team continued to grind away. They made they own luck, so to speak. The only way that happens is by never quitting.
I bring this up because I think there are parallels to the Jobs for Tennessee Graduates program. The students JTG serves face a plethora of barriers to graduation. Some are severe. Some are self-inflicted such as making poor decisions. Most are just the circumstances they find themselves. Poverty. A sick parent leading to absences. A learning disability. JTG students have all sorts of “life” coming at them and face adversity. Getting to school on time, with a full stomach, without boyfriend/girlfriend drama or drama at home, ready to pay attention and learn in each class is what is expected but that’s a big ask. Think about it. How often you do you have a day that goes according to plan? And chances are, you don’t face near the daily challenges of JTG students. Our JTG specialists (teachers) are truly tuned into what is going on in a student’s life and won’t allow these students to just “call it a game.” Not an option. There are times where JTG’s student situation looks a lot like the Patriots’ chances of winning the Super Bowl down 28-3. While millions aren’t watching as confetti drops from the ceiling, a JTG student walking across the stage this May will be no less impressive a victory.
Seconds after the end of the game, just for fun, I texted my buddy back who left our house early.
“Actually, I’m calling it. Game over,” it stated.
Moral of the story: Don’t ever give up if there’s time on the clock, in a game, or life.