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© 2019 by Mark Konold

Fluctuations

February 6, 2008

So. Damn. Close. Immortality was within their grasp and in the final seconds, a season of riding higher than ever before came crashing down. The Patriots undefeated season, a 19-0 record, was over seemingly as quickly as it began. I was devastated. I slept horribly that night, tossing and turning, dreaming that there was still time on the clock and that the game was not yet over. It didn’t help that I was back in Connecticut surrounded by family who were suffering the same gut punch. It is disappointment that will sting for a long time to come.

 

I know in the grand scheme of things this is only football. Nothing was really on the line except a boatload of pride and a crap ton of money. Other than that, the world will keep on spinning. But still. So much was riding on this in terms of legacy. We seemed to pin so much on this one event. And nothing. There is no consolation prize for this.

 

However, about 24 hours after that terrible low, I was riding pretty high after seeing Senator Obama speak in Hartford. It was a last minute arrangement; the tickets basically fell in my lap courtesy of some personal connections who know I have a growing interest in these things. The next thing I knew I was in the Hartford Civic Center (or whatever it’s called now), the night before Super Tuesday, watching this candidate that everyone is buzzing about. I think the last time I had been in that arena was either for a Whalers game or a concert of some sort. I nearly walked around the entire building until I found the street that was blocked off to form the line. The crowd snaked through a system of metal barriers to direct the flow of traffic. It was impressive to see how many people were showing up for - what was until recently - a relatively unknown candidate. I know everyone remembers the speech Obama gave at the DNC in 2004 but beyond that, what else do they know about him? I’m familiar with him given his time in Chicago and as Illinois’ freshman senator but what else do people know about him compared to a juggernaut like Clinton? And what exactly is underneath the Hope and Change pizzaz? I know it sounds good but I don’t hear many people pressing his campaign with respect to what he is hoping for or plans to change.

 

I’m not saying he can’t win. On a strictly “fire in the belly” meter reading, he, his campaign and supporters have it tenfold over the Clinton machine. It just seems odd to be so fired up for such an unknown quantity. For the record, I did not vote for him in Chicago primaries because A) it was kind of a foregone conclusion he’ll win, and B) I wanted to put my energy into the candidate I wanted from the Republicans. (Illinois is an open primary state). But if Obama is up against someone like Giuliani come November, hope and change all the way.

 

I will say this for my senator. He is a helluv an orator. He has charisma for himself, Hillary and just about everyone else vying for the presidency. Having had some experience speaking in front of an audience, it was damn impressive. And inspiring. The man knows how to get people, in a phrase, fired up. No joke. I got on a plane back to Chicago the next day, still smarting from the loss, but completely inspired by the rally in Hartford.

 

So what do I take from this? Reading my last entry it’s easy to see I’m filtering everything through the grad school lens right now. Fortunately, my second go at the GRE was better than my first. My plan paid off. I submitted my applications two days later and began my economics classes a week after that. Everything is in motion and I continue to do everything I can to manifest this next step. I participate in phone calls to admissions staff, have had a few online chat sessions, etc.I’m doing all I can to try and will this to happen. BUT….

 

This week taught me that bitter disappointment could be a very real outcome. It was for New England at it will certainly be for all but one of the remaining presidential candidates. I need to be ready for that possibility, but I’ve done little in that department. How does one set up the support mechanisms ahead of such potentially trying times? So many things are simply out of my control and if I fail, I will have to find a way to pick myself back up.

 

Or, as Super Tuesday taught us, things may grind on because they have to.  

 

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