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"Its a Wonderful Ram Life" (Reprint)
As we approach the holidays, I thought (much like the constant re-running of the movie which inspired it) I'd repost this story I first posted last year.
"Its a Wonderful Ram Life"
It is a dark and gloomy mid-December night.
On a bridge over the mighty Mississippi River, a lone figure looks down upon the icy water below.
His mood is somber, as he contemplates his next action, the cold air causing the distraction of an ache to his oft-wounded right thumb
Suddenly, a splash in the water below brings - and the figure is alert once more. "A man is drowning - don't think, just act." And, into the water Kurt Warner – his motivation transformed in that moment from suicidal to savior.
Upon reaching the bank of the river, Kurt addresses the man for whom he just risked his life. "Why did you jump in?" he asks.
"To save you." Replies the frail, elderly man beside him. "After all, you were about to jump."
"How did you...?"
"I know everything about you, Kurt. I'm your guardian angel, Clarence. And you know what else I know, Kurt. I know you don't really want to kill yourself."
"I suppose you're right. I guess I just wish I was never a Ram."
Clarence contemplates this stray thought for a moment, and then proclaims. "Okay, Kurt, you have your wish. A chance to see what your life would be like if you were never a Ram."
Kurt suddenly finds himself in a small, crowded house. His wife, Brenda is there, though she somehow looks older, more tired, than he remembered.
"To your credit, Kurt" Clarence, who suddenly appeared, stated "you still have a strong family, even without the Rams. You just don't have the resources you acquired with your success as a quarterback."
Kurt felt somewhat mixed about this revelation. For him, he never felt he needed all the riches. But seeing Brenda looking old and tired, and knowing how much easier her difficult life had become due to his success on the field, made him somewhat sad.
A fog descended, and then cleared. Kurt then found himself in the Rams locker room. The team had just lost a game and the players were upset. There was much arguing and even a few scuffles among the teammates.
"What day is this?" Kurt asked Clarence.
"It is December of 1999. The Rams have been eliminated from the playoffs. You see Ricky Proehl over there? He will be retiring at the end of this year, frustrated by the team's losing. Marshall Faulk is not in his uniform, as he sustained a major injury trying to carry the team. And over there is Dick Vermiel and Mike Martz. Both coached their last game today."
Kurt's heart ached. "Won't they rebound?" He asked.
"Someday. All teams do, after all. But that day is far in the future." Clarence answered. "Now, there's one more thing I want to show you."
And so Clarence showed Kurt a montage of Ram fans - each lacking the respite and solace of those few days when their beloved team was on top of the world. And though it was only a small piece of each fan's happiness that was missing, in the aggregate the loss was overwhelming.
"I've seen enough!" Kurt exclaimed. "Take me back, Clarence. I want to be a Ram again. I want to be a Ram again."
Kurt awoke and found himself in the Rams' locker room. He was wearing his uniform, all too clean from recent games on the sidelines.
But knowing what he had accomplished, and what he might accomplish in the future, his heart smiled.