Play It Again, Tom

By Lloyd Graff

Tom Brady and I share something more important than being University of Michigan grads. We both want to keep doing what we do for as long as we believe we are good at it. 

I watched Brady Sunday night, playing his former team, the New England Patriots. I was mesmerized by him. I wasn’t betting on either team, but I watched every play as it drizzled on the players’ helmets at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The game was as even as it could be, with Tampa Bay losing by two points, then taking the lead on a field goal by a point, and winning when the last second New England field goal doinked helplessly on the right upright, on the last play of the game.

At 44 years old, Brady came back to New England for the first time since leaving. He played well, not like he did a decade ago, but he won like he almost always does. 

I thought of Brady Monday afternoon as I pulled out a couple of perfectly preserved Screw Machine World and Today’s Machining World magazines from our archives. I found a Graff-Pinkert Times too, while I was poking around. 

I read a little of the Swarf in each publication. Damn, it was really good stuff, despite being 15 to 20 years old. There was joy in those pages, and knowledge, too. I know I’m bragging, of course. 

Am I a Tom Brady? Of course not. But as I read, I saw a creativity, a uniqueness, and a passion to connect with the readers. 

I don’t have a big audience, but I know people do read my stuff. Some have been reading it for 25 years and still seem to care, even when they think I’m an idiot. 

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

I share that with Brady, too. He doesn’t always win. He throws interceptions and occasionally gets smeared by a 280-pound lineman, but he sucks it up and comes back the next week, ready to throw the 50-yard pass. 

If I’m lucky, two out of three of my columns resonate with readers. I like most of what I write because I love language and I cherish ideas that are often a little unconventional. But I especially love personal stories that have that little something that punctures the shield of boredom or indifference that we have all developed as aging humans. If I can relate a good story, I have won. If I bounce off the shield of indifference–well, I get to come back next week.

Tom Brady, keep bending over center and hitting the receiver who is open for a half second, 12 yards down the field. I love your passion for the game at 44, Brady. It’s a message to me, a word warrior with a similar love for my game. Tom, I’m going to just keep getting up every time I take a hit and come out for the next game.

Keep winning the close ones.

Question: Is Tom Brady the greatest of all time?

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15 thoughts on “Play It Again, Tom

  1. Misterchipster

    I’m not sure about Tom Brady, I’m not much of a sports fan but I commend him for staying in the game. As You, I and Tom all realize experience goes a long way to offset youth and physical ability.
    Yes Lloyd, not every article is a winner and some are more like “hail Marys” but that is how we all stay in the game! Keep writing, it keeps your mind sharp and your readers engaged, me included.

  2. Bill Bursik

    Lloyd: Reading your blog made me realize that I’m not alone staying with what I’ve done for well over 40 years. I started running and setting-up B&S automatics, then I went to work for the Wickman Corp who imported Index back in the 70s. In 1980, I got into sales working for a large new machinery dealership in So Cal until I retired in 2011. I tried retirement twice but found it to be an empty experience and I was always wondering what I was missing out on.

    Today, I work at selling some new product lines along with used equipment working for a friend of mine who started a used dealership in Florida. I work 3 days a week which is perfect for me. I get nice 4 day weekends every week and I still stay in the game.

  3. Daniel

    Of course he is the greatest of all time!
    I have been a fan of his since he beat Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl 35-34.
    Those were the glory years for U of M football, my Alma Mater also.
    My youngest son (18) has seen so many bad performances by the Wolverines is his short life that he roots for the Dark Side (yes, OSU)!
    I have to continue to teach him about the old days and the 1997 National Championship (I was at the Rose Bowl for that one). Brady was a non-playing freshman that year.
    I enjoy reading most of your articles. I doubt that you are the GOAT of the writing world, but keep up the good work.

  4. Donnie Kratzberg

    Don’t support anyone who does not stand for the national anthem of this country. I do realize the sacrifices that were made to preserve that privilege, so I don’t watch professional football. I read everything that I receive that you write. I enjoy the reading, because generally it equates to our own daily struggles and victories, so you are providing education and entertainment. Enjoy most everything you write.

    Thank You,


  5. Todd Miller

    No question about it. Tom Brady is the GOAT. 7 Super Bowl rings, 5 Super Bowl MVP awards, 3 league MVP awards, most career wins, most career TD passes, most career passing yards and most career passing attempts make it so. As a Steelers fan, it pains me to recite those stats because many of them have been accumulated at my team’s expense. One thing that’s painless, however, is reading your blog posts because they allow me to reflect on a subject I hadn’t thought of or consider a different perspective on an issue. Keep up the good work!

  6. Marc Klecka

    Lloyd – Keep bringing humanity to our nuts and bolts world. It is hard to judge athletes from different eras. However, in Brady’s case, there can be no doubt … he is The GOAT!

  7. Peter+Frow

    Hi Lloyd,
    What you write is the overflow of who and what you are by God’s grace and that is a precious constant whether or not you write a ‘winner’ as you often do and whether or not you get lots of responses. I love the warmth and transparency of all your pieces. I love the range, breadth and depth of your interests and perspectives.
    You just keep on writing!

  8. John H

    Probably, but that really doesn’t matter in the grander scheme. What really matters is that you keep doing what you do; for your enjoyment and ours. And, occasionally you even get to tweak those that think that the most important things in life are machines and making a buck with them. Fortunately for most of us, there is no need to be the GOAT.

  9. michael ottenweller

    Thank you Lloyd, been reading you for several years. Glad to see you are still at it! Refreshing to read articles that speak to the great human spirit of innovation, perseverance and grit. Keep it up!

  10. Ridgely Dunn Post author

    I always learn something whenever I read (and edit) one of your blogs. I don’t always agree with you, but I think we share the same appreciation for those untold stories and unique nuggets of truth that our mass media often overlooks. Keep writing!

  11. Sarah Graff

    Keep writing, Dad!
    You’re offering something we all need.
    Glad to hear everyone’s words of appreciation.


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