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.
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?