August 26, 2014
Football in Federal Prison
“Dude, what’s wrong?” I asked a friend the day after the Superbowl in February 2009.
“Just having a bad day,” my friend from the kitchen at Taft Prison Camp told me.
“Why? All okay at home, your wife missing you or your kids struggling at school, or you nervous about going home? What is it?”
“No, football season just ended and I have no idea how I’ll make it to September. The weeks just seem to fly by during football season—with college game day and my man Kirk Herbstreit to NFL Sunday to Thursday night football. I just feel the time fly, dude. Now it will be a brutal struggle to September.”
Admittedly, I love watching and playing golf. In prison, I took a whole day off to watch Tiger Woods win the US Open in a playoff in 2008 against Rocco Mediate. But until the Ryder cup later that year I didn’t watch again.
Aristotle suggested there is gold in moderation. All incoming prisoners must be mindful of this. Prison can be easy. One can too easily lose themselves in endless fun or mindless activities. I’m not begrudging someone from watching football. I’m just asking you to access how that activity relates to the obstacles that await your release. Watching golf for me or reading easy books were emotional releases. I needed them. The brakes helped me recharge.
My point again is these breaks or emotional releases should be short lived. Do not allow your happiness or well being to be contingent on football or mail call or how much halfway house/ home confinement time you get.
Persistence, like character, is an acquired skill—power through the need to waste the days. Please follow this prison advice and come home stronger and more prepared for the obstacles that await you.