Saturday, October 13, 2007

Watching Notre Dame this year should count as penance

Sorry guys but it's true. I just watched a Notre Dame player try to catch a ball while he was looking at the field and then did a face plant. No one was near him, no one tripped him. Perhaps it was a shoe lace untied.

And yeah my bloggin' break is over.

Mostly because of Notre Dame. I'm sitting here watching the game and thinking about shoes. A Boston College player catches the ball and his shoe comes off and he manages to finish the play. Then he goes to the sideline and one of the coaches ties his shoe for him. I know because this is the kind of thing they show during a football game.

No one cares anything about my shoes and who ties them. Although it's not me. I tied my last shoe many years ago. I don't miss tying shoes. The only time I cared in the past decade that I couldn't tie my shoes was when my nephew asked me to tie his and I had to send him elsewhere. But now he can tie his own shoes too so that's no longer an issue.

Over the years I've watched lots of people tie my shoes. Everyone does it differently and no one ties my shoes the way I did. I never realized how many variations of shoe tying there are. And here's the funny thing: while people are tying my shoes, they talk to me about how they do it, most of them in a self deprecating way. "This is how I do it," almost all of them say, as if I'm grading them.

And I don't care. I just need my shoes tied.

At first this kind of talk made me uncomfortable, as did the whole idea of needing someone to tie my shoes. But now I find it interesting, as if I'm adding data to my study entitled "Third person shoe tying". I think, after my empirical studies, that people act this way because when they were learning to tie shoes, most of them were told how to do it and treated by their parents as if the way they did it didn't quite measure up, so they wound up feeling as if they never quite got shoe tying down right.

Why else does everyone apologize for how they do it? "I'm sorry, I tie it (tighter, looser, bigger, smaller) than most," is all I hear. "I know I'm doing this wrong." In my book if you tie a shoe and it stays tied for longer than eight or ten hours I'd say you've done just fine.

Such a simple act. Yet apparently it reflects a lot about us.

And then there's the Notre Dame receiver. I really don't think he tripped over an untie shoe lace. But if he did, that's one other reason for him to feel bad about himself. He'll think "I can't even tie my shoes right!" So I'm glad the Boston College player's shoe fell off.

Just like when people apologize to someone who can't tie her own shoes about how they do it, It kind of levels the playing field, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

People are self conscious when they tie my shoes too. What is it with that? Like your blog.


blue girl said...

Wonderful post. Just great. We're all so worried about measuring up. I wish we could/would all remember that every second of every day. The world would be a much nicer place. There would be less meaningless judgment and more understanding.

Ruth said...

Gail - glad you came by. Also glad to hear I'm not the only one that happens to!

BG- thanks for your comment. I've always wished more people would ask me how I'd like things done (which is always good) instead of putting themselves down (as in they think they're doing it wrong with some imaginary critic). It's sad and a good reminder to me about the importance of how we treat each other.

blue girl said...

That "imaginary critic" sure does have a lot of power over us, doesn't he/she?

Ruth said...

Yeah way too much!

goldchair said...

I've seen people do this too with shoe tying. The apologetic shoe tying snyndrome or something like that .

Rick Hamrick said...

Ruth, I totally get what you are talking about: both about Notre Dame, and the issues around helping someone.

My wife often needs help because of the rheumatoid arthritis which she has been dealing with for 30 years, and I'm careful to offer exactly the help she wants, and do so very matter-of-factly. She is not helpless, nor is she in need of sympathy. She just needs the darned can of stewed tomatoes brought up to the kitchen from the basement, for goodness sake.

We're a team, and we each have things we do better than our teammate. It only makes sense for that person to handle that task.

In the larger sense, we're all a team (and we're better than Notre Dame football this year), and the same strategy should apply.

Not being Catholic myself, I do have to wonder if the priests are now directing folks in confession to repeat fewer Hail Marys and watch more ND football. I guess that would be for those who confessed to something pretty serious...

Ruth said...

Rick- Thanks for your great comment as a spouse! (Appreciate the humor too.) It's really good when spouses leave comments from their point of view - it helps provide another perspective....have a great weekend.