hail mary

March 11, 2012

Four days ago the Indianapolis Colts cut my quarterback, Peyton Manning. He had started 208 consecutive games, passed for almost 55,000 yards and threw 399 touchdowns. Now cut, because his body has failed him. Peyton turns 36 this month. I turn 46 this summer. I have raised three girls, and regarding my daughters it is only halftime. Leave me in coach. I desperately want to finish this game. The third quarter highlights include graduations, vacations and weddings and in the fourth quarter we will slow the game a bit so there is time to hold my grand baby in a rocking chair in the sun on a warm spring day. She will smell like baby powder and her little head of hair will be soft against my cheek. I will pat her butt while she sleeps on my shoulder and the sun will warm us both. I have watched the tapes a thousand times. I am ready.

We all know why he got cut. Peyton didn’t play at all last season and some question if he will ever play again. My sorry season seems upon me too. The chemo playbook is failing me, the last drug didn’t work and the lung mets have grown bigger. A simple play like a home cooked family dinner is impossible to run and even half a day at work leaves me feeling sacked. Several seasons I have battled this opponent, but this latest round seems the most challenging of all. I don’t know how much game I have left in me. I can tell that people are starting to wonder about me too. They are coming by with meals again and visiting unexpectedly, hugging harder and longer than they used to do. Like Peyton, who choked up at the press conference, I too am not ready to leave. Like Peyton, I have spent my whole life on this one team. They need me. I must run these last few plays.

We have to save the house and the girls will need insurance and Doug needs to know where I have kept things. And who will tell the girls how proud I am of them when they land that first big job or who will pin the something borrowed to her wedding gown and smile through tears of joy at the woman I hold in my arms? Who will remind her in that moment that love is beautiful and respectful and hard and oh so worth it when you meet the right person? Who will welcome my new son into the family, throwing a big hug down on him while whispering in his ear a threat on his life should he ever hurt my baby.

I read that Peyton is already entertaining Arizona or Denver. Somedays I’d like the option to go to Greece, to forget about all of this for a while, to sit on my beach in the sun. But all of this is going to take a Hail Mary.


16 Responses to “hail mary”

  1. Betsy Happel Says:

    Got it.

  2. Tami DeLand Says:

    Praying for that Hail Maryl–and you–always.

  3. Jackie Puzniak Says:

    Hail Marys always
    Beautifully written

  4. Margrett Patton Says:

    Ronnie, you and your family are in my prayers, God bless you

  5. Larissa Says:

    The Colts will always remember that Peyton was the best quarterback they ever had. That’s the gift he gave them. And it won’t ever be lost. Its the same with your team.

    Hail Mary, full of grace, infuse us with your Peace!

    My prayers are with you, Ronnie.

  6. gaye g.p Says:

    Allow me to elaborate on my Facebook comments. “Midnight = Dark Thoughts” acknowledges that the dark moments do come, and that is well and good. “Get out into the sun” expresses my wish that you continue with your proved ability to enjoy what you do have for however long you have it.
    I know you just a little bit but I know you can stand in a shadow and still appreciate the brightness that is a step away. You can cup sunshine in your hands. You can pull the covers over your head when you need that, and later crawl out smiling. You can, and you will. All your friends admire you for that. Namaste, friend.

  7. Laura Says:

    You are an incredible writer and an unbelievably brave woman. I am so humbled by your generosity and courage.
    I am praying for that hail mary.

  8. marja Says:

    prayers and hugs are sent your way! your words are powerful and inspiring. WOW

  9. Tish Chism Says:

    Prayers sent your way! I don’t know you but feel like I do from reading your writings. You are a wonderful mother and inspire me to think more about all things wonderful. I have problems of my own that seem all consuming; but you make me feel like I can make it through anything! I feel a kinship with you because I also have 3 daughters. God bless you and your family!

  10. Diane Neukam Says:

    Ronnie: I sit and cry through every blog, comment, and pictures. And even though I am so sad, I hunger for more of you. Please don’t stop writing. Ironic as it may be, you give me hope

  11. Kim Mosley Says:


    When I left college to go to grad school, I wrote out a poem for Linda on a napkin. I had bought it on a little card in NY at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine:

    Are there stones that hurt your feet… keep on
    Are you fearful whom you’ll meet… keep on
    Every stone is hard to wend ’til you reach the final bend
    God will meet you in the end, keep on, keep on

    All you can do is to keep on as you’ve been doing so beautifully. What you’ve given will not go away. Do not worry.


  12. Harriet Says:

    Ronnie, I recently learned of your fight and send my thoughts and prayers your way.

  13. Tracey Clobes Says:

    I do not know you Ronnie, but think you are an incredibly courageous woman who has inspired me with your writing. I hope and pray you not only get to the fourth quarter, but OT also! Remain strong and faithful — God Bless!

  14. Betsy Happel Says:

    ,,,and in a fascinating twist, it appears Peyton will continuing playing, but for a different team. He will be called “for life” into football eternity, but in a different capacity. Ah, yes… God’s wisdom, God’s word.

  15. Erin Verry Says:

    Ronnie, you have laid an incredible foundation that will remain. Use your energy to eliminate those biggest burdens. Thoughts and prayers, as always, every day.

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