Fifteen minutes after I had shut off my television in a huff and resigned myself to yet another somber Cult of Colt podcast, while brushing my teeth and preparing for a shortened night’s rest, I pulled up Twitter to see the tenor of the discourse following, what I, at the time, believed, was a Washington Football Team loss at the hands of the New York Giants on Thursday Night football. I stayed up past my bedtime to see Dustin Hopkins push a kick wide of the uprights, saw the camera zoom in on his dejected visage, and I promptly grabbed the remote to turn off the game and put myself to bed.
Then, I pulled open my social media feed and saw that I had been a little quick on the trigger, and in fact, Hopkins was granted a reprieve courtesy of a very late offsides flag on Dexter Lawrence, which allowed the beleaguered WFT placekicker to make the most of his opportunity to bring his squad’s record back to an even 1-1 by the slimmest of margins at the gun.
In that moment, my thoughts, naturally, turned to my 2003 Bar Mitzvah speech from the day when I ascended from a boy to a man in the eyes of the Jewish faith.
“Shabbat Shalom.” I opened, compulsorily.
“I would like to welcome everyone and thank you for coming to today’s service. I hope that you have enjoyed the ceremony so far, and as my friend, Dr. Fenton says,” referencing one of my grandmother’s bridge partners, a retired dentist, “‘a half-Torah is better than no Torah at all.’” I made a note, in pen, to pause for laughter.
I continued on to explain to a cavernously large and echoey synagogue, situated with a small number of relatives and drowsy classmates and summer camp friends in ill-fitting formalwear, that the Torah portion I had just recited was about the story of Noah. My takeaway from this Old Testament parable was, “The thing that I found interesting about this story was that God was willing to start over recreating the world with Noah and his family, after working so hard on it.” Elucidating further on this point, as I had been instructed to in obligatory weekly pre-ceremony preparations with the rabbi and cantor, with some real-world examples no doubt provided to me by my father: “This to me shows that if God can get a ‘redo’ on the world, then other people should too. What if Nixon had immediately gone on TV and said, ‘I just found out that my people have gone into the Watergate, I have fired them all and I’m really sorry.’ What if he had a redo? What if the Red Sox hadn’t sold that kid, Babe Ruth, to the Yankees to sponsor a musical? What if they had a second chance? What if Marie Antoinette had said ‘come on in, have some cake,’ what if she had a redo?”
I continued on to bring the point home that unlike in Noah’s story, redos don’t typically exist and that we need to ask for forgiveness “from ourselves, from other people, and from God,” because “unless we hear a voice telling us to build an ark, we don’t get that second chance.”
After Thursday night, perhaps the Washington placekicker should start to consider pairing up animals two by two after he did get the second chance that I believed could only occur under biblical circumstances.
On this edition of the Cult of Colt, we spend very little time considering ecclesiastical rites of passage, and far more of an effort discussing the emergence of Taylor Heineke, what we believe Jack Del Rio ought to do in order to course-correct on defense, and this week’s matchup with another force of nature: the Buffalo Bills and their zealotic adherents in the Bills Mafia.