“Oh, my goodness. The Bears season’s going to end on a double doink…Unbelievable.” — Chris Collinsworth, commentator of NBC’s Sunday Night Football
I have to do it. I have to blog about the double doink that took place in football on January 6, and how it relates to writing.
I’m a bit late to the party, posting this over a week after the fact. But let’s be honest, the bizarre and unlucky feat by Chicago Bears’ kicker Cody Parkey will be talked about for years.
For those of you who don’t know what happened: During a widely televised National Football League first-round playoff game, Parkey missed a field goal that could’ve won the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Watch it here.) His kicking attempt bounced the ball against the goal’s upright and the crossbar. Yes, it hit two places. It double-doinked.
It was a thing of mystery. It defied all laws of Football Physics.* It was catastrophic luck for the Bears. It was a sprinkle of magic for Eagles fans like me.**
I was happy about the win, but I was cringing for Parkey. He had to experience that moment in front of thousands of people at the stadium, millions of people watching it on TV, and millions more dissecting it on social media.
The whole mishap made me realize how lucky we novice writers are. I don’t know about you, but I double-doink all the time with my writing.
Recently, I sent the first chapter of a WIP to a critique partner, who gently reminded me that the GMC—goal, motivation, and conflict—for my characters was, sorta, missing from the page.
Doh! How could I make such a mistake? It was a double-doink.
At first I was embarrassed. But why? It hadn’t played out in seconds in front of millions. And the beta-reader who reviewed my work was the only person who knew it happened.***
I simply needed to go back to my computer and make some revisions. I could take days, weeks, or months revising, if I want, working to create a product that is as polished as I can make it. Parkey, on the other hand, doesn’t get a do-over.
If I publish a piece that double-doinks, I can remain hidden behind the cloak of a pseudonym. I can lick my wounds, then re-brand myself under another author identity. Parkey doesn’t have that luxury.
“I’ll continue to keep my head held high because football is what I do, it’s not who I am.” — Cody Parkey, Chicago Bears’ kicker
Sometimes we writers let double-doink moments shake our confidence. Let’s not. Instead, let’s allow the moments to make us better writers. Keep plugging away. Keep revising. Keep writing. If Parkey can get through it, we most certainly can, too.
* After the game, it was discovered that a defender’s fingertips nicked the ball, helping to send the ball on its crazy trajectory.
** The magic didn’t last long. The Eagles lost their next playoff game to the New Orleans Saints. *sigh*
*** Now you’re in on it, too, my blog-reading bushel of loveliness.