The pool’s steam heads upward. Its heat hits 27 degree cold. It creates STEAM. This is my view as I sit outside, by this very pool, and write this… It’s wonderful in a way that all New Englanders can appreciate: like eating ice cream while sitting on a rocky Crag at Nubble Light house on the coast of Maine, or wading in the warm current of ocean water in Falmouth on the Cape. Or watching the Patriots make history as they win the Super Bowl. Moments like these hold a beauty exclusively experienced in the phrase: “What it means to be in New England.”
The New England Patriots. The Super Bowl. Synonymous. Now add: Overtime for the first time in history. And add: sitting by a heated open outdoor pool, in the middle of winter, while my daughter ecstatically swims like an acclimated ocean seal! I am naming these magical moments “When Hot Meets Cold”. Because they come with the territory of loving New England. They come with the territory of the beauty of extreme contrast. These are trophy moments. In our extremes, New Englanders know them.
Now, I’m no sports writer, so I can’t make a lot of commentary on how certain plays at Super Bowl 51 were game changers. But I know the one that is indelibly etched into my brain for eternity: Edelman’s red-gloved catch at 91 yards. That’s a definitive Hot Meets Cold moment! One that may never be recreated in history – yet, can be recreated, in our own personal New-Englander-type moments.
Let me explain:
After a trip to the Ice Castles in Lincoln, NH and an hour of night swimming in 20 degree weather outside last night, My daughter and I were lucky enough to catch the end of the Super Bowl. I was confident we’d missed the best of it – it was late; we’d had a full day already. Meandering back to our room fellow-resort-goers stated, “Oh, don’t turn it on, you’ll be so disappointed.”
But I had this feeling – there was something I did not want to miss: a Hot Meets Cold Moment that produces a resounding steam – a hardy New Englander moment! One, much like a steamy outdoor pool, that can only be experienced when contrasts meet up – much like an outdoor pool that offers a heated swim in the middle of winter. The Patriots seemed to be losing, but they had plenty of time for a comeback. Beauty in Contrasts. Hot Meets Cold. We all wanted it to happen. Something special.
So, last week, I thought it would be fun to drive North and see the man-made towers of lighted ice with my eight year old, then swim outside in a heated pool, amidst icy temperatures, under the crescent moon. It was a “feeling” I had, that something special would happen if we trekked out to a mini-adventure of contrasts. I wavered though: “Not enough money” “I can’t miss work” and “It’s a long drive”. Wavering thoughts. Again, contrasts. Yet, I did something different. Instead of dropping the idea, I scooped it up and hugged it. I embraced the potential of it. Through sheer will and beauty in contrast, my daughter and I joyfully fulfilled our icy dream adventure.
Now, back to the game:
So, we turn on the Super Bowl: 9 – 28. Patriots losing. But, there was time, though.. and sure enough HOT met COLD when Edelman performed! And, today I have been watching the re-play of it non-stop: It’s a GRAB, a semi-DROP, and a SCOOP and a HUG. And Edelman’s precision is the kind that matches many of our own game-changing-momentary-little-life-decisions: opportunity arises, circumstance creates a waver, but we grab it and hug it anyway. The making of the moment feels shaky. Hot meets Cold. STEAM.
I think it sort of happens like this: the moment comes; we think we might miss the mark. We say, “Yikes, I might drop it. But I think I have it!” (READ this article to hear Edelman’s account of the moment). And then, the level of the moment’s importance, entices us to give an extra scoop of effort. With the grab comes the HOLD (or the HUG). And that involves resilience. And it’s only a split second from start to finish. But in the middle of the start and the finish that’s the STEAM. It’s the knowing that comes from NOT knowing. It’s the steam that makes the Cold so sweet, and the Hot so delicious. It’s the nano-second right before the final decision – or game changing move. That’s the STEAM.
Now, we all know New Englanders display resilience. We spring back. In several feet of icy snow today and in 60 degrees of sunshine tomorrow, we perform. The coldest of oceans and the warmest currents can be dipped into in the difference of only minutes. We make history. With Super Bowl overtime, we make history again. We also make history in our own lives in the same way.
Hey, Edelman may be a California native, but he’s got this – and we’ve got this. It’s called STEAM – When Hot meets Cold. We feel the steam, right before the WIN is coming. And this is what happened in New England last night. And this is what happened in my own life (and Edelman’s life) too. The scoop and hug move are visceral moves: they are seen, and felt. And when we approach life with that same resolve, we create STEAM too. We individually stand in the same historical value as Edelman and The New England Patriots. Because we also create STEAM.
And while my “steamy” moments aren’t available for replay on the internet, I replay them in my own mind. They’re my signs of my own impending trophy. Yes, life’s contrasts can create seconds of doubt — but in the steam, I’m going to say it like Edelman, “I’m pretty sure I caught this”. AND, I’d like to add something, Sir Edelman, if I may: you HUGGED it, too!
…I have come indoors from the chilly poolside. Grace and I have created our own Edelman moment: we grabbed the ball (coming to the ice-castles despite other obligations), we felt shaky at first (memory making time on a weekday). Yet, we found the SCOOP of effort. Despite all steamy doubts. We embraced the moment -we created the HUG. STEAM of 2 days of memories -this was our Edelman moment. For Edelman and me, Hot met Cold. Who knew I’d have so much in common with a New England Patriot? But I do… and so do you. Create some STEAM.
Blessings and peace,