No Smooshing!

by : Gary E. Anderson

From the book No Smooshing!

Gary E. Anderson

High school football is in full swing, and it’s fun to sit in the stands on a crisp autumn night and watch our kids play. It can also be the source of some pretty funny comments by the fans, especially mothers who may be watching the only football games they’ll ever witness—or care to witness, for that matter.

For instance, during one recent game, our cheerleaders were standing with their backs to the field, leading a cheer of “hold ‘em, hold ‘em!" when one of the fathers in the stands yelled out, “Girls! I think that’s illegal!"

He was right, of course, since our team happened to be on offense at the time.

But the real gem of that night was an observation made by the halfback’s mother. After watching her son trying to run off-tackle twice in a row, only to get caught up in a tangled pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage, she said, “You know, it seems to me they’d do a lot better if they wouldn’t all just smoosh together like that."

Although her comment brought gales of laughter from everyone around her, and the rest of the night was punctuated by various people yelling “no smooshing!" toward the players on the field, I had to admit—the lady was right. Our plays would have gone better if everyone just stopped smooshing.

All the next week, that “no smooshing" comment kept playing through my mind, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that life itself is like that football game. The key to success often lies in our ability to avoid getting caught up in the tangle of everyday problems and to break into the open field—in other words, to avoid smooshing.

That unintentionally profound statement also proved to be the kind of wisdom that only comes about when a person doesn’t know enough about a situation to know that something is “impossible." There were perfectly logical reasons for all the smooshing going on out there on the field, but that mom didn’t know about any of them—so she came up with a simple solution to the problem. I could relate, since I’d experienced a perfect example of that when my friend Digger and I were still in high school.

We had decided that we wanted to write and sell jingles for the radio commercials. Filled with youthful enthusiasm, we threw ourselves into our quest and before a month had passed, we’d already sold three. Then one night, during the recording session for our third jingle, an advertising executive happened to tell us how amazing it was that two kids could have done the impossible by selling jingles—when everyone knew it could only be done by the most accomplished, professional musicians.

That was the last jingle we ever sold.

We’d stopped running in the open field and bogged down in the tangle of bodies at the line of scrimmage—we smooshed.

So if you have a dream, hold it up to the light, keep your eyes on it at all times, and above all—never let anyone tell you that what you’re trying to do is impossible.

And whenever you find yourself beginning to lose heart—stop, take a deep breath, and repeat these words: “No smooshing!"

© Gary E. Anderson. All rights reserved.