Okay so I know it’s been awhile since I have even bothered to write anything, post, etc so much so that I closed my site and just went back to my basic blog format as it’s easier and will give me the forum I need to express myself in ways that Twitter and Facebook either won’t allow or I don’t care to. So I figured I would kick this one off with a little opening up about something that I didn’t even realize was bothering me the way it was until recently so here goes.
So a week ago I had a dream about my Uncle Jeff that passed away a few years back from pancreatic cancer and in my dream my uncle and I were playing Madden just like we have always done and he said something to me that stayed on my mind well after I awoke. My uncle told me “Hey man, this is our shit, Madden is ours and I know you haven’t felt the same about playing it since I passed but you gotta do it because of that same fact, because IT’S OUR THING”. In that moment I began to think about the last few years of Madden and how they have continued to improve but I have continued to try to engulf myself into 2K as my sports muse to help me over the pain of losing my uncle.
Madden was OUR THING, I mean the very last time that I saw him, the last time that I got to spend time with him while he was alive, we played a game of Madden and I truly believe that he knew it would be our last game. I guess a part of me didn’t want to play with anyone else, a part of me didn’t want to embrace the competition aspect of it with someone else because my Uncle Jeff was my greatest competition and the one I loved to play because he brought the best out of me each time. I always wanted him to be proud of me when I played him or someone else since he introduced me to the game and taught me how to play. He taught me about Madden and football in general (somewhat through Madden), how to play it, to understand it, to read plays, to decipher information quickly so I could react properly and I guess when he passed I lost my full on desire to compete. I tried on many occasions even joined a league with a few good friends but I just couldn’t stay motivated so when things came up like one of my brothers really wanting the game but not having the ends to cop so I sent him mine or trading it in because 2K was coming out & I needed the trade in money because well I ain’t rich, I would just let them come up. Didn’t put up much of a fight to continue playing although I thoroughly enjoyed the last few iterations of Madden and the people I was in the league with (shoutout to my Sim Standard brothers).
I can’t properly put into words what my uncle meant to me but just know that in his death a part of me died as well, a big part because he was my role model, my example, my teacher. More importantly than that he was my friend and Madden was the thing that bonded us. If we had family get togethers everyone would say “Where are Jeff & D?”….”Oh they are probably playing Madden in the basement” and please believe that that’s exactly where we were. So it has been tough for me to try to embrace the last few years of it properly but after that dream that is going to change. I lost my fiercest competitor but in my dream I know what my Uncle Jeff was trying to tell me, he was telling me that I have to find some new ones and enjoy the game that we loved, that we talked about all year long, that we played so many hours for many weekends back in the 90’s and 2000’s. We used to pick teams out of a hat and that’s how we would build our matchups because this way we could use teams other than our own (Raiders and Titans) and as my uncle used to say “really get our skills up by learning new teams and sometimes playing lopsided games based on ratings”. We used to talk and chop it up about life while playing, SOMETIMES because I don’t like to talk much when I play, I lock in and focus and he used to hate that because he couldn’t get under my skin, but it was that stuff that I miss the most.
So for Madden 17 it’s time to truly get back in my bag and get back to what I do, time to take off work for 3 days and play it all week again after I pick it up on release day, time to pull my personal 2 week Training Camp back out in which I don’t play anyone for the first 2 weeks after release so I can practice and run plays etc to learn all the new nuances of the game and get acclimated, and more than anything get back to being what my uncle used to call me…”the best Madden player I know”. So Jeff thanks for popping up in my dream and while some may just look at this as some dream about video games to me it was much more than that, it was my hero telling me it’s time to get back on the field, time to take the pain of losing him and use Madden which was OUR THING as my therapy. I used to get so much joy when my Uncle would tell people “yeah you might be nice but my nephew is one of the if not THE best” and I was always looking over my shoulder for his approval when I played others because I wanted him to be proud of his student. Like this one time when I was playing someone and they did a nice play Jeff says “trust me man, don’t so that bullshit again, he is going to have it covered” then he did it again and I picked it off and ran it back for a TD, Jeff’s response….”I told your dumb ass not to do it again, he picks up on things quickly and won’t fall for the okey doke more than once”. So all in all i’m just going to say this, I hope yall are ready because……..I’M BACK, with my angel/hero/teacher watching me play!!!!!!
Thanks Jeff, I miss and love you…RIP