Turns out that one of my Three Priorities for this return trip to Madison was of the sort that could be taken care of via a relatively straightforward phone call, and indeed it was this afternoon. Hopefully my efforts toward the other two Priorities will do more to vindicate my decision to make this trip. (Yes, I know how much everyone just loves when I'm all cryptic here on my blog.)
Meanwhile, I spent way too much the latter half of this afternoon mentally replaying this single moment in a football game I once saw where a pass was thrown over the middle of the field to a wide receiver. The pass was thrown too far in front, and the receiver dived forward and stretched himself out completely toward the ball. He did this despite two things: (1) as I am sure he could well see, it was unlikely that even with this effort he was going to be able to do more than get his fingertips on the ball and (2) as he could definitely see, there was a defensive back coming at him at full speed. I mean, he knew he had a very low probability of catching the pass and a very high probability of getting hit extremely hard, and yet, still, he puts himself in about the most physiologically vulnerable position possible in order at least to try to catch the ball. I am one of those people who varies considerably in the extent to which he allows his rational or romantic sides to dominate his cognition, but I must confess that I am a complete sucker for the idea that there are situations in which a person could play it safe but instead goes ahead and tries despite being confronted low odds of success and high costs to failure. And so, I remember sitting there in this stadium full of people and thinking that I had just witnessed this remarkably admirable act--one unappreciated by everyone else there, since all they saw was that it was an incomplete pass--and that it was sad that such a demonstration of character was wasted on, you know, just a stupid football game.