Choosing Gratitude - Tress Way

When the NFL first put out the offer to opt out of this season, my wife and I sat down to have a serious discussion. The biggest factor for me was that I was that I was going to have to be away from my wife and kids. During the quarantine period, we had so much fun spending our days in Oklahoma with family. Every day we were outside in the pool or jumping on the trampoline with our 2-year-old twins or cuddling our newborn baby girl. If I played this season, we would have to leave our family and come out to Washington, where we would really have to master hide-and-seek because we wouldn’t be able to go out much, if at all. 

My wife was really great as I left for training camp in August to feel things out. After three weeks, she and our three kids came out to join me. Everything is very uncertain, not just for us, but for everyone right now. We are fortunate that the NFL is able to delay the season if needed. As we watch what happens with baseball and other sports, the league is able to make more informed decisions and create a good protocol for us to follow, which includes daily COVID tests, a wearable tracker to monitor who we are interacting with each day, and mandatory masks while we’re in the building.

With baseball, it seems like it may be a little easier to substitute a pitcher out if one gets COVID. With football, if a starting quarterback is out, it’s a significant hit to the team. If I get COVID, the team will have to bring in an outside kicker. I’d hate to lose my active-game streak of six seasons, 16 games a season, and one playoff game. 

I can’t say that I am fearful of what may or may not happen this season, but I am uncertain. I think we all are. But I’m not fearful.

At the beginning of the quarantine, I changed up my routine a bit. Every morning I would wake up around 5 a.m. to do a workout, then I would grab my coffee and get breakfast with our twins while my wife took care of the baby. Then I would work out again during their nap time. And it hit me: I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do this again, especially while my children are at this age. 

Everything in my Bible time was pointing me to an attitude of gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty going on around me. Each spring I am normally so laser-focused on football, which I still was, but this year I was able to stop and take time with my kids. I can’t even tell you how many photos and videos I took, all of which I will have forever. These are the moments I’ll never lose, and I would never trade. 

We have so much to be thankful for, both in the present and to look back on. But we have to choose an attitude of gratitude in the midst of the chaos.

— Tress Way, Washington punter

Tress Way is a regular contributor to The Increase and provides monthly articles and opinions. Check out Tress’s Increase profile here.

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