Go Long for the Fade


When I was a kid in grade school we used to play touch football on the street in front of the school during lunch and recess. In those days the football was a section of newspaper rolled into a tight cylinder about 4 inches long, three inches thick and held together by a rubber band. The footballs usually lasted about a week until they had to be repaired or replaced with a new section of the Pittsburgh Press or Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Because the street was cobblestone, narrow, and one way, we only called one of three plays. Either you went 10 steps and cut to the outside or inside; went 10 yards turned to come back toward the quarterback or you did what was called ‘the fade.’  It was was the famous ‘go long and I’ll hit you.’ It was every kid’s glory play because when it was successful it always resulted in a touchdown. (You never knew if that cute 7th grade girl might be watching).

Imagine my surprise when the ‘fade’ showed up back in my life 60 years later. Only this time it was packaged differently.

I start my day by reading the prayers typed on orange pieces of paper and kept on the window sill next to my chair. I recently noticed that the papers are losing their color…fading from the original bright orange to a softer orange patina, headed toward white.

This has me thinking about the concept of ‘fading’ as a metaphor for aging. It happens over time and results in things like graying hair, diminished eyesight and waning passions and interests.  It’s capped by a growing collection of physical limitations and wondering what new adjustments the day will bring.

Is that all there is to aging?   Go long on the fade?


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