HOBOKEN, N.J. -- This is the closest I will come to competition this weekend. Twenty-four hours before the Broncos grapple for Super Bowl XLVIII, I curled for the first time in my 37-plus years. Losing team taps the keg, as the tradition goes. Fortunately, that was not my side.
It's peanuts, but it reminds me of how the biggest moments began with something small. In a few days, there will be Olympians in Sochi, Russia who started their trek with a first stone sent down the curling sheet years, even decades, before they arrive on the shores of the Black Sea. They dreamed of that moment before they even knew where it would be.
So it is for the Broncos and Seahawks. Every dream of today began with a halting throw, a gallop around the yard or living room with a Nerf football, or donning one of those plastic Hutch helmets that came with a full football uniform.
I had a plastic white football the size of a mouse pad that one of my parents had caught at a high-school football game. But to me, it had Pete Rozelle's signature branded on the side, and the green shag carpeting in my parents' living room was the fields of the Rose Bowl, Superdome and RFK Stadium all rolled into one. The couches were the grandstands, and bookshelves marked the goal posts. On Super Bowl Sunday, the TV played the ESPN marathon of Super Bowl highlights. Nothing but John Facenda, glorious slow motion, and me and a friend at a line of scrimmage, trying to run through each other without breaking the nearby coffee table.
Of dreams like these that every player once had, the first groundwork was laid for their ascension to today. But often their first dream of football wasn't strictly about the moment. It was about victory. No one dreams of being the player consoled by a coach or teammate; it's to walk off with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Dreams will come true Sunday. But whether it's the Super Bowl, Olympics, World Cup, Final Four or a major golf or tennis tournament, dreams can become nightmares. The Broncos and Seahawks have each given themselves a 50 percent chance -- far more than in September, or when their individual paths to today began. It's a probability they may never see again.