Chris Graham: Move the chains

312_stopthepressesI overuse sports analogies, so keep that in mind when I tell you how I judge the end of each of my days, by asking myself if I was able to move the chains.

You know, football?

I gauge my day by assessing if I was able to move the ball a little further down the field, get a first down or two, then punt and try to play field position, if I scored a touchdown, et cetera.

Some days, certainly, are interceptions returned for touchdowns, and those are going to happen no matter what we do to try to prevent them.

Too many people treat every day like it’s an interception is about to be returned for a touchdown, and opt to run the ball into the line three times, punt and play defense.

People who watch too much football know that you don’t win a lot of games running into the line, punting and playing defense, and also that teams that do figure out a way to win running into the line, punting and playing defense aren’t all that exciting to watch.

On the other side of the ledger, those that sling the ball all over the field and blitz on every down, while exciting as hell to watch, have their own issues, same as those who live their lives that way have their own issues.

So don’t sling it, don’t punt on third down because you’re playing not to lose.

Move the chains. Just move the chains by the end of the day. Push it down the field, be smart about how you do it, punt and play defense when you have to, and put yourself in a position to win, realizing that it’s a long game, lots of plays from scrimmage to account for, and life doesn’t often give you 49-0 blowouts.

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Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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