Last week, I introduced you to my guilty pleasure, The Replacements. The Sentinels, the team Gene Hackman’s character Jimmy coaches, came up just short of a win in their first game. His quarterback, Shane Falco (played by Keanu Reeves) called a run instead of trying to pass it. He was scared to have the ball in a critical situation. Leadership is lacking.
At the next team meeting, Jimmy addresses the problem. “A real man admits his fears.” He asks the group to share what they are afraid of. After delving into the fear of different insects, Shane offers up his fear—quicksand. This gets some confused looks and raised eyebrows. Shane explains,
“You’re playing, and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can’t move…you can’t breathe…because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand.”
Shane was talking about a football game, but I experience the quicksand all the time. My wife and I have been out on a date, and I said something she took the wrong way. She responded to the hurt and went into attack mode. I retaliated and suddenly a beautiful date night became a war zone. How did we get here?
It might happen at work. I was a manager as we went through a fairly unpopular change. Things were said, actions misunderstood. The harder I tried to make it work, the worse the situation became. A few months later, I was asked to find another position. What just happened?
As Ron Burgundy would say, “Boy, that escalated quickly!”
No one has avoided the quicksand. Maybe you were lucky enough to see what was happening and escaped before it pulled you under. Or maybe not. Your marriage ended in divorce. Your kids won’t talk to you anymore. Your car broke down; kids got sick, you couldn’t pay for it all, and you ended up in the street. Maybe the quicksand looks like work and success, and you find yourself overwhelmed with things to do and unable to tend to the things that matter. Like Shane, once you experience enough quicksand, what you want and what you truly desire becomes unimportant, and your dreams die. Your heart dies.
And that’s really what the movie is about—how Shane got his heart back. I believe every man can relate to Shane. We have grown to accept what the quicksand has given us. We’ve learned it’s better to do it this way. It’s safer. You can’t suffocate if you’re already dead inside.
And like Shane, we can get our hearts back. We can awaken our dreams and challenge the quicksand we will encounter. We can find meaning and purpose in our lives, and awaken our hearts once again. So that when we stumble into the quicksand, our hearts won’t die in the struggle.
About the Author
Paul McDonald is a writer who shares the story of God’s victory in his life at The Original PMcD. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, who have four children between them. He loves corny comedies and knows way too many movie quotes.