Once inside, I put the key in the ignition and turned. The tiny bit of charge in the battery flickered, and died. It was a seven year old battery, and an attempt to jump the car was unsuccessful. The battery was just old. It needed to be replaced.
We unpacked everyone from the dead car, hurriedly packed them into my commuting car, and got to the birthday party late. What I didn't realize was that I would have a tale today that would tail in perfectly with what the Lehigh football team did this Saturday. (more)
The kids enjoyed the birthday party, and we dropped them off at their respective houses. We then had dinner, and I picked up a new battery and a few other things for the car at a local auto parts store.
I could have gone the easy way and just towed the car from our house to a garage and have them work in it, but that would have been too easy. I've never changed my own battery before, but dammit, I have talent. I can do this thing myself, and save a couple hundred bucks.
We got home, and the sun had gone down. The Phillies were about to come on, but I popped the hood and got to business. Little did I know that a comedy of errors would ensue.
The connectors to the battery were easy to get off, as was the clip that held the battery in place. I almost threw my back out getting it out, but I managed, and dragged the old and new battery in the garage so I could work on them.
There was some positive momentum that was built. I lowered the battery into the car, and put on the connectors again. Red for positive, and the other was negative. I tried to turn over the engine. It worked.
At that point, I was relieved. While I thought it was the engine, I wasn't 100% sure that it was until the engine turned over. It could have been the starter, or some other bit of electrics. My theory ended up being correct. All I needed to do was execute.
But that lack of execution was when my troubles began.
I could not get the battery attached to the engine once again. Sure, I came close, and tried to take the car for a spin to see if it was in there good enough. It wasn't. The battery was shifting around, and it was a miracle that one of the connectors didn't come off while I performed a particularly sharp turn. I opened the hood again, and I saw it had come very close to coming off.
I took off the battery clip that was not attached properly - and promptly lost the top bolt under the hood, plinking down into the guts of the engine. I had to undo all the work I had done - undo all the connectors, take out what was remaining of the battery clip - and haul it out once again.
I completely failed to execute, and it felt like things were even worse off than they were when I started. Though I felt like punting the battery and just bringing everything to the dealer, in reality I actually wasn't that far from victory: I had just made some mistakes that needed to be corrected.
That didn't stop me from retreating to the garage, cursing undoubtedly like coach Coen did at halftime, chastising myself for my idiocy and looking for a replacement bolt for the battery clip. After flailing about for a half hour, I couldn't find one, and things seemed hopeless.
But I realized that even though things seemed out of hand, they really weren't. I'd just need to summon the "will" to carry through. I had done a lot of things right, I just hadn't followed through all the way. I knew what I needed to do. Things were not impossible to fix. I was really close. I'd simply have to get my flashlight and look down in the engine and see if I can find the original bolt.
And I looked around, and after a few minutes I found it. (Big defensive stop.)
It was stuck in a tricky area. I got a old antenna that I had in my tool box, and extended it and gently pushed it to the right. I did it! (Touchdown.) The bolt fell further down, maybe in a place where I could reach it.
I got under the car and looked where the plastic front bumper was. There was the bolt I needed. (Touchdown.)
I re-examined the place where the battery belonged. I found the two holes where the battery clips were supposed to be. I worked the long battery clip posts into the holes, gently pushed them aside, and gingerly lowered the battery into the car. (Big defensive stop.)
Gently I worked the posts back to where they were supposed to be, and put the top of the battery clip in place. (Touchdown.) I grabbed my two bolts, and tightened them onto the top of the battery. (Interception in the end zone.) I re-attached the connectors real tight, turned over the engine once again to make sure it was really complete. It was. Game over.
For me, anyway, it seemed like this entire weekend was all about "will". It did have something to do with faith in one's ability, but more than that it had do do with "will", and that's something that coach Coen said too in his postgame comments. “It means a lot to me that we were able to beat Harvard because I have a lot of respect for their football program," he said. "It was the kids that did it. Right to the end they kept competing and had a great 'will' to come out with a win. We were fortunate enough to get that done.”
And that's what it ultimately came down to on Saturday. The football team faced some daunting challenges - some of their own making, and others due to circumstances beyond their control in terms of a swirling wind that made playing the game difficult.
Coacn Coen challenged this team to "step up their play to see what their competitive spirit was all about." I also questioned if they would "have the 'will' to overcome the poor first half."
And after Coen's halftime speech, this team pulled together and had the "will" to win this game. They overcame their mistakes. They got back down to it, and did what they needed to do to "will" this game into the win column. Players stepped up and made plays. Others shook off a rough first half and really stepped up in the second to show the nation what they are capable of doing. Even in the little things - like the punting game - it seemed like Lehigh almost out-smarted a team that is considered to have the best and brightest amongst their ranks.
Coming down from three scores down is not easy. Coming down from three scores in those extraordinarily windy conditions is really hard. But coming down from three scores in those conditions against a team as well-coached and as talented as Harvard is something to really be proud of.
It came down to "will". And I hope that Lehigh's "will" "will" supercharge this Lehigh team through league play, which starts this weekend at homecoming.