Saturday, January 15, 2011

Waiting for Goliath

It is a cold, blustery, dreary Saturday. Very cloudy, but no precipitation is supposed to be headed our way unfortunately. I'm a snow freak. I love the white stuff. None today though.

I noticed my Ravens flag is all ripped up. I put it up THIS YEAR. The quality level of the 'official' NFL licensed flags is SHIT.

That's my 'official' review. Nuff said. I don't think I am getting anymore or allowing anymore to be given to me as gifts. Time to get one hand-made.

I've been trying to keep myself occupied and not think too much about today's pending Divisional Playoff Game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I attacked a few drawers...yes, indeed, I am in fact taking it 'One Drawer at a Time', and it feels pretty good.

Went to the store and just bought a new roll of Velcro Tape. Fuck it. Why tear the house apart for something if I have no idea where it is? Problem solved.

And yet today still has an odd feeling to it. I'm sure Steelers fans feel very differently. They must be salivating, I'll bet they feel like the Ravens are being led to Heinz Field for the slaughter. Maybe they have every right to feel that way.

With Joe Flacco as Quarterback, the Ravens versus the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger at the Quarterback position are 0-5. That is a startling statistic. The two times the Ravens have beat the Steelers with Flacco as Quarterback were the two times Roethlisberger was not playing Quarterback.

Steelers fans also love quoting that particular stat. I would too if I were a Steelers fan. I get it. You should be proud of your team and support them. Trash talk and make fun of your opponent and all that stuff. It's supposed to be fun and I totally understand.

Besides, the loser is ALWAYS an easy target.

It doesn't MATTER that the games are always close. It doesn't MATTER that the Ravens never, EVER lay down. It doesn't MATTER that every game comes down to one or two key plays that swing the game one way or the other, usually in the favor of the Steelers. And I say that not to take ANYTHING away from the Steelers. Anything at all.

I am here, a Ravens fan, and I'll write it with no shame whatsoever.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a FANTASTIC football team and a very respectable NFL franchise, one of the best in the league. They have the most Super Bowl rings and they should be respected by every NFL fan if you call yourself an NFL fan.


Why do you think the Ravens, Bengals and Browns ALL have to design their teams to beat the Steelers, the team that is THE team to contend with in the AFC North? I don't think that is a secret to anyone.

Years ago, I worked for a company called IKEA. For four years.

I started doing some Kitchen design work there and then I moved into Graphic Design. One of the things they do is send out groups of people from existing stores to new stores that are being erected to work together to get the store put together before it opens for business.

This process takes weeks, and when you are a young, single guy, it can be a lot of fun to travel somewhere for a month or two somewhere, get paid to do it, meet new people, stay in a hotel and all the while see new places and things.

One such trips was to an IKEA near Los Angeles, in a suburb called City of Industry. I spent around six weeks there. This happened to be during the time of the Rodney King riots and a rather large Earthquake, which TOTALLY tainted my opinion of Los Angeles, but that's another story entirely.

You get assigned a roommate in a hotel suite.

My roommate was a French dude named Guy. It was pronounced 'Gi', though. And yes, the stereotype was at least true in Guy's case...whew...the dude really did stink. He showered MAYBE once every four days or so. I never understood it.

But he was a helluva nice guy, and eventually I got used to it.

Guy had a singular passion for tennis. I also played, and I brought my racket. We played every single day I was there. I was actually pretty good.

Guy was better. And he liked that. But I played him hard every single day. And I liked that. His skill level forced me to bring my 'A' game every time, to stay completely focused. To play at my absolute best. He forced me to be a better player.

Every day I kept at it. Kept trying. He never blew me out. Yes, he was always winning, but he wasn't winning by enormous point differentials. He had to earn each and every win. These victories were NOT free. NOT easy. Some of them went into multiple Advantage changes again...and again...and again, until finally he found a way to deliver a killing stroke.

At the end of the fifth week, my time finally came.

I beat him.

I can't even begin to tell you how completely and utterly sweet a victory like this tastes. It is unlike ANYTHING else in the world.

When you lose, and lose, and lose...but never give up, and then find a way to finally overcome your Goliath and take him down it is...something that you will never forget. It is a euphoria that, unless you have experienced something like it, I can never put it into words that can do it the justice it deserves in order for you to truly appreciate what I would be trying to convey.

And the truth is that the Goliath doesn't really savor their 'wins' in the same way. They become expected. They become commonplace. They become so interwoven into the fabric of their life that when they finally LOSE, it is often shocking, sometimes devastating.

I do not know if this is a cultural thing, or if it is simply something that was only true of this one man, but Guy only played me one more time, the following day, and while I came close, I did not win. Not that I was expecting to, but I gave it my all, just as I had every other time.

He then refused to play me again. He always had a reason why he could not play. Some excuse.

Funny that.

I think the last game was so that he could re-establish a personal dominance feeling with a 'win', and THEN terminate the relationship. A sort of 'You can't fire me, because I QUIT.' type of a thing.


I never understood that.

But it didn't matter to me. I got my one victory. It was all I wanted. It was all I needed.

I toppled my Goliath.

So keep that in mind, Steelers fan. Yeah, you might kick our asses today. You may still next year, or the year after that. But fortunes change. They always do.

For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.



  1. You worked for IKEA?!!!! OMG. **sigh**. Now I am going to stalk you.

  2. That's a great story and I think the Ravens made the Steelers work today!

  3. I said I's good, that win you had and yes, there will always be the Guy's of this world who cannot deal with not winning all the time...but in the end, you were indeed the real winner. People like him will never get that. This applies to life in general and in the life you face with your kid.

  4. Ken, I'll be glad to share with you who I am. Elaine and Brandon know me. But I'm not a public, social individual. So nothing openly out there. Danielle might speak for me too if you want a reference. I just live quietly for now. No posts open to the public in general. Just...


  5. You worked for IKEA?!



  6. Claire:
    Stalk away.

    Nah...this one was more psychological. I know, I've been there all too often. You believe you are a loser, you become a loser. I could see it in Flacco's face. He has a monkey on his back now for sure. This is going to be a difficult one to shake off.

    Claire 2:
    I like the metaphor of comparing it to life with disability. It works. Sadly, I hate to think of all of the Goliath's both my son's are going to face.

    Gotcha...that helps. Thought you were someone from my past.

    Maybe I should do a Ken Lilly Timeline. Yes I did work for IKEA. When I graduated from college I couldn't get a 'real' job so I wound up there. Go figure. So I went back and got my Masters. Hey SUPER. NOW I'm unemployed.

  7. You told me you hated Los Angeles when you visited once.No wonder,Rodney King days were not some of our finest nor proudest, moments and ... City of Industry???Yuck.Come again and Elizabeth and I will show you the way to do LA right.

    Loss to the Steelers.So sorry.

    "all glory is fleeting".My favorite part of this post.Great reminder,applicable to many aspects of our lives.

  8. Did you eat those little bitty meatballs in the sauce every day for lunch?

    On a more SERIOUS note, I'll have you know that I actually took a small interest in the Falcons/Packers game tonight. My father was at the game, cheering for his beloved Falcons, so I felt sad. This is big for me, to even care, much less feel sad.

  9. I think you definitely need to give LA another chance.


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