Fighting fire with fire

Fighting fire with fire is an oft-used expression, but, I believe many oft-used phrases are spoken without much thought given to them. Yet, once contemplated they make perfect sense.

Fighting fire with fire was a phrase that some believe originated with the early settlers of this country who used to control larger brush fires with “back fires,” intentionally-set controlled burns to stop the larger fire in its tracks.

It’s a method that is still used today in large brush and forest fires.

Through the years the phrase has developed some added meanings, mostly to battle something using the same force or means.

Last Saturday, I fought fire with fire. More appropriately, I should say I fought fire with a conflagration!

The past few months have been for me, very stressful times for a number of reasons.

For me, ever since I was a pup, sports has been my release, a diversion from the real stressers.

Growing up a Red Sox fan in the 60s and 70s made me strong — downright Herculean. Any true Sox fan in that era will know exactly what I’m talking about.

That was fighting fire with fire.

So it’s only natural that with my recent added life stresses, I turn to the playing field to squelch them for a while.

Last week, it was turning to NBC Sports’ coverage of the Patriots-Ravens playoff game late Saturday afternoon.

Right from the start, my life stresses became a distant memory — thanks to the stress of falling behind to the Ravens 14-0 before I could even finish a handful of Doritos.

Real life was replaced with the strong urge to want to wallop Tom Brady upside the helmet after he threw an interception at the tail end of the first half that lead to a Baltimore touchdown and allowed the Ravens to regain the lead after the Pats had valiantly fought back to tie the tilt at 14-14.

The second half was no less a diversion from real life than the first.

The Patriots again fell behind by 14. Igor knew well enough not to stay in the same room as me at that point. As a matter of fact Emilie left the room as well. Only Denise had the courage to stay.

But the Pats again erased a two-touchdown deficit to tie the game at 28-28 after three quarters.

But the underdog Ravens again took the lead, this time by three. The conflagration was in full burn at that point.

But TB-12 rallied the troops and the Pats took their first and only lead of the game with only a fistful of minutes remaining.

They seemingly had the game in hand, yet why should they make it easy on me (or you)? The Ravens had one last chance with a free-for-all toss (I hate the phrase “Hail Mary” in football — it’s a prayer to our Blessed Mother for crying out loud).

Only when the ball fell harmlessly to the frozen faux grass was I able to exhale (and Igor was able to come back and be with her alpha dog).

As I sat back and looked at Denise, I moaned, “I can’t take this!” But I also blurted, “This is great!”

For three-and-a-half hours, I put aside the worries of the day and got totally wrapped up in the worries on the field. Fighting fire with fire!

I know life has its ups and downs, and the downs can be burdensome.

But I also know that come Sunday night at 6:30, Gillette Stadium will replace those anxieties with new ones. This is great!

I’d like to thank the readers who corrected me about Walter Payton in my last column. It was Gale Sayers who stood by Brian Piccolo in the 60s. I had been a fan of both classy men  and I knew it, but blew it. As I told a few readers, “I fumbled, and you recovered.”

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