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You helped change me


I could say something trite and trendy, such as, "I'm back," which would fit perfectly with the chest-beating attitude of contemporary sports, but I'd be lying. The guy who left you is not back. The guy writing these words is a new man.

Oh, sure, in time I have no doubt the old, take-life-for-granted Vic will return; I pray he returns. But it's going to be awhile before that happens. This Vic is still suffering from a heavy dose of his own mortality.

I returned to work this morning. It's a macho thing. I needed to impress myself.

Two weeks ago on this day I left you; went to the hospital thinking I might have to have my appendix taken out. I was right. They took it out, along with a foot-and-a-half of the colon that was attached to it.

I expected it would hurt. It did. What I didn't expect was the degree to which my pain was relieved and my spirits were lifted by an outpouring of support from friends who traced my history in this business from 1972 to the present.

The phone rang non-stop, and I loved it. It almost made having my gut slit worthwhile. Players, coaches, front-office execs, reporters and fans; my, God, we belong to a great fraternity.

My wife printed out the well-wishes that appeared on the message board. I read every one of them. Thank you, for changing me, even if it's temporary.

Because of your expression, I'm a more sensitive person today. I'm a more thankful person. The candy wrapper on the garage floor this morning didn't anger me. Neither did the guy riding my bumper on Butler Blvd.

So, you see, I'm not back. You'll know when I'm back because you'll see it in my writing. All of a sudden, you'll sense that the "edge" has returned. But, for now, no "edge," just, "Thank you."

With that, I'll return to my task of reporting on the Jaguars, which will begin this afternoon with my first "Daily Report" in more than two weeks. And, if you don't mind, we'll start from scratch with all-new "Ask Vic" questions.

Let's find out what the "new Vic" has to say.

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