LIFE IS MAGIC
IN HIGH SCHOOL, JON DORENBOS DECIDED TO FORGIVE HIS FATHER FOR MURDERING HIS MOTHER
BY JON DORENBOS
I was in a lot of pain but didn’t miss a down.
I’d tape up that ankle or get that injection
and burst out that locker room door onto
the field. Off the field, I was still the life of
the party, still the guy keeping the locker
room in stitches and together, which is no
small feat when your team is getting its
butt handed to it just about every Saturday.
But ... something was wrong. It wasn’t a
thought so much as a feeling. Maybe it was
related to the fact that we weren’t winning
or that I was pretty banged up every day.
But I think it was more spiritual than that.
There wasn’t any one thing wrong that
I could put my finger on; it felt like I was
struggling to get in touch with myself, like
there was an emptiness inside. Making a
big tackle or entertaining a group of friends
with my magic would quiet it, but the
feeling kept returning. Therapy taught me
to interrogate myself: What’s this about?
I didn’t know the answer, but one day, back
home for a visit, I was drawn to the sands of
Huntington Beach, California. I found myself
sitting cross-legged in the exact spot I’d often
return to in the years after Mom’s death. It
was this very spot where, when I was 15, I’d
gone into the ocean and realized that the St.
Christopher’s medal Mom had left for me had
snapped off the chain around my neck. My
piece of her gone, I’d taken to telling myself
a comforting story about this particular loss:
“What a life that St. Chris medal is having,”
I’d tell myself — aloud — in this very spot,
32 2019 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES GAMEDAY MAGAZINE
PHOTO ©KAREN BELLY
Excerpted from “Life is Magic” by Jon Dorenbos. Copyright © 2019 by Jon Dorenbos. Excerpted with permission by Avid Reader Press,
an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.