That meditation book looks as if it has been through the spin cycle six times. The corners are bent, the binding broken. Manley pulls it out a dozen times a day, and takes it with him to meetings of his alcoholism-recovery group, meetings he attends seven days a week, snow or sleet, sacks or no sacks. "People in there tell me they love me," he says. "No Washington Redskin is going to say to me, 'I love you, Dexter.' "
Two hours after the Redkins had defeated the New York Jets last month, Manley was at a meeting across town—"dead tired," he says. Still, an hour after that, he was giving his phone number to an alcoholic-drug addict who seemed to need a friend in the worst way. "You call me anytime, got it?" Manley said.
"It's a disease," he says. "I've got a disease. But I'd rather have this disease than any other. At least I can live with this disease."
His mentor in all of this is Pham Chopra, a successful defense contractor based in Falls Church, Va., who emigrated from India. A sober alcoholic for the last 12 years, Chopra couldn't give a farthing about which move Manley puts on Mark Tuinei to get to Danny White. "Only true friend I have in the world," says Manley, who calls him three and four times a day.
"He's my baby," says Chopra.
What Chopra really is, in effect, is Manley's father, gone slightly Eastern. Chopra stresses humility. "Dexter," he tells Manley, "when this chess game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box." Chopra is trying to teach Manley what Carl might have taught the boy years ago. "That you have to reach out to people," says Glinda. "You can't five your life never trusting anyone."
Manley agrees. "I have to depend on other people now to keep me sober," he says. "One more drink and I could die."
Says Chopra, "It will not be easy. Dexter doesn't yet have faith in himself." But here's the funny part. A 30-pound girl is helping him find some.
They say that adults don't produce children as much as children produce adults. Dalis was one day old when the doctors said that her leg might have to come off. Dexter and Glinda agonized over what to do. They finally decided, says Glinda, that "this was a job for the Man upstairs."
Dexter admits he wasn't so sure. "I had my doubts," he says. "I'm glad one of us had great faith. Glinda believed 100 percent."