Posts Tagged ‘football’

WA Foot

8 January 2011

Dear J-

It’s turning out to be an unusually good weekend for Washington football — first the first college I went to (in my hometown), Eastern Washington University captures the national championship (this is at the old Division I-AA level, where the scholarships and enrollments are a step below the big boys and their “championship” but they actually abide by a playoff, with seeds and a single elimination progression), now the Seahawks have knocked off one of the highly regarded NFC teams, the Saints.  And last week, if I could lump them in too, the U-Dub Huskies beat a team that embarrassed them earlier in the season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (the Holiday Bowl seems to get two teams each year — one happy to be there, and one disappointed they didn’t do better — trick is to figure out who is who and bet accordingly, regardless of ranking and line).

So make of that what you will, whether it’s tremendous coincidence or misfired punditry (both EWU and the Seahawks were fairly lightly regarded going in, and EWU had to climb out of a 19-0 hole), right now it’s good to be rooting that way.  And what makes it more delicious is the amount of vitriol (especially from the San Diego media — for a market whose team missed the playoffs and managed to go 1-3 against the lightly-regarded NFC West there sure is a lot of smugness) that’s been hurled the way of the 7-9 (now 8-9) Seahawks, folks expecting the annihilation have to wait another week at the very least.  Good on you, guys; I’m not holding my breath for the near future, but it’s been a good run this last week.

Mike

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Monday Night

13 September 2010

Dear J-

Pro football is back in our lives tonight and the most interesting thing for me is always seeing what the little tweaks the team chemists have cooked up, and how successful they’ve been. The local Chargers unloaded Antonio Cromartie and LaDanian Tomlinson over the offseason and, to judge by what the Union-Tribune has had to say, good riddance.

It’s interesting, though, as that’s one media outlet that consistently talked up Tomlinson’s contributions both to the team and local charities as though he was some sort of modern saint dropped onto the earth and boy weren’t we lucky to have him, right? And Cromartie’s headline last preseason was about the new work ethic and preparations he was making after a disappointing season; there was a redemption story in the making. Well, all this at least until they were let go by the team and our blessed general manager proved what a mouthpiece the paper was for his propaganda.

I suppose I can’t be overly surprised by what a tool the newspaper has become (hey here’s a great idea: downtown football stadium, maybe on the waterfront we didn’t want the public to have access to anyway) but it all seems so provincial. I suppose we’ve gotten used to life in a kind of island down here in the bottom left corner of America, but we’re starting to get high on our own supply of smug; hopefully we wake up before we take the Chiefs less seriously.

Mike

Time and Effort

18 October 2009

Dear J-

We had take-out pizza tonight; an independent pizzeria moved into the neighborhood (plaques proudly proclaiming their commitment to quality via specially-branded cheeses) and we’ve been supporting them with regular orders. They’ve got an uphill battle — though they’ve got a quality product, the two restaurants that preceded them in that were equally tasty, so we’ve dubbed the spot the corner of doom; they’ve bedecked the interior with two giant plasma televisions running sports nonstop, and that can’t be cheap, either.

So when I went in to pick up the pizza, it wasn’t quite ready and I ended up watching some of the Bears-Falcons game tonight; though the teams and uniforms were familiar, strangers were playing that game. I couldn’t tell you the name of the Bears running back, for instance — this fall has been without football, which I’ve followed not exactly religiously but with some knowledge since high school, and though the game seems the same, it’s with different faces under those helmets.

High school kids, if current television shows are any indication, are also just as strange as any succeeding generation must have been; we used to snicker behind our hands at our folks, baffled by VCR clocks and video games, and yet the brave new world of interconnected always-online terrifies me a bit. Do we fall out of touch with each other, or do we deliberately choose to be obtuse? It takes more effort to bridge these gaps in understanding, and shouldn’t we take the time?

Mike

Dollar Value

22 September 2009

Dear J-

The surest way to dissatisfaction is instant gratification; in the back of my mind, I know that it’s always available, so the significance is that much less.  Such is the case with lenses; as the 4/3rds mount offers an adaptor for virtually any 35mm SLR lens you can think of (short of EF), I didn’t bother thinking whether it would be cheaper in the long run to save up money towards one of the actual made-for-digital lenses that Olympus offers or to get a huge array of crippled lenses that I’ll never use again.  If it helps, there’s a surfeit of glass sitting on the dining table gathering dust, and when I go out shooting, it’s typically with one lens change anyway — generally to another Olympus digtal lens.

So far this year I haven’t been watching football; the first two years with figgy, she’d generally ignore (or nap) with the TV on so I would catch college games on obscure stations — try watching a I-AA (FCS) or mid-major conference some time and you’ll see what I mean — which would make the days go faster, but more often than not, I’d find myself half-asleep in a gluttonous sports coma, various snacks piled high all around me.  It was time-killing at its peak; we spent whole seasons with little interaction besides superficial greetings.

Funny thing about time, though; you always think you have more available than you do.  More time at work to get things done, so you slacken the reins a little; more time to get through at home, so you fill the empty space with unproductive busy activities.  At some point you cross the line from wanting to get something done over to scratching out the passage of time on the deserted isle  in our heads, marking the sweep of time just to mark time.  My mom was always concerned that I didn’t know the value of a dollar — how much work it represented — but I think she was telling me to take opportunities where I could, and not to waste a moment.

Mike

November Sigh

6 November 2008

Dear J-

Funny how they’re already running Thursday NFL games — it always seemed to me that Thursday and Saturday games were fill-ins for the time between the NCAA football regular season and bowl games.  After an orgy of bad food and hygiene around New Year’s Day, you’d all go on with your lives and watch the rest of the football season, then settle in for some of the winter sports (in this way, for Americans at least, those first couple of months of hockey and  basketball seem almost to fade into an extended preseason, never mind that a good third of the games happen while we’re in a stupor watching large men collide awkwardly).

The year keeps accelerating in little spurts; we’re only three weeks away from entering Thanksgiving, which will mark another long bout with compulsive binge eating (the repeated leftover meals of stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie are like the holiday season for retailers — making up for other lean, healthy choices throughout the year) and impulse shopping.  No one really needs most of the Christmas gifts we end up passing around; I still remember 1996, when the only one who made use of my photography-themed gifts was my mom, who retired that beast only reluctantly when the inevitable tide of digital made film scarce.

The nights are long; our holiday cards are here, and we have some stamping and mailing to do this weekend.  Football games pop up at random, unexpected times.  We’re starting to lose our heads at work — another season ruined by extended hours.  Sounds like November to me.

Mike

Band Geek

20 September 2008

Dear J-

This time of year — we’re now three weeks in to having football nearly ’round the clock on weekends — reminds me of how I got started watching football in the first place.  You have to remember that I come from a family of non-sports watchers; my dad would pointedly turn the channel away from virtually every event save the Olympics, and the only exposure I got to sports was when cousins would come for their infrequent visits and insist on watching their favorite teams compete — so I grew up following the St. Louis Cardinals, mostly.  Football was right out — too violent, too arcane.

All that changed in high school; suddenly, with college looming on the horizon, we had to start gearing up for those things that colleges love:  grades, interviews, and extracurricular activities.  Grades wouldn’t be too much of an issue — I had you, J-, as a spur to goad me on, and as it turned out, I started to run out of classes to take senior year.  I definitely had to practice my interview skills, as it cost me at least one scholarship (and later, another one while in college, although I would have had to Michigan and work for Ford at the conclusion of that one — maybe it was dodging a bullet, really).  But extracurriculars?  When I was in elementary school I managed to injure myself in every single PE sport we attempted; I couldn’t punt, I couldn’t throw, I hadn’t been gifted with a single athletic bone in my body, though I secretly harbored dreams of being a place kicker — I wore holes in my right shoe kicking pine cones on the way to school.  Yet ours was a school where the starting kicker had a set of goal posts in his back yard and once kicked a 63-yard field goal just to see if he could.

With the experience of junior high chorus fresh in my mind (“Look, if you’re going to sing loudly AND off-key …”), I thus signed up for band freshman year.  At last, my years of piano lessons would pay off for … uh, marching band?  Of all the instruments to pick up, or rather, not — short of a lawn tractor, there’s no way you’re getting the piano out and mobile during a halftime show.  Thus I ended up in the “pit” whaling away on the glockenspiel, along with the other folks with immobile instruments (generally, percussion folks).  But oh how I envied those out on the field — sure, we all had the same uniforms, but I wasn’t out there making patterns visible only to folks in the stands (it’s harder than it looks — I sometimes wonder how the creators of the Nazca lines achieved their precision).  And, of course, we played every home football game and that year, as our team went deep into the playoffs, reaching the state championship, we traveled to exotic Moscow (Idaho, for the Kibbie Dome) and Seattle (the Kingdome, already exhibiting signs of tattiness).

Long trips, mixed company (really, how often do cheerleaders get to travel with their teams, and aren’t there usually far more team members than cheerleaders, anyway), teenage hormones, and large numbers conspired to make more than a few private situations on the bus rides.  Let this be a lesson:  there are benefits to being mocked for being in the band.  Those American Pie movies aren’t far off the mark, ironically.

Mike