Archive for football

Downhill From Here

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , on September 8, 2008 by tigereye

First, you admit that you really did notice how short the days have become. You didn’t want to say anything, but you’d glance at the clock sometimes when you switched on the lamp, and watched the numbers roll slowly back until suddenly it seems dark by the time Brian Williams arrives at your house in the evening.

You notice the flowers in the neighborhood are still in bloom, but they’re not thriving anymore.

You watch football replace baseball and tennis and golf on TV and the news. You like football, but you could have waited a little longer for it.

You notice the cat isn’t shedding as spectacularly as he was just a few weeks ago.

You see college students in town again, and start thinking about what it was like to be one. You always loved it. You start digging through the shelves for authors you read when you were in college, like you do this time every year. Anne Tyler. Roddy Doyle. Anne Rivers Siddons. Herman Melville, for God’s sake. You remember curling up in a beanbag chair in the dorm, reading them, Walkman perched atop your head; now you curl in a rocking chair with the same books, pretending you don’t remember how they ended, iPod plugged directly into your brain.

Reading the same books makes you want to listen to the same music. You put the Arc Angels and Tom Petty and Bruce Hornsby aside, and you find John Hiatt and Paul Simon and Prince. You remember you could never study listening to their songs. You didn’t care then and you don’t now.

You remember the year you fell in love with Shakespeare, and crawl on the floor retrieving mass-market copies of Hamlet and Richard III with the same slightly nerdy shame you had at 19. You read them again, looking up once in a while to make sure no one is watching.

You listen to football games and want to be there, shelling peanuts and squinting into the sun and drinking watery Coke from an overpriced souvenir cup. You would sit in the stands for hours, scorching your shoulders and face and hands, before you learned to slather on sunscreen. You would scream yourself hoarse when you sat in the student section, while now you’re with the other thirtyfortysomethings and sometimes you’re the only one really screaming. You still bring home the free souvenir pompoms and foam number-one fingers, tucked into your pocket or under your arm since you no longer have a dorm room to hang them in. They will live with you in your car until the last game has been played.

You wake up to run one morning and feel no early pulse of heat in the air. Then you wake up a few weeks later and feel the first chill, like a foot dipped in a creek. You think of running in college, playing loud music, and you dial up Prince on the iPod, which is easy, because he was already there — you were listening to him when you reread Saint Maybe the other night. It’s comforting to think you will always have Prince. And Anne Tyler. Although they might not be comforted to find themselves together.

The afternoon sunlight becomes yellow instead of white.

You look at the date one morning and remember one of your favorite cities, underwater, and the people left to suffer there. This used to only happen in other countries.

You look at the date one morning and remember a clear bright Tuesday that became one of the worst days anyone can remember. This used to only happen in other countries.

You think about how terrible things seem to happen this time of year, and it makes you go back to the rocking chair with Anne Tyler and Prince.

You start wearing jeans during the day. Then socks. Then gradually the Birkenstocks get kicked farther and farther up under the bed until the day you can’t find them easily and slip on the boots instead.

The first yellow leaf lands on your car like a sign from God, except you already knew what He was telling you, weeks ago when you switched on the lamp a few minutes earlier.


Just Between You and Me, Brett Favre…

Posted in Confessions of a Female Football Fan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2008 by tigereye

What the hell could you possibly be thinking?

Dude, I’m not even going to go into the details about how you’re embarrassing yourself, because that’s been done so many times it’s like the kiddie pool at the Y: I have no desire to swim where everybody else has already peed. And I’m not gonna dwell on how low you have to have sunk to get sent to the Jets. The New York Jets, who suck so bad Miami got their single season win over them last year. They might get another. When you don’t retire, sometimes all it means is you’re about to meet the young, tough likes of Philip Merling and Glenn Dorsey, head-on.

I’m just thinking about how you must feel. Physically.

Dude, you and I are only a year apart in ages, and my legs hurt just now when I got up to go into the kitchen and get a glass of orange juice. All I’d been doing is sitting on them. That’s how it starts, you know — and I know you know — in your 30s, when all of a sudden the joints and bones and muscles that have got you this far wake up one day and look at each other and say, “I’m really tired of carrying her around. Aren’t you? Screw it, let’s take the day off.”

Brett, no one has hit me physically in about 25 years, and there are days I get up in the morning and have to grit my teeth and psych myself up just to run a mile. I don’t do anything like what would be required of me in the NFL. And it hurts when I come home sometimes. I’ll stiffen up sitting in the chair reading a book, or my calves will ache all day, and usually the payoff is worth it — I remind myself it’s the only reason I don’t weigh 300 pounds — but there are days when I, like my thigh muscles and my lower back, think What’s wrong with me that I do this to myself?

All that is before I even start the situps, by the way.

At our age, Brett, about all we can hope for is to get through the day with nothing starting to hurt, because these are the years when you can see up the road into your 60s and 70s and tell what’s going to ache like hell by then. I have years of lower back pain to look forward to — I can only hope the migraines have decamped by then — and like I said, no one the size of a MiniCooper has ever run full tilt into me and stomped my ass into the frozen tundra. There were times I wondered, watching you play, how or why you got back up when a stretcher must have looked like a good place for a nap. Not to mention a warm locker room.

Brett, as you get older, the new guys on defense just get younger. And tougher. And hungrier. They all want to be the next Reggie White, and one or two of them will. Do the Jets play Tampa Bay during the regular season? (I don’t give enough of a damn about the Jets to know.) When Gaines Adams pastes you into the grass, you’re going to flash back to those old story problems from grade school: if a guy who weighs about 220 comes at you at what looks and feels like 30 miles an hour, how long does it take you to start reconsidering retirement?

How long has it been since you just kicked back with a beer and watched a game? It’s not so bad. You can do it from a big ol’ easy chair the size of a linebacker. No one will think less of you for it. If anyone breaks your starting record, you’ll be collecting Social Security before they do it. You’re already a legend, man. Stay that way. Let it go. On behalf of Joe Theisman, I implore you, let it go.

I’m just saying.

I gotta stop writing now. You never know when carpal tunnel’s going to kick in.

At our age.

Tagged Twice!

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2008 by tigereye

…By the terrific Wanda Rizzuto and the awesome Daners Isadora. So, you may ask, what took me so long?… I’m the last idiot on the internet who doesn’t know how to make a hyperlink, that’s what. But I digress. Most of you already know I’m borderline hopeless in cyberspace, and those of you who don’t will certainly figure it out fast enough, since I posted the damn links in old-fashioned idiotese. But that’s awfully negative. Think of me as Old School, ‘Cause That’s Just How I Roll.

The game is this: Go back through my archives (whoa! dude! I actually have archives!) and post links to the following favorite posts:

1. About family: this will explain a lot about me.

The Great Christmas Tree Theft of 1989

 2. About friends. Well, close enough:

Spike: An Introduction

3. About myself. Well, as you might imagine, this was a tough one. Here’s the side of me I chose to highlight:

Five Great Places to Pick a Fight

4. Something I love. I almost chose politics, but y’all will see enough of that in the next few months, so I picked another favorite pastime:

The Last College Football Post My Friends Will Be Asked to Read Until August

5. Anything. This is probably my favorite post that I’ve done here:

Other Door

And I’m tagging the following cool people, ’cause I wouldn’t mind reading some more by and about them:

Anners Scribonia

Ameboid Blurry Smile



Quill Gordon

See y’all here again, I hope… If you don’t mind keeping it Old School…

Five Great Places to Pick a Fight

Posted in Rants & Rages, Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2008 by tigereye

1. The grocery store. Really, if you can’t work up a good mad while trolling through the aisles with a wobbly cart and a headache, you’re just too mellow to be believed. I spent twenty minutes yesterday at my favorite local store, trying to get at the frozen cookie dough while a woman blathering on her cell phone blocked it with the mighty combination of her ass and her cart; listening to a nasal Brooklyn transplant berate a poor cashier for her own mistake in picking out on-sale lowfat cheese; minding my own business reading the ingredients on a microwaveable sandwich so I don’t eat onion powder and go into anaphylactic shock, only to hear some high school dimwit comment to a friend about “people looking at the calories.” By the time I had everything I needed, I needed something more, like two drinks in rapid succession and then a double-barreled shotgun for the high school kids. And a good defense attorney.

2. Football games. I realize many of you will just have to take my word for this, but trust me, there is almost no event so overripe for instantaneous violence as a football game, be it high school or college. (The only pro game I’ve ever seen was a peaceful affair, even while serving $5-a-cup beer.) There will always be a drunken jackass reeling his way through the crowd, pointing a finger far too close to your face and blasting you with Jack Daniels breath while he verbally mangles an insult at your team. Believe me when I say it becomes your civic duty at this point to smack this guy so hard he drops his drink. If he’s in the stands, this is best done when you’re with at least three or four friends as short-tempered as you are. I have lots of these, many of them relatives.

3. Parking lots. Even before the term “road rage” was coined, parking lots have the potential for violence of a building constructed on top of an Indian burial ground in a Stephen King story. There’s just so much that can go wrong! People too lazy to return their carts leave them out to roll into someone else’s car, dolts who overshoot a parking space then actually think the person behind them will back up and let them have it, passersby make disparaging remarks about whatever candidate your bumper stickers are endorsing, zealots leaflet cars about how Jesus doesn’t want you to pay your taxes but He sure encourages you to keep your guns… I’d bet that in the days of horses and buggies, fights broke out at the stands where the horses were tied up. I’m kind of surprised I’ve never seen evidence of this in an old Western.

4. In a bar. Like the parking lot, any bar has a fighting chance, ha ha, of hosting a free-for-all at any given moment. Over pool games, over the jukebox, over the wrong person hitting on somebody… If you take the crowd from the hypothetical football game above and put them in a bar, bottles and noses will be broken. This isn’t a fun place to witness a fight, though, because vomit tends to accompany the festivities.

5. Movie theaters. I’ve been in more arguments here than at football games, although that’s probably just because movie tickets are so much cheaper by comparison. This hot spot will, however, show your age, as you can hardly keep from reflecting that when you were a kid, people got to the movies on time and shut the hell up when they got there. Now it’s just one more day at the circus, except all the participants are clowns and none of them man-eating big cats. In fact, between cell phone conversations and people dragging infants to R-rated horror shows and whole packs of people filing in late with their Jumbo Popcorns and Giant-Ass I Gotta Pee Again Drinks and Only An Asshole Orders Jalapeno Nachos at a Movie Combos. At the circus, there’s always the chance that one of the elephants might stampede into the stands; at a movie these days, that’s what it would take to keep me from getting into an argument with whatever dolt has an entire empty theater to sit in but chooses to sit right in front of me.

6. (Bonus Fight) Online. One day I will learn how to punch someone in the mouth right through the computer screen, and I will then be elected President of the World.

Cry You a River

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2008 by tigereye

I’m not a wimp, I swear.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but everything makes me cry. Around Christmas, I figured this is normal, or as close to normal as I’m going to get. I have some relatives who are gravely ill, and seeing them or not seeing them evokes the same response — tears, natch. Candlelight communion always gets me too. And then there’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and all the other holiday specials that pretty much flatten me around that time of year.

But I’m usually over it by now.

I think I spent half of last week either in tears or choking them back. I can’t bring myself to blame Hillary Clinton for starting it, but when I saw her on TV, genuinely moved, I was too. I love Hillary, and I’m not voting for her in the primary, and I’m unhappy with myself about it, and I found myself with big movie-ish tears welling in my eyes while I watched her. Then the media’s star collection of mouthy dolts spent the rest of the week talking about that moment, and I got so angry I found myself fighting off a whole different brand of tears. What the hell, people? Everyone swallowed that shtick about W hugging the teenager who lost her mother on September 11, but I didn’t hear every jackass with a microphone expostulating about it for an entire week. God save me from the “liberal media,” and other fabrications.

It was books that got me next: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat, an old favorite by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who’s ever loved a pet, but there are a couple of moments in it that’ll make you reach for the Kleenex. I sniffled my way back to some dignity, stopping along the way to give Spike a huge hug he probably could’ve lived without. Then I also reread Elizabeth Berg’s Talk Before Sleep, possibly the best thing I’ve ever read about women and friendship, but it’s also about losing someone you love, and not only that, the first time I read it — not realizing what I was getting into — was less than two months after the unexpected death of someone close, someone I miss just about every day. It’s a beautiful, moving book, but dear God, I don’t know what got into me, reading it right after Foudini. I might as well have spent the evening stabbing myself with scissors.

Politics bit me again. I went to a John Edwards rally. I’d heard bits and pieces of his stump speech, and I knew his background was very much like my own, a family living in a mill village and working in a mill most of their lives. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of mills in the south, they’re the 20th-century descendants of plantations, for all practical purposes. He’s an exceptional speaker anyway, and when he talked about the worth of the mill workers being the same as that of the mill owner — words that, 50 years ago, would’ve got him run out of town — I only held onto myself by biting the hell out of my lower lip and thinking I’m surrounded by news cameras and I’m damned if I’ll be shown crying on the six o’clock news. I wasn’t, but it was uncomfortably close for a moment or two.

I want to emphasize that I knew the movie John and I watched this weekend was going to make me cry. I just didn’t know how much. We had a choice of “We Are Marshall” and “Gods and Monsters” this weekend, neither one of which we’d seen, and we picked the football movie since the season’s coming to an end. Look, I had very low expectations. Matthew McConaughey hasn’t been at the top of his game in a while, and he hammed up his character with an enthusiasm worthy of William Shatner. But the story of the movie got to me. It was a little close to home, about a small town that has everything emotionally invested in its football team (Clemson, anyone?), and there were a couple of scenes toward the end that even choked John up a little. I, of course, cried all over the sofa.

Then I went home the next day with a migraine, which knocks my defenses down a few degrees anyway, and tried to explain the movie to a friend on the phone, and ended up bursting into tears all over again, damn it.

Her: Are you crying?

Me: (sniffle) Uh, no.

Her: You sound like it. Movie really got to you, huh?

Me: I’m not crying!

Her: (silence)

Me: OK, maybe a little, but it was really good.

Her: Have some chocolate. It’ll make you feel better.

Which it did.

So what the heck is up with this? I can’t possibly be menopausal yet. I’m too young and not lucky enough. But I’d like to be able to go out in public without there being the chance that I’ll, I don’t know, hear “Fire and Rain” on the radio and not drive off into a ditch somewhere, sobbing.

And that’s all before the grand finale I’ve got planned for tonight: I’m going to watch “The Green Mile” for about the 10th time.

I have a box of Kleenex and a very furry cat in case I run out. Check the news for flooding in the southeast…

The Last College Football Post My Friends Will Be Asked to Read Until August*

Posted in Confessions of a Female Football Fan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2008 by tigereye

It’s over now, and I’m not entirely displeased with how things turned out. Good for you, LSU! I’m a Clemson fan before anything else, so it’s natural for me to cheer on any team called the Tigers. Then again, Clemson lost narrowly to Auburn in our bowl game, so maybe I’ll rework that philosophy in the off-season.

Getting my team out of the way first, it wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t bad, either. We had a good quarterback for the first time since the early ’80s; because we had a good quarterback, we also learned we had good receivers. Before now, who knew why they couldn’t make more catches? We had one of the best pairs of running backs in the NCAA, one of whom is going pro this year. James Davis, you will be missed. We had a killer defense, all of whom wanted to follow in the big, fast footsteps of Gaines Adams. Sigh. We miss him too. And at least next year, maybe we won’t have to play Virginia Tech, who have clearly just got our number.

As for other teams…

It was nice to see Ohio State lose again, to yet another faster, tougher, better SEC team, although OSU has learned that if you play all the other teams in Ohio you’ll eventually end up at #1, whether you deserve it or not. The same goes for Southern Cal, who were talked up as the best college football team in history by sports loudmouths all over the world, led by Lee Corso as usual — and then lost to 40-point underdog Stanford, at home. This didn’t slow Corso or the others down for long, though, and it didn’t keep Pete Carroll from politicking to get into the championship any more than their second loss did.

Some great teams rose and fell this year. West Virginia could’ve run the table, but suffered their two losses like everyone else and then had their coach yanked out from under them, only to find… their interim coach led them to a bowl victory better than his predecessor probably could’ve. The Fiesta Bowl was one of the best football games I saw this season: everyone picked Oklahoma to win, and then the Mountaineers came out swinging, with an unheard-of defensive formation, a smaller team, and dizzying speed to beat the holy hell out of Bob Stoops’s Sooners. Patrick White, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not as good as Tim Tebow. What a game! I walked around the house for the next two days singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” My boyfriend is less pleased with the Fiesta Bowl because of this. I’m not a very good singer.

Georgia started off wobbly and finished strong, and Hawaii started off undefeated and finished demoralized. But I loathe Georgia, so ’nuff said about that.

Appalachian State, known as dangerous by the entire southeast, beat Michigan by two points, although it wasn’t nearly that close. For those of us disgusted with the hubris of the Big 10, it was a great moment. For poor old nice-guy Lloyd Carr, it was the beginning of the end of a distinguished career.

Indiana honored their late coach’s memory by getting to a bowl game; Illinois shocked the world by getting to a bowl game; Kansas did itself proud by getting to a bowl game. Miami shocked their fans by not qualifying for one.

The BCS system managed to royally screw only one team this year (Missouri), which someone will probably cite as evidence that the crappy system is working. They also managed to put three teams in games that looked beyond their abilities: Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio State. Hats off to Kansas for the upset; sorry, Illinois, but they had to give Pete Carroll’s overrated team someone they could be expected to beat (the real reason Georgia didn’t go to the Rose Bowl); and Ohio State, once again you got what you deserved.

As usual, there were plenty of coaching, uh, highlights. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy lost his mind, or at least his cool, at a press conference early in the season; LSU’s Les Miles just barely held onto his temper at a press conference just before his SEC championship win. Lloyd Carr found out that winning a national championship at Michigan means little if you keep losing to Ohio State. (If Rich Rodriguez thinks he’s going to put together a better team at Michigan than the one he just left at West Virginia, I’ve got some oceanfront property in both those states to sell him.) The same clueless whining ingrates at Florida State who can’t appreciate the experience, canniness, and decency of Bobby Bowden spent another year whining. Similar clueless ingrates at Clemson are whining about his son Tommy, so I suppose it’s a family tradition. Pete Carroll spent another year at Southern Cal with an overrated team, but with the best hair in the NCAA. Any day now I expect him to start doing Pantene commercials. And Charlie Weis will have to lay low for a while (it’s been kind of nice not seeing him) until he can get his Notre Dame team into shape for 2008. I can only hope they’ve got a game scheduled with Appalachian State.

Well, that’s it for 2007. I hope LSU enjoys their long-overdue time at Number One for a few months, before the loudmouths across the land release the preseason polls and park Southern Cal or Ohio State there again. Jeez, like most of the fans across the country who are tired of this favoritism, I can hardly wait.

*Until the 2008 season rolls around, I’ll just have to bore my friends to death with politics instead. Oh well!

What Goes On in My Head: Snapshots

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2007 by tigereye

I’ll be playing spider solitaire with two suits, and I’ll stare and stare at the screen until there are afterimages of the cards burned into my eyes, and there won’t be a single available move. Then I’ll deal the next row, and I’ll see a move I should’ve made, just as it’s made inaccessible by the new row.

This is a pretty apt metaphor for my whole life, actually.

I’ve also had a few cases of I’m-a-bad-friend lately, which always bothers me more than most neuroses because I sometimes pride myself on being a good friend. This is different, though, from the missed-move frustration. This feels like being kept humble. I get kept humble a lot. Maybe more than I ought to. I’m reasonably humble about most things without any karmic help.

I haven’t sent out any Christmas cards yet because I don’t want to go to the post office. And also because I send cards to practically everyone I’ve ever met, the addresses are scattered among three or four address books accumulated over about ten years, and I don’t know where a single one of them is right now.

A friend left town six weeks ago owing me a surprising amount of money. She didn’t leave a forwarding address.

I filled out a job application today and couldn’t think of one marketable skill I have. I also don’t have sufficient computer experience for much of anything. I’m hoping I can wow someone in an interview so this will be overlooked.

I ran for the first time since my birthday yesterday. It’s not quite been two months, but my body seems to have aged an entire year’s worth in that time.

I honestly don’t know sometimes if Spike likes my company.

I’m worried my football team will lose their bowl game and then I’ll spend New Year’s Day feeling terrible for a bunch of college kids I’ve never met.

I have to, have to, have to do laundry today. I am out of socks.

I am aware and ashamed of what silly petty problems these are in comparison to what other people I love are dealing with.

I am evidently going to have teenage acne well into my forties. This is a good example of silly and petty, and also a good example of annoying.

I don’t know why the caulk won’t last on my shower.

Twice now, when randomly scrolling through iTunes, I’ve landed on “Here’s a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares.”