I can’t tell you how many times I was asked that question in September and October.
Often it was followed by another question:
"Do you follow football?"
Well, no. Never have.
I don’t think it’s the sport itself, however. Perhaps it’s all the bad memories I have of being in marching band: the endless practicing of the stupid half-time shows, riding the uncomfortable school buses to rural Oklahoma towns to tag along behind the football team. The team always got the glory; we got to freeze our butts and our reeds in the rock-hard bleachers, playing stupid songs nobody really wanted to hear anyway and, then at half-time, we got to go out and embarass ourselves on the field with our retarded little five-minute dog-and-pony show.
Get the idea that I hated band? But I became a musician? How did THAT happen?
I had to stay in my school music program to be eligible to participate in All-State Orchestra and Solo and Ensemble Contests every year. Thus, I suffered uniform inspections, pep rallies, parades, half-time shows, and summer band…and became a professional musician in spite of it all!
Incidentally,my high school sweetheart WAS on the football team–the Tahlequah Tigers, so the high school football team itself certainly cannot be to blame. Surely, young love would’ve countered my negative secondary school music experience.
Maybe my lack of interest in following football could actually be chalked up to the fact that I expend so much energy, time and–yes, quite frankly–money during the baseball season that I don’t care to follow some other sport.
Or so I thought.
With both a treadmill and an elliptical trainer right in our home, I have the luxury of being able to exercise whenever I want and to tune put on whatever TV channel I want. With upbeat pop and dance tunes on my iPOD and the TV muted with the closed-captioning on, I usually have on ESPN or sports of some sort. Unfortunatley, once the baseball season ends, those channels tend to be filled with more and more football (except for upt-to-the-minute news of A-Rod and George Steinbrenner, of course) and less baseball. Not finding an acceptable substitute for my sports channel addiction, however, I just continued to watch.
What I found was that I started getting interested in various teams and rankings and rivalries. Stories I had watched with some detachment while exercising I later read about in more detail in the New York Times Sports section the next morning.
No, I’m not ready to bundle up and go to the Meadowlands for a Giants game, but I did turn on some of the Cowboys-Giants game a couple of weeks ago. That’s really a first for me!
But this is REALLY a first for me: being interested in the outcome of a COLLEGE football game!
No, I’m not watching this particular game this evening. I must play a performance. I’ll just be checking the score at my intermission–probably half time of the game.
My parents’ alma mater, University of Kansas–known more for its basketball program than for its football program, has been surprising everyone with how well the Jayhawks are doing this season. Tonight on national television (8PM Eastern on ABC), they face their long-time rival, University of Missouri, in an important match-up.
Not having followed football, I did not know how bitter this rivalry was. My mother said, "Oh, YES!!" and probably would’ve elaborated further had time allowed.
I don’t know about more recent football history, but being a Civil War History buff myself, I have truly enjoyed the recent articles devoted to the long, LONG-time rivalry between the two STATES themselves. Technically, though, the discord began BEFORE Kansas was even a state. Whether or not slavery was to be permitted in the soon-to-be state, not a football championship, was at stake.
Articles like "A Rivalry Born in Bloodshed" (New York Times) and "The Border War" (SI.com) have mentioned the incidents of residents of Missouri (where slavery was legal) voting in Kansas elections to try to assist in passing legislation to legalize slavery in the new state, William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas– home to the University of Kansas–and, of course, John Brown, the abolitionist who with his vigilante sons led many of the guerilla-like attacks–in defense of Lawrence and upon pro-slavery groups in Kansas territory and in Missouri.
As you can probably tell, I’ve had a blast experiencing a refresher course of sorts on my pre- and Civil War History…inspired by a sport–at the collegiate level–that I didn’t even know I was interested in!
This 2007 Turkeys of the Year Photo Gallery is DEFINITELY worth checking out:
And speaking of A-Rod, in honor of the holiday here is a list of things this Met fan is particularly thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day:
- That A-Rod is still a Yankee.
- That David Wright is still at Third Base.
- That at least the Torre and the A-Rod sagas diverted attention from the Mets’ end-of-season collapse.
- That Alou, Easley, Castro, and Castillo are all returning.
- That Tom Glavine is NOT returning.
- That we were able to get rid of Guillermo Mota.
- That we were able to GET SOMETHING for Guillermo Mota.
- That enough time has passed that the sting of September is almost gone. Almost.
- That, in fact, "There’s always next season."
- That CitiField is one year closer to being completed.
- That I’m not a Yankee fan.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to ALL…yes, even to Yankee fans!!
I for one, would love to see the Mets walk on by the A-Rod booth at the GM convention.
I have actually felt that way all along, but getting word late Tuesday afternoon of David Wright’s having won his first ever Gold Glove Award just solidified the argument in my own mind for keeping David Wright RIGHT WHERE HE IS, thank you very much.
My husband was oh-so-quick to counter that, since A-Rod had been a shortstop and had then learned the position of third base, why couldn’t Wright stay at third and A-Rod could then take on second base?
Um. Well, something tells me there would be a pride issue involved there. Rodriquez would probably want one of the Mets players to relinquish a position for HIM.
It seems to me that–as usual–the Yankees have continued to hold court even after their season was long over: through the whole Joe Torre/Steinbrenner scena, the A-Rod opt-out announcement on Fox during World Series Game 4, and now the whole "Where will A-Rod go?" soap opera.
The Mets, having commanded very little media attention of late may be beginning to feel that a dramatic move or important signing to garner attention and get fans and the media talking is needed and that perhaps this is just the thing to get everyone hyped about 2008.
I, for one, think the Mets have problem areas, e.g., pitching and finding a catcher, to address. The acquisition of A-Rod–especially with no obvious place to put him defensively–would appear to me to be a distraction from those priorities and an "impulse buy" for which there could be serious buyer’s remorse later.
I’m not unsympathetic to the fact that it must be easy to get caught up in the excitement of this whole circus. (That’s EXACTLY what Boras wants, of course. Duh!) And, I suppose, given the fact that the Mets are one of very few teams that could seriously consider flinging that sort of cash around, there’s no actual harm in flirting with the idea of signing Rodriguez…as long as it doesn’t end up alienating Wright or the fans in the process.
But just because the Mets COULD acquire A-Rod
doesn’t mean they SHOULD.
It’s sorta like the pair of shoes I’d LIKE to get
versus the ones that I probably SHOULD purchase.
The Donald J. Pliner red velvet/antique metallic cowboy boots with fleur-de-lis zipper pulls are to DIE FOR! No doubt about it. They are absolutely eye-catching.
Naturally, I have absolutely nothing in my closet that would go with them, so purchasing them would in turn necessitate purchasing a red satin Western shirt (involving additional time and expense.) And maybe a bolo tie and a Western belt and…
For the few times I would wear this outfit, I would have everyone’s attention, but I’m not sure how long these fetching boots would stay in style, and the money I would spend on these boots–$247…no, not $350 million!…is no small sum and would naturally prevent me from making other clothing purchases for quite some time. I would probably end up wearing these boots far fewer times than I had anticipated I would and they would sit in the back of my closet unworn for lack of occasions to wear them. No doubt I would have buyer’s remorse sooner or later, thinking of how much I had spent on them and what an impulsive purchase they had been.
There is also the small matter that I would never have the opportunity to wear these boots for work because I need to wear black footwear in the orchestra pit. These obviously do not meet that requirement, so although that is a somewhat minor consideration, there is that additional impracticality…besides their not matching anything in my closet and requiring me to spend more money and probably not staying in style for long.
The others–sleek, soft nappa Stuart Weitzman booties–while maybe not attracting immediate attention because of any unique or stand-out qualities would be entirely fashionable and are not so "trendy" that they would be likely to go out of style any time soon, would match anything in my wardrobe–including my orchestral attire, would perhaps not generate stares or cause jaws to drop, but those in the know would immediately recognize them to be a well-made, thought-out, flattering wardrobe purchase that I could make use of for seasons to come.
Please shop smart, Omar.
The Mets may have lots to spend,
but they don’t have money–or a season–to burn.