This afternoon, the Michigan Wolverines, ranked 6th in the nation, came to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans, ranked 8th. Both teams entered the game with identical, perfect 7-0 records for the season. Both teams entered the stadium undefeated, only one will leave like that. The game was broadcasted on Fox, which we could have watched over the air, but whether it was terrestrial weather or that G3 geomagnetic storm that is supposed to generate the aurora borealis tonight, maybe even far enough south for us to see here in Saint Louis, but the Fox broadcast was coming in all pixilated. Not to worry though, because we now have Direct-TV, which came in crystal clear over our Wi-Fi. The first quarter was all Michigan, aided by two State turnovers, for a 10-0 score. In the second quarter, the Spartans came back to take the lead, briefly, before falling back behind 23-14 at the half, but it could have been much, much worse. The second half was a see-saw battle, with the lead changing hands back-and-forth. In the end though the Spartans were victorious, 37-33. Go Green! Go White!
Well, it’s game day. The one day out of the year that I regularly watch football. This year’s game seems like a rerun of past games though, but then 2020 felt like one long endlessly repeating groundhog’s day anyway. We have the KC Chiefs trying to two-peat and like a perennial, Tom Brady this time sans the Patriots. One new thing that today’s game will have is Sarah Thomas, the first female to referee in the Super bowl. I’m sure that she’ll do just fine, because women are generally excellent at point out things that men are doing wrong.
For me the football game is kind of an afterthought. The main agenda item are the commercials. In recent years, sponsors have taken to releasing their new ads before the game and I’ve viewed a slew of them online. My quick take is that they are mostly about beer and chips, with only a few oddball one thrown in. I mean, are they really offering a free trip to outer space? Is that what I heard? Are they giving away a ticket to some lucky nobody, who will get to look down upon the rest of us and rub elbows with billionaires who are paying his freight?
I watched about a dozen of these ads before even they began to get boring. We won’t be having any company over for the game and we’re certainly not going to a bar. So, that just leaves eating. We are dieting, so some responsibility needs to be shown, but we’ll likely skip dinner for snacks instead. Plus, we both have a pile of weekly points left over and I plan on using some of them. As I said, we need to show some responsibility, because tomorrow is our first weigh-in day.
Fifty years ago, I was introduced to Big Ten football in Ann Arbor. I was a kid then. My dad was a fellow at the U of M. I went to high school catty-corner to the Big House. Woody and Bo were headliners then. I met my one true love. She won an all-expense paid trip to East Lansing and I followed her there. College, courtship and marriage ensued. Like I said, it’s been fifty years.
Crisp autumn afternoons bring this all back. These days, football is not a big part of my life, but when I heard that our alma mater was playing the cross-state rivals, I scanned the dial, searching for the big game. I was rewarded, doubly so. Not only did I find the game, but Michigan State was ahead. Heavily favored Michigan (+21.5) was not playing well. State went on to win the game, upsetting Michigan by 27-24. This shouldn’t have come as that big a surprise, because their head coach Harbaugh has a habit of choking for the big home game. Every year Ann Arbor hosts a rival, either Michigan State or Ohio State. Against these two foes, Harbaugh has a dismal 1-5 combined home record. In college football winning the big game often counts more than a winning season. Sorry, Jane.
We had planned on skipping Halloween this year, but our next-door neighbors invited us over. They had setup a firepit in their driveway. We brought key lime bars to share, while they tossed candy bags to the trick or treaters. There was a pretty good turnout, with usually both the kids and their parents in costume. It made for a nice evening, with a fire to ward off the chill, under a full moon.
The Corwin show got taken on the road today. We went to the Nashville Zoo. I was way more impressed with it than I had expected to be. There were many different species then can be seen at the Saint Louis Zoo, yielding lots of new photo-ops. We scored Mexican for lunch and Indian for dinner and in-between watch some football on TV. The Tennessee Titans faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs for a berth in next month’s Super Bowl. Even though it was an away game, Titan hometown, Nashville, was going crazy over it. The last time that the Titans were in the Super Bowl was 1999, where the then Saint Louis Rams ended up winning. Nashville party like it’s 1999 again, because the Chiefs won.
We as a nation face a national crisis, not at the southern border, but in Atlanta. Riled by politics of division, we are a nation divide, which has taught itself to hate one another. Normally, an event like the Super bowl offers a respite from this partisan turmoil and a brief opportunity to come together again, but not this year. The two contending teams come to this championship with enough tainted baggage to declare any winner forfeit. The only question left, is who should we hate the most? In one corner we have the Rams. In the other the Patriots. Polls show national disapproval of the Pats, but we here in the Lou and now also in New Orleans hold a special enmity towards the Rams. I declare a pox on both houses, but first let me air my complaints. This is the Festivus bowl after all.
The Patriots are most notorious for two scandals, Spy-gate, where they filmed opposing team’s signals and Deflate-gate, where footballs were under inflated to make them easier to catch. But their biggest crime by far are their five Super bowl rings, making them quite a handful. The Rams are most recently notorious for the blown call at the end of their penultimate game this year against the Saints. It is easily argued that had that pass interference call been made, as it should have, we would be watching the Saints meet the Patriots this year. In my mind though, their real crime is deserting Saint Louis and returning to LA. After all, we had stolen them from LA, fair and square.
Festivus began as a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally created by Daniel O’Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a Seinfeld episode. It practices the airing of grievances. I’ve aired my grievances here, at least most of them. There is also the inhumanity of the sport of football. The stonewalling of the NFL regarding concussions cannot forestall the inevitable. Even NFL is finding insurance harder to come by and other lesser leagues are in even more dire straights. The Pop Warner little league will likely fold soon for lack on insurance after ninety years of play. Finally, there is the collusion of NFL owners and their unfair treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
So, who will I be rooting for? I could say that I’m only going to tune in to see the commercials, but now-a-days you can already see them online. The bi-polar vortex has fled town, leaving us gorgeous weekend weather. It’s Groundhog day and we were fogged in, so no shadows, which supposedly means that we’ll have an early spring. I hope. To the bike cave! Time to get some miles in. Maybe I’ll be able to wear myself out so that Sunday night I can fall asleep on the couch.
Anne and I took Dan to the airport this morning at oh-dark-thirty. On Monday, we’ll do the same for Dave, except on that time, it will be more like uh-oh-dark-thirty. Such are the requirements of holiday air travel. It is difficult getting up so early anymore. One of the side effects of retirement, I guess. When we got back home, I coaxed Anne into going back to bed. We were both rewarded with residual warmth. Anne was able to fall asleep again, but I was unable to do the same. I’ll be in a daze for the rest of the day, but I should get a good night’s sleep tonight. So, I’m up for becoming a couch potato and watching the Michigan-Ohio State football game. The first half was OK, but the second was a disaster. Purdue’s sole defeat of Ohio State is looking kind of special now.