Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rambling Man

Was your work place dominated by folks moving half a step slower than usual yesterday? It was Super Bowl hangover perhaps. Stupidly, in my case my lack of alacrity had less to do with staying up late (for me anyway) to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday night than it did with my decision to break free of my treadmill and run outside on Sunday afternoon. My marathon training plan for Sunday February 6 called for an 8-mile run (between you/me I am much more excited for Monday February 28, which calls for a full frontal lobotomy. That should trick up the enjoyment level of this whole experience quite a lot.)

I have been trapped inside all winter, running on the treadmill because the twin evils of Mother Nature and the Boro's Department of Public Works (no truth to the rumor that the Department's nickname is "the Oxymorons" although that might be half-right) have conspired to fill my days with lousy weather and even worse road conditions. So Sunday, with the mercury tickling forty-five degrees, I became an outside runner again. I took to the streets of my (not quite) hometown to fulfill my training obligation. All was well - relatively speaking - until I hit the seven mile mark. Unfortunately I hit it both literally and figuratively. A piece of ice cleverly hidden by a piece that had gotten my full and undivided attention moved deftly - particularly in comparison to our narrator Fred Astaire - and in the immortal words of Joanie K., I ended up falling, "ass over teakettle."

I did no permanent damage to either of the aforementioned body parts. My right ankle was not quite as fortunate. Having sprained my ankle too many times to count I know precisely how it feels to do that. I am happy to report that I did not do it again on Sunday. I twisted it pretty well. Well enough at least that I had to hobble home on it Sunday afternoon to complete my run and that I spent all day Monday still hobbling around the office.

The prognosis for a complete recovery is excellent. My research of top medical journals (OK, Wikipedia) revealed that no one has died from a twisted ankle in quite some time. All in all, not too terrible a Super Bowl Sunday. I won no money in the Super Bowl Pool we had for our party but given my history of success in such endeavors that came as absolutely no surprise whatsoever.

My Super Bowl Sunday went better than the several hundred folks who got into the stadium only to find out that the seats they thought they had purchased did not exist. If I understood what I read (try sticking the landing on that prodigious leap of faith on a bum right ankle) then these folks had bought tickets for what would have been temporary seats put in place for the Super Bowl only. Apparently there was some issues regarding building codes, fire codes or some such things and they were not permitted to sit there. On Monday the NFL announced that all of the folks affected by the snafu would be reimbursed at three times the cost of their tickets AND guests of the NFL at next year's game in Indianapolis.

Candidly, I could not discern from what I read on-line whether those with no seats ended up being put someplace else in the stadium from which to watch the game or whether they missed it altogether. If it was the latter and a fan who was impacted by the decision was there to root for either the Packers or the Steelers, then the promise of a trip to next year's event to perhaps watch two teams other than the one that is my team may not be the panacea it appears to be. If they were in the stadium and able to watch the game on Sunday, then while respecting how completely pissed off they were - with 100% justification - over what went down in Big D, the consolation prize of a full refund x3 and next year's game on the NFL's dime is arguably more than adequate recompense. Of course, if the owners lock the players out, then there may not be a game in Indianapolis in February 2012. Regardless, I am certain there are many fun things to do there in February.....such as go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and pray to get run over by a car testing tires or engines.

At least in the comfort of my den, I have the ability to mute both Christina Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas. For the life of me, I know not why at major sporting events we insist on trotting out pop stars to butcher the National Anthem. Radical suggestion: allow the USMC Band to play it as an instrumental piece and allow the assembled multitude to sing along off-key. Whenever a pop performer does an adequate job with the Anthem the reaction is a cocktail comprised of equal parts relief and surprise. Let us dispense with it completely.

And while we are dispensing with things completely, let us delete the Xanadu-like halftime shows from future games. The NFL spent a lot of money all season hyping its Play 60! program. Once whichever network that is broadcasting the game gets through its intermission presentation, which is always scintillating television in its own right, introduce America to some of these kids. Or the kids from the Punt, Pass and Kick competition. They could have the finals of the PPK on the field at the Super Bowl. Hell, had Mike Tomlin seen a 12 year-old nail a field goal at halftime Sunday, he could have suited him or her up to kick for the Steelers in the second half. As it turned out, their kicker's second-half field goal attempt threatened A-Rod's bucket of popcorn far more than it did the goalposts. Nice job, Shankapotomus. At this point I am compelled to point out that fellow Buff Mason Crosby scored seven points (4 for 4 on extra points and 1 for 1 on field goals).

Besides rewarding America's youth for a job well-done, substituting the PPK for the halftime show would ensure that the Black Eyed Peas never come up again in the performance rotation. I learned Sunday that whoever produces and mixes their albums is worth his/her weight in Grammy gold. The young woman (Fergie?) who is one of their singers would have had to improve considerably to be atrocious. She sounded as if she was under attack by the blinking lights that adorned her costume. Always nice to see Slash emerge from hiding to play a snippet from "Sweet Child O' Mine". Even nicer not to see Axl Rose emerge from under the wreckage of his career to join his old band mate on stage.

The person who had quite possibly the worst Super Bowl Sunday though was Robert Cook. Mr. Cook is a 79 year-old Packer fan. He is one of the quartet of gentlemen who Visa immortalized in their commercials for the "Never Missed A Super Bowl Club". Apparently as he and his wife were preparing to travel from their home in Wisconsin to watch their beloved Pack play in the Super Bowl for the first time in more than a decade, Mr. Cook took very ill. Ill to the point that not only did not he not make the trip to Texas but to the point where he had to make a trip to a hospital instead. His two daughters (or two of his daughters as I know not whether he has more than just the two who attended the game) went to the game in his absence. What a tough break. I did not see any stories about him after Sunday's showdown regarding how he was doing and feeling but I hope that he is well enough to embark on a new streak next year. He just might have the chance to see his Pack win again.

On second thought, he probably had a better Super Bowl Sunday than President Obama. After all, he may have had to spend his day in a hospital bed but at least he was not face-to-face with Bill O'Reilly....

....Mr. Cook's doctors probably figured he was enduring enough discomfort.


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