Monday, October 18, 2010

College Football Saturdays

One of the true consolations to losing summer is college football Saturdays. If you haven't the faintest interest in football, please stay with me here. Though attending baseball games was the sport of choice for the Frasers in the 70s & 80s, football has become the new favorite. As kids we took road trips with the sole purpose of going to state capitals and baseball games. We would also drive through the occasional college campus. Thanks to my folks' teaching profession and love of travel, I've been to 49 states and over 20 baseball stadiums.

But these days, my interest in football has far surpassed any other televised sport. If you so choose, you can wake up Saturday mornings and begin watching games at 9am and still be at the edge of your seat 14 hours later. Then you can watch highlight shows 'til dawn on Sunday.

For me, I love the sport and the geography:

The Sport - Believe it or not the sport surpasses just brutality. There's incredible athleticism and intelligence required. No other sport requires as much homework from its players - though they often elude their biology or French classes. The games rarely exceed 3 hours and if I record the games, I can watch one in 75 minutes.

The Geography - It's rather simple to transport yourself across country in a matter of seconds. On my 55 degree October Saturday I can mock those poor suckers in Minnesota wearing parkas and snow boots...and I can shoot darts at those lucky jerks in Arizona wearing tank tops. I can recall one of numerous road trips with my parents driving from state to state, touring this university or that, meeting farmers, urban dwellers, and residents of mid-size college towns. Dwelling on friendly rivalries between schools, I think of Johnny Carson's old joke from his Nebraska roots, "Why do the football fields in Iowa (or insert rival school/state here) have artificial turf football fields? So the cheerleaders won't graze after the games."

I am thankful to my parents for their gift of travel. (Of course it has come back to haunt them - their son has lived all over the western U.S. and their daughter is rarely even on this continent.) I am reminded of life's simple joys: like travel, like college football Saturdays, and like coffee (which I imbibe while reading the paper and watching the games). And watching those games reminds me of friends connected to those schools. Philippians 1:3 says, "I thank my God every time I remember you." So, I'm thankful to folks like...Jeff (who went to Illinois). My grandpa (who went to USC). My sister (who roots for UCLA and gets loads of grief from this USC fan practically every November). My old neighbor who bleeds Texas orange. My co-worker (who indoctrinates me on everything UW). The mom who teaches one of my Sunday school classes (who went to WSU and has to root for them). And any of you who has season tickets to the University of Hawaii - hint, hint.

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