A beautiful fall Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining, the breeze not yet tinged with the bitter cold that is soon to come.
And the television is on college football, of course.
Nacho chips? Check.
Dip? Got it.
The occasional whoop, holler and, if truth be told, some rather blue-tinged extortions can be heard throughout our house.
My husband and son, wasting a perfectly fine afternoon?
Heck no, that's me. They're outside raking leaves, tilling the garden, preparing for winter. I'm the one wasting the day on the couch.
I'm in a pretty unique situation, a sports-crazy woman in a house of men who don't share my level of passion. After 22 years, my husband has come to accept my love of sports, although he doesn't share it. My son is a bit more sports-minded, but he didn't grow up, as I did, in a house of seven children; all who shared a level of competition that bordered on the felonious.
When we weren't watching sports on the television, we were playing them in the yard. Spring, summer, fall or winter, we were out there beating the tar out of each other. We could make a contest of anything, from who could eat the most french toast to who could hold their breath the longest.
My friends and coworkers have mentioned that perhaps I am a tad competitive. I don't like to get beat. And I don't like my teams to get beat either. I gloat, too, not in work situations, but when my team takes a victory. The Blue Devil's NCAA title last year? I walked around on a cloud for a week after my beloved Duke took the title.
My career begin in college, when I was sports editor of our college paper. I added sports photographer to the list and, in the professional world, I soon found myself one of few women sports editors around (insert "She must be really old!" here).
My favorite memories weren't heading to the Metrodome to cover the Vikings, or covering the inaugeral season of the Timberwolves. My favorite memories are of heading to another small town, on another chilly fall night, to cover a high school football game. I think back foundly to days in tiny gymnasiums, with the crowd right on top of the players, on cold winter nights. While it might have been frigid outside, there was a steam room atmosphere in those gyms. There was also an intensity to them, too.
I guess that's why, while I love sports, I really don't enjoy watching professional football or basketball. When you're playing simply because you love to play, you can tell. When you're playing because your $4.5 million a year contract tells you that you have to play, it's not quite so much fun.
I really should get off the couch on these Indian summer Saturday afternoons. Really, I should.
Maybe next year.
It's election day today.
For whomever you've chosen after study and reflection.
It''s our right, and our responsibility.