Poor Oakland, they needed a Frank Reich-like comeback to pull out last night's game. Alas, they didn't have Frank Reich. Or anyone like.
It's Sunday, it's the NFL play-offs, it's only a matter time before controversy ensues. Why not brush up on the NFL Digest of Rules so you know who's right. While you're there, you might as well learn those crazy NFL Official Signals too. That's not Traveling, buddy, that's "False Start, Illegal Formation, Kickoff or Safety Kick Out of Bounds." (And what's Illegal Crackback? Is that when I lean over while wearing my low-rise jeans?)
You know, I really want to watch the Olympics, I really do. Why do they make it so hard? Why do they make it so so so American-centric? And filled with stupid commentary? I just want to see the downhill, is that too much to ask? Why couldn't they tell me it was delayed a day? No, I watched nearly two hours of figure skating until I came online and discovered the downhill was postponed until today. Grr…
Watching the men's downhill on Sunday evening I was so craving the slopes and wanting to just point my skies straight down the hill and tuck. See, I've always wanted to be a downhiller. Always. Even now. And no matter how many people say to me things like, "but don't you realize how fast they go?" And, "wouldn't you be scared?" I have to say, "yes" and "no."
I love skiing, it's probably my favorite sport in the whole world. And I learned how to ski before I even remember doing so. I've always known how to ski. For a while in the 80's I was skiing four days a week (high school ski team and weekends in Vermont). Now I never go, I don't have the budget for it. But watching Sunday, visions of a comeback formed in my head. Perhaps I still could fulfill my dream of being a downhill racer. Or at least just going very straight and very fast down the slopes without getting my lift ticket pulled by the ski patrol.
I still can't believe the Patriots won the Super Bowl. The team I root for never wins, never ever ever ever ever. Sometimes the team I want to lose loses (see Yankees vs. Diamondbacks 2001 World Series) but the team I want to win never wins. Not since the 80's, since the great years of the Celtics (DJ and Ainge, Bird, Parish and McHale, man oh man…), has my team won. Until yesterday. I was on the edge of my seat until the very end, knowing (as only a New England fan can) that until that clock ran out, anything was possible. The Rams comeback was no surprise to me, the fact that NE actually pulled off the win still is.
Apparently NE quarterback Tom Brady was so calm before the game, he took a nap in the locker room. If I'd known this during the game, I might have relaxed my guard a little. A nap? That's confidence, and it reminded me of all the sporting events I've been involved with, and the only time I really won anything big. Usually before an important event (high school soccer play-offs and ski team races for state championships, Head of the Charles, New England Collegiate Championships for rowing), I'd be filled with an aching, intense, anxiety. Full of hope but scared, I'd just say to myself, "I hope we can do it. I think we can do it. Jeez, it would be great to win." Only once was it different.
Tufts Crew, Spring 1992. I was rowing in the 2nd varsity boat, and we'd had one loss all spring. We got to the New England championships and that morning, before our preliminary heat, I was walking around with the strangest sense of calm I've ever experienced before a sporting event — I just knew we were going to win. I wasn't nervous, I wasn't anxious, I wasn't even impatient to row, because I knew how it was going to turn out.
We went out and rowed perfectly in our heat, beating the team we'd lost to earlier in the season by a hefty margin. Then in the afternoon, we went out and rowed again. It was a close final and in the last 500 meters we were dead even with one other crew. But we poured it on and pulled away, just like I'd known we would, and we took home gold medals. I've never felt that level of confidence again. I can't help but wonder if Tom Brady felt something similar yesterday afternoon as he took a nap before the biggest game of his career. I think Brady just knew they were going to win the game.
Today's the Big Day and I'm working very diligently so this afternoon I can head to a party to watch the game. If my dream from last night (I swear I'm not making this up) comes true, it should be a good game. I dreamt Nebraska was up 40-19 with 7:17 left in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately my dream didn't carry the final score, but my hopes are high. GO HUSKERS!