Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Would Coach Taylor Do?

Friday Night Lights, a.k.a. The Best Show on Television, came to an end last Friday. And by golly, I miss it already. To the point where I now ask myself what Coach Taylor would do before any decision I make.
I hate when he looks at me like that.
So as I begin to clear out space in my studio for Lindsey's stuff, I've been thinking a lot about Coach, and (Skip this part if you haven't seen the finale, though I'm not sure where you'd skip to, since it's sort of the point of the article) how he sacrificed the ultimate coaching opportunity at Dillon for his wife's career.

Because now I have to make some sacrifices, too. Namely, what do I do with my jerseys?

I can give away things I wear regularly and not think twice about it -- I'm the Anti-Hoarder -- except when it comes to jerseys.

Ray Allen #34 Swingman on the Sonics? Haven't worn it in years. Ray Allen's not on the Sonics anymore. The Sonics aren't on the Sonics anymore. But Ray Allen's the best UConn player ever. The Sonics have (had) awesome colors. And it's a Swingman!

Casey Calvary Blue #31 on Gonzaga? Who the eff is Casey Calvary? He played for Gonzaga, back when Gonzaga was under the radar. I remember in college Kevin and I going to Champs Sports at the West Farms Mall and I got Calvary and he got Larry Bird #33 Powder Blue Indiana State. You think I can just throw out these kinds of memories???

I could keep the jerseys and stash them away, but I like hanging them. They're so colorful. It's like my own private Champs Sports. And if I stuff them in a drawer, they'll get wrinkled. The logic here is flawed, too: Lindsey complains every day that my real clothes are wrinkled. But my jerseys have to be pristine. They look better that way, and you never know when a spontaneous basketball game might break out.

But then I think back to Coach Taylor, and realize that if jerseys are going to be a sticking point, I have to make concessions. Joey Porter had one good year for the Dolphins and was a total idiot. He can go. I've given up on pretending to like soccer, so those jerseys can go, too. That leaves about fifteen. Mostly basketball. Some football. Some pro. Some college. And a few precious relics, like my high school white #5 with a pink rum punch stain from a foam party in Jamaica.

They take up roughly 33% of my allotment of closet space, and it's totally worth it.

As Coach would say, "Son, some things are worth fighting for."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

When in Rome...

When I studied abroad in Rome, our program stayed in a peaceful little convent atop the Aventine Hill. It was beautiful. All of Rome was. I was a history major, and to me, there was no more spectacular place to be.

Yet despite the endless number of things to do, places to see, and pasta to eat, I got really, really homesick. And I couldn't figure out why. I mean, I expected some homesickness, but there was something compounding it that I couldn't put my finger on.

But my mom could.

So when my family came to visit during my brother's spring break, she brought sports. All kinds of sports. As much as she could fit in a duffle bag. We're talking basketballs, baseballs, baseball gloves, footballs, tennis rackets, tennis balls, and every sports magazine on the rack. It was like third grade when the teacher dumps out the bag of balls at the beginning of recess. The convent turned into a field house. The nuns were terrified.

But the boys? We were happy.

Since sports are supposed to be trivial, we often forget how important they are to us. It's crunch-time for the NFL -- we're days away from a compromised preseason -- and Lindsey can't believe how cool I'm playing it.

That's what has me worried: The NFL is more important to me than I could ever get myself to admit; something I've fully expected to be there for me every September. And I'm not appropriately preparing myself for life without it. I'm about to go to back to Rome, and once again, I'm forgetting all my toys.

If you ask most people, this labor dispute will be worked out soon. Hopefully this confidence is grounded in fact and not delusion, and my lack of concern will turn out to be justified. But yikes -- it's getting close. Too close.

And this time, there won't be anything my mom can bring to make it better.