It's that time of year again. I can smell the mowed grass (turf), overpriced cheap beer, and soggy hot dogs. Soon the purple and black will again festively festoon our own nest with the decorations for the annual Festivus. The NFL season is about to begin.
Giant sweaty grown men beating the crap out of each other over the possession of an ovoid bladder covered in leather. Damn I love this sport.
It's beyond the strategy, the history, the numbers. It's more visceral than the left guard on a quarterback sneak on 4th and goal. My love for the sport drives deep into the core of my essence. It's been there since I was a child, one of my younger memories involving me testing the suitability of my Cowboys (my parents are fans) helmet by running headfirst into the cinder block wall of my parents' garage. Likely explains much.
Sure, there are plenty who can speak more intelligently and comprehensively as to rosters, depth charts, strategy, etc. It's the existential nature of "any given Sunday", any given play ... any given moment. Football for me is being on the field, smelling the ball as you grip it in your hand, forgetting the cold as your game takes you through Autumn, barreling into the depths of Winter where men are made and Championships are won.
I'm so happy that the season is beginning again that I'm likely to spit purple and bleed black. The doctors assure me it's temporary.
Though I've been a fan of Baltimore's own Ravens since they and I moved to Baltimore at about the same time, my streak of individuality came when I began to root for the Redskins - this was my way of rebelling as a child. My parents were long time Cowboys fans, as I mentioned above, and to root for the enemy was a pretty big deal in our house. I went so far as to craft a Redskins football helmet bank in Wood Shop.
This past Thursday evening The Mrs., Mr. Crum, and myself had the opportunity to avail ourselves of free tickets to a trip down memory lane. FedEx field is a nice stadium, and the parking is way easier to manage than M&T Bank Stadium, though I imagine parking there is easier if you have a pass. I also think that our going to that game was maybe just a bit divinely inspired, given that 2 of the players - one from each team in that pre-season contest - have now signed with the Ravens. RB Marcus Mason(WAS) and just today QB Todd Bouman(JAX) have signed on to wear the Purple and Black. Mason reminds me of a young Emmitt Smith, and Bouman's addition was a result of some of the sweetest football related words I've ever read: Kyle Boller on the IR. Sorry, Kyle. You're a nice guy, but you're color blind.
So there you have it. Football. Sunday afternoon will find me glued to my HD set, likely raving in anger watching the rookie make rookie mistakes, wishing I were there, on the sidelines. Though the beer is cheaper at our house.
Bonus! My gallery of photos from the game (You were wondering, weren't you):
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