Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘NFL

Super Sunday

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It’s finally here. The big NFL game is happening in Minnesota this year and the hyped up media have whipped things into a frenzy for the last few days. I will be glad when it is all just a memory and we can get back to normal around in the Twin Cities.

Visitors were treated to a day of beautiful falling snow yesterday, and this morning, below zero cold with dangerous wind chills. This is the way we do winter.

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I gave Delilah a workout yesterday, making her leap through deep snow in an off-trail walk across some of our fields. I tried to capture the beauty of the falling flakes in the shot back toward the barns, and ended up getting one little blurry flake to show up.

At the time I pulled out the camera, we were out on a wind-swept slope covered by hardly any snow. Delilah took great fascination with some scent that grabbed her attention and scratched at the frozen ground, layed down and rubbed her fur against it repeatedly.

Now I need to go out and plow.

That’s another way we do winter.

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Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2018 at 10:59 am

Thinking Ahead

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One of the things about writing daily for a blog is the consistency of repeatedly coming upon the start of a new month. It keeps happening over and over again, I tell you. Like clockwork. Like turning pages of a calendar.

Somehow, we have reached the beginning of the month of August. Goodbye, July.

If I were sincerely successful in achieving the art of always living in the present moment, this transition to a new month would take on a lot less significance. But, August just oozes end of summer and throws me headlong into mental images of September.

The local media can’t stop talking about the great Minnesota State Fair already, which is the very definition of the start of September to me.

Cyndie served up locally grown sweet corn for dinner last night, because they grocery store had just received a batch and staff were in process of setting it out as she walked by the display. Summer may be a time for corn on the cob, but just-picked sweet corn is a delight that happens in August here and it always seems to end as quickly as it starts. If I blink while eating it, the school year will be starting by the time my eyes open.

And if ‘back to school’ ads in every form aren’t bad enough, the frighteningly early appearance of school buses on the road in August distorts every effort to avoid the trap of thinking ahead. Bus drivers are busy training and learning routes, so my mind leaps to planning how to time my travels to miss their constant stopping when the kids show up.

News reports from NFL training camps are all triggering a dormant remnant of youthful passion for the sport that always finds ways to rekindle within me despite my better judgement. Football is a mashup of fall associations that pulls all the way into winter and a playoff season that flows past the new year.

That definitely goes against staying grounded in the here and now.

Ultimately, there is one aspect that towers above all the rest of the issues of August. One that tears me away from the present moment in an ever-so-subtle –yet not so subtle at all– change that is absolutely happening in the precise minutes of each and every late-July/early-August day. It is the constant slipping of the sunrise and sunset times.

The first time I notice it is suddenly dark when I am leaving for work in the morning, I feel an uncanny urge to wear a flannel shirt. I start wondering where I stashed my driving gloves last April. I notice a nagging compulsion to fill the firewood rack on the back deck.

Today may only be August 1st, but this time of year unleashes a flood of energy dragging me uncontrollably ahead into September and beyond.

Actually, it’s all probably just a symptom of the powerful true root cause… Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year.

Happy August everyone!

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Reluctant Fan

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Two nights in a row now, I have stayed up past my bedtime to see evening entertainment. Last night it was the NFL Minnesota Vikings. I call myself a reluctant fan because I don’t like how the league and the games have changed over time.

img_ip1731eI grew up in a household where Minnesota sports were always on the TV or radio. We had season tickets to the Vikings games starting back from the time the team arrived to the state.

If I couldn’t go to the games in person, I wanted to watch them on television. That television coverage is part of what killed the game for me. TV networks took over and began to control the timing of the breaks. I lost my love of watching the games in person.

Eventually, I lost interest in watching my team fail. Other things claimed that time slot for me and I figured I had broken the spell. I was free of the game’s allure.

That was before my old home team began to show signs of being successful again. The pull at the beginning of each season is hard to resist, so I tend to check them out, just in case they might perform well.

This year, it was made more dramatic by the loss of our quarterback right before the season was about to start. All the excited anticipation went out the door in a blink and our usual inevitable doom seemed to settle in before we had a chance to get started.

If that wasn’t enough, we lost our star running back in the second game. A smarter me would have bailed on the team right away. But something happened.

We won games. We put up good stats. We started earning respect, reminding me of teams of old, when I was a kid.

Against my better judgement, I slinked my way onto the bandwagon. The coaching staff seem to be leading the team the way winners do, and they are succeeding despite the loss of key players.

They are making me feel young again.

The pessimist in me is wondering how long this is gonna last, but the kid in me is going to just enjoy the ride for as far as it is able to carry me.

Like a fan, only with a little bit of baggage… called reluctance.

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Written by johnwhays

October 4, 2016 at 6:00 am

Losing Effort

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I imagine that watching Minnesota Vikings football is a little like having bought a ticket to the lottery, but I can’t say for sure, because I don’t buy lottery tickets. I would guess that a lottery ticket provides inspiration to dream of becoming independently wealthy. A Vikings fan can only hope for the possibility their team won’t come up short of a necessary victory.

I have suffered the psychological abuse of being a Vikings fan my entire life. It’s been hard, because the franchise has often fielded great teams of incredible athletes. When I was a kid, the team was respected by fans and foes for having a dominating defense. The Minnesota Vikings were good teams and won enough games to earn their way to 4 Superbowls, from which they came away losers, all 4 times.

WalshMissIt’s the repeated dashing of hopes that begins to feel like some kind of a mental endurance test.

Yesterday’s game was one of the worst kind. Leading for most of the playoff game, then falling behind late, and finally achieving a position on the field where they had a chance to win as time runs out. The field goal attempt was wide left. Game over.

Season over.

Hopes dashed.

I wonder what I would do with a billion dollar lottery win.

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Written by johnwhays

January 11, 2016 at 7:00 am

Sports Spectating

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There was a big sports championship waged yesterday in the U.S., ending the National Football League season for another year. Congratulations to the fans of the Baltimore Ravens.

American football is a team sport, 11 vs. 11. Each play is a battle of eleven different 1-on-1 competitions. I think that is what provides much of the intrigue of our game.

When it comes to players on offense trying to execute a block, all they need to do is occupy the person to whom they are assigned, for the brief moment of play. Sometimes, it can be as simple as getting positioned between the defender and the ball carrier. The offensive team knows where the play is intended to go, so it would seem they have the advantage.

The defensive players are tasked with needing to quickly deduce what is happening, fight off or avoid the block, and then make a play for the ball.

Many of the individual match-ups on any given play, could probably be judged a draw. Then it comes down to a player who can be either a hero, or a goat, which may produce a gain, or loss, of particular significance.

For as slow as the actual 60-minutes of play-clock takes to run (games take around 3 hours), there is a lot of action that happens in each short burst. It is a pleasant distraction from the real world, while it lasts.

Now that we have arrived at the NFL off-season, I can return my discretionary attention to things that actually matter.

As if. I do still have the sport of hockey for frivolous entertainment, you realize. Yes, the truth is, I’m rather hopeless when it comes to the distractions of spectator sports.

Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2013 at 7:00 am