My wife and I find ourselves in similar straits at this point in the NFL season, with our respective teams both fighting to hold on to wild card slots in their respective conferences. Her Steelers are faring a bit better than my Giants, as Pittsburgh won (just barely) on Sunday night and New York got trounced last night, but with five games to go the fact remains that neither team can coast into the playoffs, but it’s not time to give up and sigh wistfully about next year, either.
I am also duking it out for something like a wild card berth in the pick’em pool, as I think I’m in something like fifth place overall (which is really a tie for third-best record). This week was helpful to my cause since I got 12 of the games right, including Sunday night and Monday night, which I feel slightly guilty about because I had bet against the Steelers and the Giants. In the Steelers case, I honestly thought they would win but not cover the 9.5-point spread, whereas in evaluating the Giants’ chances against the Saints I figured the Giants had been struggling too much lately to keep it close. But all of that worked out serendipitously because I always feel slightly disloyal to my life partner when I bet against the Steelers (though honestly the unbiased facts rarely give me cause) and if I’m also being disloyal to my one, lifelong team fandom at the same time somehow it’s a wash? Maybe the karmic punishment, such as it is, came in the form of not winning the week outright, because 12 correct guesses is pretty good but 13 is better and that’s how many the winner ended up with. But I’ll take my even dozen and keep breathing down the necks of the overall season leaders (which, yes indeed, still includes my grandmother).
My wife’s family has some (transplanted) roots in Michigan so they are Lions … not fans, per se, maybe sympathizers is the word I’m looking for? I was certainly sympathetic for all of Detroit when, after years and years of hosting Thanksgiving games but losing them all, this year the card they pulled said Green Bay, and that team is as you may have heard on a bit of a tear. (Oh, and did I mention the Packers are the Giants’ next opponent? Oy.) I forgot to mention yesterday, but apparently two of my co-workers had made a friendly wager over the Packers/Lions outcome where the loser of the bet would have to bake the winner a cake decorated in the victorious football team’s colors. So yesterday morning there was cake with green and yellow icing for everyone. No one can starve to death in the Big Gray between Halloween and New Years.
But really, of course, Turkey Day traditions and longterm pro sports affections paled in comparison to the most meaningful football exhibition of the entire holiday weekend as far as my wife and her family (including myself) are concerned: the Michigan/Ohio State match-up, which I personally was delighted to see the national media referring to as simply “The Game”. My wife and I have been romantically intertwined since about October of 2004, and the last time Michigan had managed to beat Ohio State in The Game was 2003. The closest thing to a bright spot in the rivalry was when I was on a trip to Vegas with a couple of buddies a few years back on The Game weekend and bet on the Wolverines on my wife’s behalf; Michigan lost but covered the spread, and winnings are winnings and dulled the pain a bit. None of which matters now, though, as Michigan prevailed in the 2011 edition and all is right with the world.
(Oddly enough, yet another co-worker was walking around yesterday morning handing out leftover candies from his family Thanksgiving. Chocolate covered peanut butter balls, specifically, colloquially known as … Buckeyes. I ate one and refrained from comment.)
Finally (in the same general category of hindsight in which I started out boasting of my own sports prognostication ability) I will explain my weekend illness alluded to at the end of my last post. When everyone had cleared out of our house on Thanksgiving after a pleasant day of overeating, my wife and I retired to bed only to be awakened by our baby daughter shortly thereafter. Repeatedly. With no method of soothing seeming to gain us anything more than a few minutes of light sleep followed by a distressed outcry for more attention. Since I had Friday off but my wife had to go in to work the next day, I decided the best thing to do was to take the little girl downstairs and out of earshot so that her mother could sleep. I decamped to the den and turned on some mindless late-night tv with my daughter sleeping on my chest. I drifted and dozed here and there but never for very long, since the little girl woke up every half-hour like clockwork. She generally fell back asleep again a minute or two later with the help of some gentle jiggling and shushing, but my sleep cycles were clearly wrecked.
And the next day, as mentioned, my wife had to punch the clock and I was home alone with two munchkins. I tried to take things easy but by late afternoon I was feeling decidedly run down and under the weather with cold symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, fatigue (duh), etc.
Well, cold symptoms +/- allergy symptoms, and here’s where I kind of lost the thread at the time but may have picked it up in hindsight. The den has pretty much been the province of our two new hyperallergenic kittens since they arrived at our house, and I spent the entire night down there. I also didn’t take my allergy medicine on Thursday or Friday because that’s generally part of my morning get-ready-for-work routine. Both of our daycare-attending kids have had runny noses (and will continue to all winter, no doubt) so there’s at least some form of inimical microorganism culturing in our house at all times, but what I assumed was a straight up cold was more likely a combination of slight cold and good old major type I hypersensitivity freak-out. At any rate, I dumbly struggled through Saturday and Sunday taking a wide array of cold medicines but re-started my allergy regimen yesterday morning and I’m feeling much better. Live and learn.