Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Grab Bag Still Kickin'

So somewhere in the tumult of year-ending holidays and vacations and whatnot, the regular 2013 NFL season came to a close. Count me among the fans who enjoys the intra-division rivalries getting their last match-ups in during week 17, in what often turn out to be games with playoff implications. There were of course no playoffs at stake for my beloved Giants, but they did manage to beat the atrocious local Washington franchise, both in the Sunday contest in question and the Battle To Stay Out of the NFC East Basement, so there was that.

There's no shortage of adverbs I could use to describe the way December 29th unfolded for my wife's team, as the improbable interlinked scenarios for the Steelers to grab the last AFC wildcard slot all came to pass in favorable ways and then - sadly, maddeningly, unjustly-upon-further-review, &c. - after Pittsburgh had won their game and needed the Chiefs to beat the Chargers, that late game went into overtime after a missed KC game-winner field goal attempt where SD committed an unflagged procedural penalty, and then SD took the eventual W and the playoff spot. It's more or less what you have to expect when your team doesn't control their own destiny and needs immense amounts of help, but still pretty crushing.

So now it remains to be seen if my wife and I will spend the weekends of January following the playoffs so that we have informed opinions for a Super Bowl where we will have virtually no emotional investment, or instead get an early start on, say, catching up on Downton Abbey Season 3. Either should be good times.


Also, for what it's worth, I had a bad run there at the end of the Pick'em Pool, with a TOTAL of 11 right across both weeks 14 and 15 combined, but then a bit of a bounceback in the last couple weeks, 9 correct followed by 11 on that final, fateful Sunday. But 13 correct was the winning mark in the last week, so I was never really in it. Overall, I finished the season tied for 25th place out of 30 entrants, and those bottom four who actually did worse than I did all season long were all people who, at one point or another, had simply not submitted any picks in a given week and thus got a goose egg somewhere along the way. I got a mere 3 right one week, but never a 0. My plucky 88-year-old grandma failed to make her picks for week 17, probably because she was traveling to see her children for Christmas. If she had gotten 9 or 10 right (not hard in a week where even I could get 11) instead of zero, she would have beaten me for the year. My Very Little Bro, my cousin, and my two uncles did beat me for the year, all pretty handily.

And the person I was tied with for 25th overall? That would be my dad. We were actually pretty neck-and-neck all season. So, to whatever extent fathers and sons use sports as a proxy for resolving interpersonal stuff, kind of amusing (to me, anyway) that we wound up in exactly the same position of "well, thanks for playing, there's always next year!"


Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention that Community is back(!) and of course my wife and I were glued to the tv on Thursday evening. It's too early to say anything too sweeping about the second Harmon administration, but after the double-shot of episodes this week it does feel as though at least some of the old crackle is back. I was geeked about the new season going into Thursday, and I remain pretty much the same level of geeked.

It was not easy getting our butts on the couch by 8 p.m., though. Thursday is one of the days both my wife and I work, and since I got home first I very quickly started dinner for the kids, got them fed, and then proceeded to the pre-bedtime baths. I did get an early jump on the whole routine/rigamarole, but it quickly went pear-shaped with the little girl refusing to go to bed until her mother got home (and sang her songs, &c., &c.) and the baby not feeling particularly sleepy as of 7:45. Basically the two older kids were tucked in just before 8, and I was rocking the baby in the master bedroom with the lights off and the tv on, while my wife very sweetly got our dinner in the oven and missed the first few minutes. By about the second commercial break, the baby was sleeping soundly enough that he could be laid down and my wife and I could relocate to the den. Fortunately, there was a two-fer of new episodes for premiere might, so at least my wife got to watch the entirety of the second one.

Also one miniscule "duly noted": don't suppose for a second that I didn't notice during the closing scene of "Re-Pilot" when Britta was ignoring her friends as they tried to talk her out of pursuing a masters in psychology, despite her friends' reasonable suggestions to go for some easier degree, and Shirley put forth "How 'bout English?" Almost twenty years out of college and I still identify as an English major, so that stung a little. But I gotta acknowledge a good burn, and that was a good one.

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