Well, another season of High School Football games with Spectrum Sports and the coolest of cool crews is in the books, Me and BB done with our runs up Albany way for now. While we all finished up this weekend one more time, our broadcasts included the crowning of a few division champs, including Shenendahowa and Queensbury (and discovered, in the process, why Queensbury is a pretty much run first only football team as the few passes they did attempt were more blimps or alley-oops than anything else).
There was celebrating, there was crying, there was thanking the heavens and there was cursing the fates, but no participant trophies here. It’s a win or lose kinda thing in the real sport’s world, no middle ground. Kids anticipate, then kids celebrate or kids cry all with a hell of a lot drama, violent football sounds, screamed coaching obviousness, screamed fan obviousness and a lot of often riveting and fun football in between.
I have to admit though, that I was feeling a little creaky on the sidelines this weekend, for the first time really, by the end of Saturday night’s game. 10 straight weeks of leaving the regular gig a couple of hours short of a full day, the stress of trying to meet that couple of hours short 3:30p escape time deadline every week on busy radio production Fridays for a 4 hour round trip with 5 hours of a broadcast in between caught up with me, especially with this weekend being a double header. The cold didn’t help either. Sorry, I SHOULD say, the fucking cold didn’t help either. That first real cold of the year always feels a little bit more.
I’ve also, even with said creaky, never really felt my age, but still, the up at 7a on Friday to the walk in the door at 1a on Sunday with 27 hours of work or so sandwiched in, plus the about 5 hours of driving this time around was a bit much. Thank you Sis, by the way, for cutting down the drive time, my Albany savior, for the way station house and basement couch on Friday night after game one replete with a Ma who happened to be there for the weekend (bonus) a couple of cool Nephews and some cats, including newbie kitten Arthur and his Saturday wake up. So the cliche’d joking references I made to my to my crewmates of the old man bend down grunts with heavy breaths, or the even heavier almost comical, looking for something to grab for a stand up’s assist breaths and grunts from those bend downs (I am woefully out of shape) kind of felt about right.
But once I got myself home to fur, my Bella, curious at the bottom of the stairs (she never comes down the stairs) after hearing me not be as stealthy as I thought with the dogs in the mudroom on my way in, old girl Mimi the Quirky and her tappy-tap paw-paw stretch-stretch happy-happy to see me at the top of the stairs and Cricket the Blind’s wailful meow beyond, like a grandmother at the funeral of a child while she methodically paced her circles on the kitchen rug, I was good (seriously, that’s what she sounds like…and I always feel as if I need to buy flowers).
I made some nice dollars over these ten weeks (thank you Greg for always keeping this grip in mind) though it would have been nice had they been netted and not necessary dollars, but BB and I were home…and it was warm. Old creaky loves warm.
Some thoughts then on another season’s travels:
- Always trust your gut #1. For instance. If you arrive at a rest stop on the NY State Thruway that has advertised “Deli” a few times along the way on big green signs with maybe even a tempting pictured fork, know that it is not actually a deli, at least not your accustomed local neighborhood type, the one you frequent on an almost daily basis on your way to work. Know that it is instead just a convenience store with a few sleeves of meat behind glass to give you the impression of “Deli”. Though you may be temporarily comforted, as you look up at the menu, by a similar sandwich price to that of your local deli, around 7 dollars, know that you will be hoodwinked into paying about 2 bucks per slice of turkey and another buck for a slice of Swiss. Make sure you at least order it with mayo and salt & pepper for a bit of flavor and a maybe really thin slice of tomato just to say you had the add.
- When you’re GPS’ing and don’t have one of those snappy cell phone suction windshield or dash thingy’s for your phone that never work as advertised and always fall off and instead just place your phone on top of a pair of old sweats on your oversized man bag in the passenger seat know that you will constantly look to your left, to the reflection of it in your driver’s side window, thinking you are passing a drive-in movie theater mid-flic.
- When your best of friends calls you earlier in the week to give you the thumb’s up update on the puppy that his parent’s have adopted from your landlady’s animal shelter and you ask if they have named her yet know that he will lament that his dad seems fixated on the unfortunate name the puppy had been given purely for application purposes. “Cherry”
Best of friends (JJ): I don’t know what to do. He won’t let go of calling her Cherry. It sounds like a stripper.
Me: Did you tell him that?
Best of friends: Yes! He said, “Well how about Cherry Lynne then?”
Me: Great, now she’s gone from stripper to porn star.
Know you will spend an inordinate amount of time on your ride north trying to come up with alternative names for a simple puppy stripper who has now graduated to the AVN Awards.
- Take pause after set-up and pre-game. There’s always a picture worth grabbing that reminds you of the more.
- Always trust your gut #2: When you can’t find a McDonald’s on your way out to use the “I took the survey” receipt freebie and just opt to hit the highway as soon as possible know that your first rest stop is a Roy Rogers. Also know that at this time of night, around 11p, and because it’s a truck stop Roy Rogers that they will have nothing but a shitload of sandwich’s, cooked hours earlier, sitting in heat lamped stainless steel troughs. Trust your gut and don’t buy one for WAY too much money otherwise you’ll be belching it all the way through the next day. Lessons learned.
- You may worry about the fact that you don’t really have any footwear ready for the cold, other than that pair of boots that you’re not quite sure are insulated. Shit, you bought them from the back of store bargain wall at Modell’s and they seemed like a damn good deal at the time. Actually being insulated? Well, you didn’t really think of that amid your high fiving yourself at such a great found bargain. Plus they had a nice clunky tread for the not falling down.
Me: Hey Bob, what size feet do you have and no, it’s not a weird I think about it in the shower kinda thing.
Have Bob lend you a pair of boots he doesn’t wear to ease your mind knowing of the cold that awaits. Plus, when they turn out to be LL Bean? Damn! That’s some fancy! Put’s my no-name Modell’s not sure if they’re insulated but have a cool looking clunky tread bargain wall boots to shame. Also, don’t mention the shower thing again…ever.
- Agree to show up for an early crew call on game #2 knowing you’ll get an extra couple of bucks out of it but do so hoping that you might get lunch as well before the pre-game dinner which tonight wasn’t just pizza and some dusted off Royal Crown two liters. My man Greg splurged for Chicken Parm. Sorry Happy. Sorry Rocco.
- Have the “Frankenberry-Cam” be featured one final time during the game with you mugging for the pure wondrous silliness of it, even have play by play guy mention such while he looked like a prophet planet in his bright Mars orange jacket.
- Have Greg save, on his own, what’s left of the “not pizza” dinner just for you. Thank the cold for preserving future single guy meals as well as any fridge could then thank Greg for the thought.
- Take a picture of sideliner talent Marissa taking a picture of taking a picture.
- Drive your last stretch of highway from the Kingston exit “Hey BB? Poughkeepsie’s next dude!” before you’re done with the same guy who’s been behind you for about 60 miles. Call him friend.
Also remember that you love this. Though it’s frustrating that you need to do it, and you’d SO wish that it was just ’cause you want to, so wish that your main gig’s one important job requirement wasn’t having a second job, know that you would do this any day of the week just for the camaraderie of it and the notion of a day well done…and maybe some not pizza chicken parm.