A couple weeks ago on SNL Christina Applegate sorta mocked the nothingness of mid-October. As if the gold soybean fields, the smell of burning leaves and pumpkin beer mean nothing. Every other year we get the glory of negative political ads. Which are awesome. I love them. If I win the lottery I’m totally buying time and going negative on everybody who deserves it. You’ve been warned. Anyway, I’m just paraphrasing but Applegate said something about no decorations, no cards, no weird family tension. It’s that period of time before the holidays. Before Halloween, before Turkey Day, before Christmas and New Year’s.
Well…that’s crap. Fall is the best time of year for many reasons. Among them are pro football, college football and pumpkin beer. But mid-October is the kickoff. It’s really doesn’t get the credit or appreciation it should. I mean Columbus Day falls right in there. I love Columbus Day. It’s always on a Monday and in grade school we got the day off. And that meant I could watch the NFL all day without the gnawing feeling of doom of going to school the next morning. The girls don’t get Columbus Day off. I assume it has something to do with the revisionist anti-American historians like Howard Zinn who can’t find anything good about America’s past. So public schools don’t celebrate Columbus Day anymore. Rumor is he hates the NFL too. Can’t confirm that but it stands to reason. Anyway, aside from simply being the beginning of what really is the most nostalgic two and a-half months of the year, it contains several monumental history changing events.
October 13, 1960…3:36 p.m. eastern. I became possible. Not kidding. On a sunny mid-October afternoon Bill Mazeroski stepped to the plate with no outs in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. About a minute later he hit a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall. And my Dad walked from his job at Gimbels Department store to meet some friends in front of the Pittsburgh Hilton. He met my Mom there. So don’t let anyone tell you sports don’t matter or they are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. They’re full of crap. Thanks Bill Mazeroski. I owe you one.
October 15, 1977. With the leaves changing a little 2nd grade boy sat in the south endzone with his parents and watched the 17th ranked and defending national champion Pitt Panthers beat Navy 34-17. Mid-October is what college football is about. And I fell in love with it that day. Mostly because there was so much more of it compared to the NFL. So be careful to what you expose your children…you never know what they’ll fall in love with. This is mostly the reason our girls don’t play soccer.
October 12, 1980. Nobody really sensed it at the time but it was the end of the 70’s Steelers dynasty. First play from scrimmage Franco fumbled. Then near the end of the first half the greatest outside linebacker of the era was beat by Pete Johnson on a short pass over the middle. Jack Ham was beaten by Pete Johnson! On a pass pattern! I know. Its hard to even say let alone type it. It’s like saying Abe Lincoln was bested by Nancy Pelosi. Or Justin Bieber is better than Def Leppard. Or Thundarr the Barbarian was outclassed by Zan from the Wonder Twins. Anyway, the Steelers lost 17-16 and I experienced the NFL playoffs for the first time without the Steelers. It was horrible. Awful. Like the first day of an Obama second term.
October 14, 1992. Braves 3 Pirates 2. There are times in your life in which you learn to deal with disappointment. With loss. When you are old enough to know that the last chance at a wonderful opportunity has been missed. And you must deal with the consequences in an adult and reasoned manner. Except I was still in college at this time so I dealt with it with lots of Miller Lites. Regardless, Jose Lind’s error, Francisco Cabrera’s hit and Barry Bonds’ poor throw are why when something really awful happens to the girls, something that tears their hearts out, that knocks them off their feet with the brunt force of disappointment…all I have to say is, “10-14-92, damn you Jose Lind!” That should get the point across that I too have suffered at the bony, gnarled, pitiless, heartless hand of destiny.
So, um, not sure what my point was with this post but I like mid-October