By Cameron Blair
Have you ever had a really good weekend? I’m talking about a REALLY good weekend. You know, one of those weekends where you sit around with your friends during the day talking about deep topics such as booze and girls while playing some Madden – then at night, you end up going home with the girl you’ve been after for months?Yeah, my weekend wasn’t like that either. But my sports teams performed incredibly well this weekend, and I was able to live vicariously through them for a couple of days. I think the best (and by best I mean easiest) way for me to recap my sports weekend is to do it chronologically.
And away we go.
To prepare for the Eastern-Morehead football game Saturday, my buddy and I went out and bought 3 pounds of beef (for four people) and some other necessities. We grilled six of the most inappropriately large hamburger patties that mankind has ever seen. These things could have fed the Waltons for a couple of days.
After a couple of those gluttonous burgers, another of my roommates came walking through the door with 50 hot chicken wings. We ate as many of those as we could without throwing up.
Finally, we were off to the Eastern football game. Walking over to watch the Colonels take on a rival school with a mixture of a couple burgers, a dozen or so wings and some beer acting as my body’s fuel, something profound occurred to me. This is what heaven must be like.
The game itself was much better than I expected. Despite not having any scholarships available for their football team, the Golden Eagles put up a hell of a fight. Morehead actually won a good deal of the battle between the offensive and defensive lines.
The Golden Eagles would have had a chance to win the game if quarterback Evan Sawyer’s deep pass to a wide-open receiver was about a foot shorter. Sawyer’s bomb was just out of the reach of a Morehead State receiver who had a clear path to the end zone when the Colonels were clinging to a 6-0 lead. Thanks to a great defensive game, Eastern escaped with a victory.
However, the game was surprisingly competitive, and I think the Colonels may have found a new in-state rival to play for years to come. Western who?
As for Saturday night, it was fairly inconsequential with the exception of Ohio State getting steamrolled by USC. I would have been indifferent to this, but my buddy Shag is a huge Buckeyes fan, and I took some pleasure in watching his slow progression from excitement at the beginning of the game to rage by the third quarter. I swear I’m not a bad friend.
Sunday is when things went from good to great. For starters, Sundays are my favorite day of the week. I make it a point to do nothing requiring physical exertion and to spend as much time in the recliner as possible. As a bonus on this day, I spilled chili on my shirt while eating lunch and I just left it there the rest of the day. Life is good.
But my sports teams really took it to another level on this day. My beloved Buffalo Bills beat a playoff team for the second consecutive week and actually look like they have a shot to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Hopefully, they can return to the glory years of the early 1990s when they went to (and lost) four straight Super Bowls. Oh, wait. Never mind.
The remainder of Sunday afternoon was a blur of professional football and unhealthy snack foods. In other words, it was fantastic. It’s tough to beat watching huge hits and big runs while eating peanut butter from the jar.
By Sunday evening, I was content to catch some 60 Minutes. (See? I’m not all about sports.) But the best was yet to come. While watching the Sunday night football, I was watching the online gamecast of the Cubs-Astros game. As I was watching a somewhat disappointing Browns-Steelers game, I noticed Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano had a no-hitter after seven innings.
For the next hour, nothing else mattered to me. I was glued to the computer screen watching virtual holograms representing Astros players strike out and counting the outs Big Z had left to get the no-no. I happened to switch the television over to ESPN around 10:30 p.m., and they had just switched their normal coverage over to the Cubs game. Clearly, my sports geek instincts were sharp this night.
Watching Carlos retire the first two batters of the ninth inning quickly, the butterflies in my stomach kicked into fifth gear. When he went to a full count on the last hitter, I thought I was having a stroke. When the hitter swung at the third strike, I went into jump-up-and-down, fist-pump, running-around-the-room mode.
After this, I was reminded why I care so much about sports. None of the players on the roster of Eastern, the Buffalo Bills or Carlos Zambrano really know me and I have no real stake in their success. But somehow I have this connection with these sports teams that can take me to heights an outside observer would not think was possible.
Thanks to these teams and players who have no idea who I am, this weekend went in the books as one for the ages.
Then, after coming down from the high of my vicariously awesome weekend, I realized I had not even started on my column for this week’s Progress.