Friday, December 23, 2011

Bowl Season

One afternoon this week while watching TV I noticed an ad for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.  This epic match up pits perennial powerhouse Texas Christian University against the upstart Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech.  Should be one for the ages...or for the aged.  It’s not exactly Michigan Versus Ohio State, but it will be on TV, and heck, what else is there to do over the holidays? 
When I see that small regional credit unions are the name sponsors for college football bowl games, I just want to throw up…which explains why I was watching TV in the middle of the afternoon during a work week.  I threw up.  More on that in a moment…

When I grew up, what made the bowl games specials was their scarcity.  Fiesta, Sugar, Rose, Orange, Gator – that’s all we needed.  Instead of 10 teams so honored with a bowl bid, 70 NCAA teams will play in a bowl game this year (74 next year).  The American culture that values quantity over quality has devalued the bowl game experience to the point of irrelevance.  30 years ago, we were thin and our televisions were fat.  Now the opposite is true.  Today I fell like blaming college football for the trend.  I am not sure more, less relevant bowl games were required to satisfy this ever-hungry nation.  In my opinion, these games have done nothing more than fill the void left by the XFL, which is to say they are as useless as an unemployed worker at  Gingrich campaign rally.
The winner of the 2011 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl will not be the answer to a trivia question one day.  It will be so trivial that the question will never be asked.  The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl isn’t even the most egregious bowl on the list of 35 games scheduled this season:

·         Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – The Infamous Idaho Potato Bowl was cancelled because it was attracting a questionable crowd.
·         Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – I like how they added “of Texas” to the name, which allows for the tantalizing possibility that Meineke will someday host a bowl game in each state of the Union (fingers crossed).
·         Pinstripe Bowl – I believe this used to be called the Seersucker Bowl, but it has been updated.
· Bowl – To see the unedited, unrated version of the game, you have to log into their website.
·         Maaco Bowl Las Vegas – This wreck might need Maaco before it’s over.
·         Chick-fil-A Bowl – There is only one reason to watch this game.  We all want to see those cows parachuting onto the field during the 1st quarter of play.

I don’t think this is a case of “the old man can’t keep up with the changing times”.  I have plenty of those experiences, and for the most part, I recognize them when confronted.  This to me is a clear case of excess football money polluting the airwaves, infecting the gullible sports fan, and making us (me) sick.

Back to why I was sitting on the couch in the middle of the afternoon.  I got physically sick at work.  This represents the height of embarrassment in an office environment, on par with showing up in one’s pajamas or spilling hot coffee on the big presentation.  It is a humbling, humanizing experience that provides no learning lesson to the victim.  It’s just one smelly bucket of “Why me?”
There is something surreal about squatting on all floors in your place of employment, throwing up into your own trash can filled with discarded notes and outdated memoranda.  In a perfect world, vomiting should be confined to the privacy of your own home, or better yet, the out of doors behind a tree, where nature’s forces can effortlessly absorb the evidence back into the cycle of life.  Co-workers should never see this backside of you.  Offices are for serious matters of finance and compliance, not involuntarily odiferous bodily functions. 

We may often think about throwing up at work in the figurative sense, but the reality is something else altogether.  It is more unpleasant than an unanticipated business expense, a disgruntled employee, or an incompetent vendor.  Frankly, it stinks – figuratively and literally.
When you really need to vomit, the guttural sound that we humans can make is quite scary.  It is very much like the sound of an innocent man being transformed into a lycanthrope during a full moon.  Not like the uncomfortable morph as portrayed by Lon Chaney, Jr.  More like the painful metamorphosis of David Naughton in An American Werewolf in London, or Benicio Del Toro in the most recent film adaptation, The Wolfman.  It comes from a netherworld, a place rarely accessible to our voluntary selves.  The cleansing scream that expels everything within its wretch is short, violent, indiscriminant yet purposeful.   Some intruder must be expelled without regard to any collateral damage.  It was a pre-Christmas, everything must go extravaganza!  And believe me, everything went.

I will never know what caused the illness.  I have my singular theory.  It was a bad egg from that morning.  I can live with that, and my research into the cause ends there.  For my bride, however, the mystery continues unsolved.  She is the Columbo of Viruses, and the Encyclopedia Brown of Bacteria.  It is not enough to know that I am sick.  The source must be identified, marginalized, and snuffed out.  She will wipe, wash, wring, spray and otherwise overwhelm any invading germ or germs without regard for their feelings or right to existence.  When it comes to germs in the house, she is decidedly pro-choice.  I believe the Church allows for this exception.  Wasn’t it Jesus who first threw all of the viruses out of the temple in a fit of rage?  I believe he referred to the germs as vipers back then.

So that’s why I was home watching bowl game commercials, wallowing in misery and self-pity as only a man can do.  When I saw the ad for the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, I felt the same queasy sensation building up again.  Perhaps the endless parades of meaningless football games on television are the real virus, the drug of the nation.

Bowl season makes me sick, so I am reflexively drawn to my own personal Toto bowl once more.  Excess of anything, including college football, can do more harm than good.  That’s my Christmas message to all you kids out there.

Watch It’s a Wonderful Life instead with a bowl of popcorn.  And wash your hands til they bleed. 

BTW: TCU 31- Louisiana Tech 24

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