Sunday, September 9, 2012

Opening Day

Today, September 9, the NFL begins its football season in earnest.  Some interesting matchups and story lines. Randy Moss is back, now playing for the 49ers. Peyton Manning has a new team and will take his first snap for the Denver Broncos after a year on the sidelines.  The Saints high powered offense will see if it has been affected by the wounds of what has been called Bounty Gate, or will receive a boost because on Friday four players who had been suspended had that decision reversed.

The Raccoon Lodge is back in business. This is the team my brother and I have, named for the club Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton frequented in the great Honeymooner series. We pick games each week. In 2010-2011 the Raccoon Lodge won the league defeating all the imposters who thought they could pick better than we. Ha!  Last year in 11-12, the Raccoon Lodge showed its consistency by not winning a single week during the entire 17 week season.  We are, however, ready for today.

Fans throughout the country are itchy for professional football and have been ever since the Super Bowl game last February.  Many of these fans are donning their game day jerseys and beginning to watch the pre game shows even this early at 919 eastern time.  I wrote in the Madness of March that I have heard some people discuss the virtue of living on the west coast by identifying the singular advantage of left coasters being able to watch the eastern time 1 pm NFL games beginning at 10 a.m.  Seriously commenting that the morning wait for football is shorter.

I find myself not that juiced today for the start of the season.  I'm looking forward to watching the Patriots as I always am, and have planned my elliptical schedule to make sure I am on the machine and watching during the contest--thus making the workout less difficult.  However, I think I will skip the four pm games and the night one as well.  For some reason, very little interest.

A thought that has crept into my head this morning is a sobering one which puts into perspective the NFL season. I clearly remember a prior time when September 9th marked the first Sunday of the NFL season.  I recall that I had to work that day during the Patriots initial game as I had a gig running a workshop on Presentation Skills.  After the program, I went to a hotel bar nearby to catch the end of the games.  There was a fellow at the bar who I will never forget. He was sitting there ostensibly watching the games, but when I asked him even the simplest question to find out what had happened in one game or another, he smiled--a mixture of amused and cryptic. And then I heard him take a cell phone call during which he asked if "we were all set in Chicago."

I'll never know whether I am reading anything into that fellow at the bar or not.  I do remember what happened two days later as everyone who was conscious in this country will never forget.   A brilliant Tuesday became a date on which our world pivoted when planes taking off from Boston never reached their destinations. Every person who lives around here knows someone who was murdered that day.   The people who perpetrated that outrageous crime belong in the same hell as Eichmann and other myopic self serving subhumans.  Brains conveniently short circuited to conceive, plan, and execute abominations.

It puts a damper on the day to recall the prior September 9th, opening day.  Every day, I guess is an opening day.  A new opportunity to embark on a course that is healthy for us and others.  Jimmy Durante said you gotta start off each day with a smile.  Not a bad idea.  Probably it is as wise or wiser to start off each day with a genuine acknowledgment of the power and importance of love.  If we only have love--not self serving hate--we can melt all the guns, and give the new world to our daughters and sons. If we only have love, than tomorrow will dawn and the days of our years will rise on that morn.

And, oh yeah. Go Patriots.

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