It’s raining. Like, Biblically. I’m not sure when it started. I know it had already started when I was on my way to work this morning. It was raining at lunch when I walked outside. It was raining as I drove across town to meet my family for dinner. It was raining hard as we left the restaurant. As we drove to my mother’s to visit following dinner. As we drove home. And now, 16 hours later, it is still raining as my wife slowly invades my side of the bed. This is no Shermanesque land grab, mind you. No raping, pillaging, burning. This is measured and methodical, but make no mistake. If I don’t hurry the hell up with this post, I’ll be finishing with one cheek on the precipice of disaster.
It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow as well. Little Rock is closing in on 70” of rain, and 2009 is already on record as the 7th Wettest Year on Record. And we’re not even to November.
So Stephanie and I will take off for Fayetteville tomorrow. In the rain. Because Saturday is homecoming for the University of Arkansas. The Razorbacks are playing Eastern Michigan University. On Halloween. In the cold. After a flood.
We are SO there.
That’s where the Eastern Michigan University Eagles are from. Yes, that’s right. The EMU Eagles from Ypsilanti. If this football team were a child, you’d wonder why its parents hated it so much. That’s a rhetorical question, of course, but if one were looking for an answer, it might be “because it’s so very bad at football.”
Last week, the EMU Eagles from Ypsilanti went off in search of their first victory of the season. They were playing the Cardinals of Ball State, also winless on the season. Rynearson Stadium’s very own version of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. Try as they might to avoid it, one of these teams would leave the field a winner.
Through sheer determination, the EMU Eagles of Ypsilanti got it done. It’s not easy to lose a game in which your opponent gains ONE SOLITARY PASSING YARD, but Eastern Michigan was not to be denied. They willed themselves to ineptitude, surrendering a 14-point 2nd quarter lead to lose a 29-27 decision.
All of these ingredients together seem to be the recipe for a game played with an intensity level on par with the sun’s as of late. A routine cupcake victory, lots of points for the Hogs, few or even zero points for the Eagles. Very few exciting moments after halftime, and perhaps even fewer spectators in the stands to witness them. The Razorbacks will not have to work hard to blow out EMU, and the EMU Eagles of Ypsilanti will not have to work nearly as hard as last week to maintain their own brand of perfection.
So, why go?
It’s Halloween, and Stephanie and I both have nieces and nephews we’d like to see dressed up. I have candy I’d like to be stingy with so I can eat it later myself. Plus, the game is televised. In HD, for that matter. And it’s not like Homecoming is a big draw. Neither one of us are alumni.
We go because that’s our thing. At the very least, it’s my thing that Stephanie goes along with so I can pretend it’s our thing. Even meaningless games against scrub teams in seasons where our best hope is a mid-tier bowl. We go because it’s something to look forward to the entire week. I wrote about it a couple of months ago, and it really is true. The drive up to Fayetteville for a football game is a really special experience for me. I look forward to it all week. If I knew that there was a game being played this weekend and people were going and I could go but instead was choosing voluntarily to do something else? That would seriously mess with my head.
I watched Game 1 of the World Series last night. Cliff Lee, pride of Saline County, was magnificent in Yankee Stadium, helping the Phillies capture the first game of the series. As I was watching, I thought back to our trip to Yankee Stadium a couple of months ago, and it was really cool to see a place that we had recently been to on such a grand stage. At the same time, however, I took notice that for all of the drama and fanfare that Game 1 brought, it still held my interest far more poorly than the certain blowout against the hapless Eagles will this Saturday. Even as I watched the World Series, my anticipation for the blowout victory against the weakling on Halloween was growing.
Why do we go? Because, in a few short months, the only thing to anticipate watching on Saturday, while watching a baseball game on a Wednesday… will be another baseball game. But for now, we’re still clinging to October, and football is plentiful.
Stephanie has finished her March to the Edge of the Bed, causing me to flee downstairs in her wake. Our cat just joined me. It’s 11:43. I’ve been up for 17 hours.
And it’s still raining.