This past Saturday evening, I received an unexpected Christmas gift. We had just been hit by a record breaking snowstorm, I had cleaned the house, I had done the laundry, I had shoveled twice and it was still snowing, roads not cleared. I’m snowbound. My body and back is sore, I feel old, I need my couch and the TV remote. Time to go channel surfing. And some of you thought this blog was going to be about being stranded in a slope side skiing cabin with a snowboard. Ain’t happenin’ – 1. I don’t snowboard. If and when I attempt to ski, it’s with two sticks on my feet. 2. I don’t like cabins. 3. I don’t like cold weather. No, this is about hunkering down after a long day and being pleasantly surprised with sports entertainment on the tube.
Ok, lets surf. News – no, sick of snow reports, weather channel – no, sick of snow reports, holiday specials – no, it’s all fake snow. Bang, ESPN, Wyoming vs. Fresno State, it’s the 4th quarter, Wyoming has the ball, they are down by less than a touchdown and driving. The teams are actually playing…….and hard……there goes my “bag the bowls” theory. Next thing I know it’s 2 OT’s, Wyoming wins, fans go nuts. Very cool. It’s still snowing, time to channel surf again and here comes the Xmas present.
Another football game, in the snow, tape delay from earlier in the day. It is the Pennsylvania PIAA Class 4A State Championship game from Hershey, PA. LaSalle Explorers vs. State College Little Lions, 6″ of snow on the field and it was still coming. It is 3 – 0, LaSalle. Yes, they kicked a field goal in a blizzard. These kids could play. If I could have combined the two teams into one, they would have beaten the Terps this year. It was snowball at it’s best and these kids were playing for what seemed like gold buried treasure, leaving it all on the field. The sizes and athletic talent of these kids was astounding. We’re talking 6′-3″ 225, 6′-0″ 210, 5″10″ 185 and one kid on State College 6′-8″ 275 and not an ounce of fat on him. One kid ran the 100 yard dash in like 9.4 (not today though). They were throwing the ball and catching it, blocking, sweeping, tackling, running, in the blizzard…………and it was good! Then it got better.
LaSalle is up 10-0. Penalty flag. The crowd goes nuts. Obviously, the microphones were on the LaSalle side – “You S### Ref, You’re killing us ref, Are you “Snowblind” – (Black Sabbath), That was a S#### call ref.” Heard it loud and clear over the tube. It was beautiful! The announcers get into it – “That’s the 5th penalty on LaSalle and 0 on State College. The fans seem a little upset. Good contingent of fans here for LaSalle.” They are playing in a blizzard, there’s a foul every play. Apparently the game was not going in favor of the refs. Back and forththey go. While play is on one end of the field, they are shoveling off the yardage lines on the other end. Heck, the High School Athletic Director for the State of Pennsylvania is helping shovel with his 5 year old granddaughter in tow. Nice touch.
Then just before half, LaSalle running back breaks one, 54 yards – TD! 17-0 LaSalle rolling….wait a minute…..wait a minute….FLAG…..holding – LaSalle- neg on awesome TD run. The crowd erupts, this time with slightly even stronger opinions. It was beautiful. LaSalle eventually scored. Halftime score - LaSalle 17 State College 0. Halftime penalties – LaSalle 6 State College 1. Second half State College goes 60 yards on opening drive, only to have one of LaSalles 6′-3″ 235lb. linebackers knock the ball loose while being blocked by a 6′-0″ 250 lb. lineman. The linebacker then recovers the ball in the 8″ of snow, hands the ball to the ref, then himself signals first down LaSalle ball. It was that kind of passion on both teams throughout this game. The penalties settled down and the game ended up LaSalle 24 State College 7. It was a closer game than the score reflects.
It’s now 9:30 -10:00pm and my aching body has molded itself to the couch. I sit up and simply say, WOW – did I just get lucky or what? I ended a long ”homeowners special” day, by witnessing parts of two awesome football games - by chance - surfing the tube - while snowbound. Hope you all get that lucky (it’s the small things). Merry White Christmas, gang. PEACE.