Times Square drops its big silver ball on New Year's Eve, but most of us still mark the relentless passing of time from school year to school year and September to September rather than from January to January and Guy Lombardo to Dick Clark.
The proper time for new year's resolutions is not a frigid Jan. 1 but those still warm, hopeful days after Labor Day, when the Cubs still might go to the World Series, Purdue still might go to the Rose Bowl and we all still think we really might do our homework each afternoon before "Gilligan's Island" and "Saved By the Bell."
With hopes as bright as a 64-color box of Crayolas, here is one aging student's new year's resolutions:
Now that Labor Day has passed, I will not wear white pants unless also wearing stirrup pants or hip pads.
One Friday evening, I will drive to my local high school, following the bright glow of the football stadium lights as if I were Balthazar tracking the star of Bethlehem. I will go to the concession stand and buy a red rope remaining from the 1983 DECA stockroom, then chew on it while watching the teams warm up and the two school bands play their fight songs -- both of which will be "On, Wisconsin."
One Saturday afternoon, I will wear my ragged college sweatshirt and listen to my alma mater's game while raking leaves into a pile large enough to hide a VW bug, then leap into the leaves as if I were Herschel Walker somersaulting into the endzone.
One Monday evening, I will watch Monday Night Football with friends at a sports bar with a bottomless pitcher of Red Hook IPA and a plate of nachos so high it looks like the model of Devils Tower that Richard Dreyfus built in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." We will think about asking the bartender to please turn the sound up so we can listen to Dennis Miller -- but we will eventually remain silent when we realize we are too drunk to understand his references to Louis the 14th's furniture style.
I will buy a round.
|I will root for Sammy Sosa and the Cubs to reach the World Series until they are officially eliminated.|
One afternoon during the thick of the pennant race, I will pay for the St. Louis Cardinals' webcast so that I can listen to Jack Buck before he retires and hear the familiar, soothing voice of a man who has used a microphone more effectively than anyone since Winston Churchill during the Blitz. I will listen to him describe the shadows creeping across the infield and Mark McGwire stepping into the batter's box with the game and the season on the line and feel a lump in my throat so large it will seem as if I swallowed a batting donut.
One Thursday evening, I will cut out the Pigskin Prognosticator form in the local paper and devote more hours toward filling it out than to my federal income tax return. I will photocopy my entry before submitting it, then carefully mark off each game's result as the weekend progresses. I will get 50 percent of the games correct and kick myself for not going with my gut feeling on the Green Bay-Baltimore game.
One Saturday morning, I will park on the other side of school from the stadium so that I can stroll across campus, passing my old dorm and classroom halls, reminiscing about the days when I was younger, more certain and more passionate about everything. I will mourn my lost youth but welcome the wisdom of age, best demonstrated by having just saved $10 on parking.
I will not stare at the college cheerleaders until my spouse goes to the bathroom.
|I will listen to Jack Buck describe Mark McGwire stepping into the batter's box.|
I will spend one afternoon pressing a transistor radio to my ear instead of a cell phone, while I listen to the Athletics play the Yankees in the first round of the postseason.
One Sunday, I will play a pickup football game in the park, and my college roommate and I will pretend to be Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. I will also bring a book to read so that I can better pass the time in the emergency room while waiting for my ankle to be X-rayed.
I will root for the Twins to reach the postseason until they are officially eliminated. I will root for the Cubs to reach the World Series until they are officially eliminated. I will root for the Mariners to reach the World Series and buy a ticket for my brother and father when they do. I will root against the Yankees at all times.
I will not curse when I watch the sportsticker for 20 minutes without once seeing the Boston College-Oklahoma score. At least not loud enough for the neighbors to hear.
One day in late November, I will join in "Shirts off for Kickoff!" -- standing bare-chested in weather cold enough to drive a Siberian Husky inside. I will sing the school fight song and the only pimples on my body will be from excitement, not the cold.
I will spend one entire Saturday lying on the couch, switching from baseball's playoffs to college football coverage so constantly that I'll develop carpal tunnel syndrome. I will not get up until the last game is over, or until I am so confused that I'm sure I hear Tim McCarver shouting, "Fummmmbbbblllle!!!" when Derek Jeter bobbles a grounder.
I will not push a co-worker down the elevator shaft when he drones on about how well his fantasy football team played over the weekend.
Well, on second thought, maybe that's one resolution I won't be able to keep.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
|I will not stare at the college cheerleaders until my spouse goes to the bathroom.||