Today after I finished some work, I turned on the television to watch the football game in which my undergraduate alma mater, the University of Arkansas, played the number 2 team in the country, the Auburn Tigers, in a game of football.
I set my inward expectation dial suitably low, as Arkansas suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of number 1 USC in the first game of the season. Two weeks ago I exulted in a narrow overtime win by Arkansas over an Alabama team much lesser than that which emanated from Auburn, Alabama. That particular game featured a great deal of excitement, but also a good bit of flawed play.
To my surprise and delight, Arkansas played a well-coached and energetic game, achieving a victory by the score of 27 points to 10. During the past two seasons, Arkansas football suffered through fairly ignominious humiliations. This year, it appeared the team might once again do poorly, as the off-season change of importing a new coach for the offense appeared that it might possibly be window-dressing, even though this coach brought with him the freshman star who had guided a state championship team. The new offensive coach proved his mettle today, though, instituting a game plan which utilized the two star Razorback running backs, while permitting the very young quarterback to throw high-percentage passes in safe situations.
Arkansas football often rewards its loyalists with lots of exciting moments and heart. I like to think that we who emanate from one of the three states I am apt to call "home" play our lives with a little more heart than perhaps some regions more capable at playing their particular life-games with talent. Still, all too often, we are left with "wait until next year". My childhood featured the 1969 "Big Shootout Number 1", in which Number 1 arch-rival Texas defeated No. 2 Arkansas by 15 to 14, after Arkansas led most of the game, and outplayed Texas until the final two series. We experienced the sublime thrill of the near-miss, although the chief reward for Texas proved to be getting a telephone call from Richard M. Nixon. Gloria in excelsis indeed.
We know about bridesmaids in Arkansas, and we are apt to kiss our dreams of championship a fond goodbye more often than the cousins we seem to be kissing in the myth. As an aside, I grew up in Clark County, a place whose social calendar is dominated by the Clark/Wingfield reunion. My family lacked Clark blood and Wingfield blood, unlike the cast of thousands who attended this reunion each year. I remember in my teen years those Arkandelphia Wingfield girls were incredibly cute when they performed in the local Follies talent show used as fund-raiser in our environs. I performed in that talent show--once dressed as a bear along with my siblings singing "Bare Necessities" and once wearing overalls adn one of my dad's Civil War swords, singing "Jubilation T. Cornpone". I brought down the house when the sword clanged as I strutted against the microphone stand. I am not a Clark, a Wingfield, nor a Sinatra, when it all shakes out.
My dog Bea perhaps lacks the understanding of the game to appreciate its finer points. She spent much of the game fetching tennis balls I tossed for her while I viewed the television. When my favored team would score or make a fine defensive stand, I tended to jump from my chair and hop about, remarking in a tone of encouraging exhortation. To a dog, this makes very little sense.
When the game ended, and the sportscasters bid us adieu from Auburn, Alabama, to go to the Florida/LSU game, I went for a walk. I went to the Spring Creek Trail in Richardson, a riparian trail through deep woods. I put on my Orvis hat and took my 19.99 digital camera.
Here is what I looked like in chapeau, or at least what I looked like after playing around with hue and texture effects:
I deeply enjoyed my walk. Here is what I looked like as I hiked this trail:
The trail, never too crowded, was only partially tenanted, as most folks were diverted by the main social event in the Dallas calendar, the epic meeting at the State Fair of Texas of the football team from the University of Texas, termed "longhorns" and the football team from the University of Oklahoma, termed "Sooners", an expression derived from the government sponsored invasion of Indian-territory by homesteaders around the turn of the 20th Century, who took from the native peoples who had been exiled there much of the arable farmland (missing, by coincidence, the mineral-rich oil lands, creating, accidentally, but thankfully, modest fortunes for some exiled and now crowded-out peoples, but that is another story). That football game, while ruining virtually an entire fair day, keeps the streets safe from fans.
I stopped by this huge computer store called Micro Center on my way home. I bought some five dollar software to use in my day to day computing, featuring some 1, 500 fonts and chess and a game called Bejeweled. I also bought a very inexpensive marketing plan template to put flesh on my current Creative Commons marketing project.
My wife, who spent her day doing restful things involving experiencing massage and pedicure, met up with me to go to the restaurant for dinner with my brother and his wife. My salmon,served with dry salad and dry baked potato, was divine. My sister-in-law and my nephew spent the Fall school break doing construction work in the impoverished colonias areas of the portion of Mexico just south of the border. Her stories about their trip held my interest. We then adjourned to their home, for a game of Apples and Apples, a really fun card game involving a principle similar to the "one of these things is not like the other" song that is one of my favorite Sesame Street songs. My nephew and I made plans to go hiking next weekend.
Our evening left early, and we came home. This proved to be a day in which I got work done, relaxed, had fun, and learned new things. Sadly, though, my on-line chess continues to frustrate, slightly.