Hot. Hot. Hot. (tf)

You can tell fall is almost here because football players are dropping like flies on the practice field from heat stroke. Ironic, no? Won’t be long now before drunk fat guys from Chicago and Green Bay will be painting their faces and not wearing much-needed shirts as the temps drop to single digits. You gotta love football. Nothing is better suited to chase away the wretched summer blues.

NFL pre-season games start next week. Meaningless games really….but hard not to watch, at least to see what huge star will get maimed and be out for the season on some freak hit by a savage 4th string rookie linebacker who’ll be spending his winter stocking shelves no matter how well he plays. Pre-Season games are even worse than the Pro-Bowl, and you don’t get much worse than that. But still, it’s football, with its promise of weekends on the couch and waffling by Brett Favre, perhaps the most blatant¬†narcissistic personality even born to a woman. And certainly the one with the strongest arm.

I actually prefer college football. Every Saturday night I have a date with large pillows and Brent Musburger. But college games don’t start until the end of August.

This heat is infernal. When sitting makes you sweat through your shirt, something is drastically wrong.

This is the time of year I start glancing at baseball….mostly because I migrate to the basement where it’s cooler, and the TV is next to the fan. I noticed the Pirates…the Pirates, were actually in first place a little over a week ago. Then they lost a 19 inning game to Atlanta on a ghastly blown call at the plate, and ever since have been playing like drunken zombies….losing 6 or 7 in a row…..mostly by lopsided scores. You know….like the Pirates. It was fun while it lasted. For a time Pirate home games didn’t look like wakes for unpopular relatives. But as least Pittsburgh still has its beloved Steelers. A married Ben Roethlisberger is now at the helm, so at least local college co-eds can rest easier when they head to the ladies room.

And more irony. Baseball will end in late October, with the players wearing skull caps and hand warmers. Which reminds me of 1979, the last time the Pirates played in the world series. Some of the player’s wives showed their enthusiasm by blowing whistles in the stands….and one froze to the bottom lip of the center fielder’s wife. No wonder the Pirates take summers off.

But that’s a long way off. The heat of this summer continues to hover, like Mitt Romney does every 4 years. The words “debt ceiling”, which a week ago were on everybody’s lips, have now been assigned to the future Jeopardy answer file. How quickly we move on from near world-wide financial catastrophe. Maybe that’s ’cause of football too. Or perhaps it’s the guilty pleasure of “Shark Week”, where we all gather with the Discovery Channel to hear mangled survivors talk about nearly getting swallowed whole by large fish. I’ll admit I’m a huge “Shark Week” fan despite the goofiness of shows promoting the fact that Sharks don’t generally eat people by lining up poor wretches who have been partially eaten by Sharks. It seems self-defeating. But it makes for dumb TV at it’s finest….and has quickly turned into a cultural marvel. So what if you’re more likely to be devoured by a pack of rabid bees than eaten by a shark? Dramatic re-enactments of somebody getting eaten by bees would look stupid. But a good computer generated underwater camera shot of a shark with someone’s leg in his mouth? Now that’s entertainment.

But all this fun must end. Summer must burn itself out. The leaves will start to turn. Weekends will take on added significance. We will get into more debt. Brett Favre may or may not return. And the Pirates will finish in last place.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on August 3, 2011.

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