Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Few Dashed-Off Thoughts Before Thanksgiving Weekend

My mother thinks football on Thanksgiving is wrong, because players could get hurt, and have to spend the rest of the holiday in the hospital.

She has a point. Look at what the game is doing to its players -- without whom, there is no game.

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It occurred to me that one of the differences between New York and Boston is how each city treats its marathon race.

When Boston holds its marathon, it has to reschedule a Red Sox game, so the traffic for it doesn't affect the marathon. New York holds its marathon after the World Series, so that it can never clash with a baseball game.

Boston built a statue of one of its Marathon winners. In New York, the Marathon is always on a Sunday in Autumn, and we forget who won it within hours, as we move on to watching the Giants win and the Jets lose.

A bombing at the Boston Marathon killed 3 people, and the next year's marathon became a cause célèbre. Which is understandable. But a hurricane kills over 100 people in the New York Tri-State Area alone, and the marathon is canceled, and 4 years later, we have to be reminded that this effect of the hurricane even happened.

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Bob Gain died last week, at the age of 87. He was a member of the only University of Kentucky football team to win the Southeastern Conference title outright, in 1950, the 1st SEC title won as a head coach by Paul "Bear" Bryant, before moving on to Alabama. Kentucky would also win a share of the SEC title in 1976.

Gain was a defensive tackle, playing the 1951 season with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, and then the next 13 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, reaching the NFL Championship Game in 1952, '53, '54, '55, '57 and '64, winning it in 1954, 1955 and 1964.

He was a 5-time All-Pro, and a member of the College Football, Cleveland Sports and West Virginia Sports Halls of Fame -- but not, as yet, the Pro Football  Hall of Fame. He had also served in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War.

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Tomorrow morning, Dear Old Alma Mater, East Brunswick High School, the Big Green, Da Bears, plays its annual Thanksgiving "Battle of Route 18" against. Old Bridge, the Purple Bastards, The Scum.

We're 2-7. But it wouldn't matter: In 2004 and 2009, we qualified for the Central Jersey Group IV Final (and ended up winning the weekend after Thanksgiving), and still lost to them. We beat them in 2005 and 2010 -- but only those 2 times since 1994.

2016 has been a horrible year for many reasons. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to give thanks for a tremendous upset?

UPDATE: No such luck.

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Hours until The Arsenal play again: 6, this afternoon at 2:45 (this evening at 7:45, their time), at the Emirates Stadium, in a Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

Hours until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 25, tomorrow morning at 10:00, at the purple shit pit on Route 9.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: See the previous answer.

Days until Rutgers University plays football again: 3, this Saturday night at 7:00, away to the University of Maryland at College Park. One of these 2 new teams that made the geographic and competitive mistake of joining the Big Ten has to win, right?

Days until the New Jersey Devils play another local rival: 18. Their 1st game this season with the New York Rangers will be on Sunday night, December 11, at Madison Square Garden. Their 1st game this season with the Philadelphia Flyers will be on Thursday night, December 22, at the Prudential Center. By a quirk in the schedule, the New York Islanders, a team they usually play several times a season, don't show up on the slate until Saturday night, February 18, 2017, at the Prudential Center.

Days until the New York Red Bulls play again: Unknown, but if schedule patterns hold, it will be on Sunday, March 5, 2017, which is 102 days from now.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": Unknown. We may not see the 2017 MLS schedule for weeks, so we don't know when we'll next play New York City FC, the Philadelphia Union, D.C. United or the New England Revolution.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 121, on Friday, March 24, 2017, home to Honduras, at a venue and time TBA, in a CONCACAF Qualifying Match for the 2018 World Cup. It will be the team's 1st match in the 2nd run as manager for Bruce Arena, now that Jurgen Klinsmann has finally been fired! Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty -- and U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati -- we're free at last! But is it too late to qualify for the World Cup?

Days until the Yankees' 2017 season opener: 130, on Sunday, April 2, at 8:00 PM, away to the Tampa Bay Rays. A little over 5 months.

Days until the Yankees' 2017 home opener: 138, on Monday, April 10, at 1:00 PM, home to the Rays.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series: 153, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at 7:00 PM, at Fenway Park.

Days until the next North London Derby: 157, on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at White Hart Lane. A little over 5 months. It could be moved to the next day, Sunday, April 30, to accommodate the TV networks. It is also possible that Arsenal could face Tottenham again sooner than that, through an FA Cup pairing.

Days until the next World Cup kicks off in Russia: 568, on June 14, 2018. Under 19 months. Now that Klinsmann has been fired, our chances have improved, but did he already ruin them?

Days until the 2018 Congressional election: 713. Just under 2 years, or 24 months.

Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Mariano Rivera: 789, on January 9, 2019. A little over 2 years, or 25 months.

Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Derek Jeter: 1,141, on January 8, 2020. A little over 3 years, or 37 months.

Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 1,339, on July 24, 2020. Under 4 years, or 44 months.

Days until the 2020 Presidential election: 1,472. Just under 4 years, or 48 months.

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