Thursday, August 05, 2004

So Close It Hurts

After yesterday's epic rant, I promise that today this blog will be a politics-free zone. I'm sure I'll get to it again at some point, and probably sooner than later, but today I'm offering a break. For you and for myself.

I just got back from my lunch break a few minutes ago, and I had a hard time dragging myself back into the office. I would have been content to stay in my car in the parking lot for the rest of the afternoon, grooving to music and enjoying the day. It's awesome out there right now. It's mostly sunny and 72°, with a pretty good breeze going. It feels, in fact, just about right for the beginning of high school football.

I know I talk about my obsession with high school football a lot, but on days like this I can't help it. There's a certain feeling in the air that just about prevents me from thinking about anything else. I'd love to be in the stands of Troy Memorial Stadium right now, just soaking up the atmosphere. It's a magical place for me. I've spent a lot of time there, and have a lot of good memories.

When there's a day like this that brings football so strongly into my mind, the feelings that come with it are always associated with the season of 1993. As school and football started up, I had recently turned 16 and gotten my driver's license. I was driving around in my first car, a light blue 1989 Dodge Omni (which I wrecked into a tree a few months later, which is another story for another day). The car didn't have air conditioning, so I always had the windows down, which was a pleasure on days like this.

It also didn't have a tape deck, so I generally just kept the radio tuned to the local pop/rock station (Z-93 in Dayton) and listened to whatever they decided to play. I still have a fondness for the songs that were popular then, as they also can inspire these same feelings for me. Here are some songs I remember hearing a lot back in those days, off the top of my head:

"Looking Through Patient Eyes" - P.M. Dawn
"I'd Die Without You" - P.M. Dawn
"The Ways of the Wind" - P.M. Dawn
"If I Had No Loot" - Tony! Toni! Tone!
"I'd Do Anything For Love" - Meat Loaf
"Angel" - Jon Secada
"Boom! Shake the Room" - D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
"Dreamlover" - Mariah Carey
"Insane in the Brain" - Cypress Hill
"Two Steps Behind" - Def Leppard
"All About Soul" - Billy Joel
"Hey Jealousy" - Gin Blossoms

I'm sure I could come up with more if I really thought about it or looked into it, but those are the ones that come to mind right away. Hearing one of these songs, even now, is a treat. I actually still listen a lot to that P.M. Dawn CD during football season. It's not typical football music by any means, but it puts me in the right frame of mind.

I was a junior in high school then. I would generally get home on Friday afternoons and hang my Trojans flag out my window, and then drive over to Little Caesar's to bring home some pizza for dinner with my parents. After I ate I'd head over to the stadium to meet up with some friends and watch the game. That was quite an interesting time for me socially.

Days like today really bring this stuff back to me and put me in that mindset. It's an incredible feeling. This is part of why I'm so stoked each year for football season to arrive, so I can lose myself in that feeling for at least ten full weeks. As much I love sports in general, no other sport sparks this same intensity of emotion in me, and that's why I pine for football season all year long.

Twenty-two days and counting!

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