* Fifteen years ago at this time, I was just a couple weeks into my first quarter of college at Wright State University. In the span of time between then and now, I've graduated from college (not WSU, though), been through five different jobs, moved countless times, including back to my hometown, ended two relationships, gotten married, adopted a cat, and bought a house. That's a pretty significant chunk of life right there.
That fall, fifteen years ago, I watched the Cincinnati Reds fall to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Last night I watched the Reds defeat the Houston Astros to clinch their first berth in the playoffs since then. It hasn't been easy to be a Reds fan these past fifteen years, but the exuberance of last night's victory makes it all worth it. Even the injury that comes along with it: in my postgame celebration I managed to slam my hand into the ceiling, and I've got a pretty painful set of bloody knuckles going on right now.
* As for the how the Reds will fare in the playoffs, well, it's anyone's guess. I'm not getting into the prediction business, not on this one. It's no secret that they haven't had a lot of success against the really good teams, the teams they'll be facing in the playoffs. That said, just the way this team is, I'm not counting them out of anything. Either way, I won't be terribly surprised. Of course I want them to go all the way to and win the World Series, but I'm not going to let myself be disappointed if that doesn't happen, even if they get swept out of the first round. This season has been so much fun already, and they've exceeded my expectations by winning the Central Division. Any success they have from here on out is just gravy.
I will say, though, that Joey Votto is pretty clearly the league MVP, and Dusty Baker should win the Manager of the Year award as well. I'd give Gold Gloves to Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, and Jay Bruce, although, in reality, I think only Phillips will win one.
* In addition to watching the playoffs, I've got a pretty busy month of October coming up. This Saturday is BGSU's homecoming, which Brandi and I are planning to attend. We'll be there for the football game and likely a night on the town in some of our old stomping grounds. Next week I'm scheduled for jury duty; I'll find out on Monday if I actually have to do it or not. I have mixed feelings about it - I hope I get to do it, but I also hope it doesn't take too long. That Friday is the Troy-Piqua football game, which is always a big deal around here. The first couple days of the following week I'll be traveling to Toledo for my monthly trip to the office (assuming I'm not still on jury duty, which would really screw things up). That weekend will be taken up with events surrounding my 15-year high school reunion. Then there's Halloween. I always enjoy handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, and I think Brandi and I are going to take up the mantle of hosting the annual Halloween party, a duty left to us by our friend Carly, the past hostess, when she absconded to Baltimore for grad school.
* For a fair portion of this summer, I was well on my way toward getting into the habit of walking and/or running a few times per week. Then I developed an injury in my lower left ankle area that I originally thought may be a stress fracture but that Brandi now thinks is some kind of tendon issue. Either way, the recommended treatment for either malady is rest. So I've been doing that for a couple of weeks now, and, along with some massages and the recent help of an ankle brace, the leg seems to be coming along nicely. It still twinges from time to time, but it's neither as constant nor as painful as it was before. That being the case, I'm seriously itching to get back on the horse, activity-wise. Part of it is because I was coming to enjoy the exercise, and I know that I need it, and part of it is just because this is the time of year that I want to be outside, like, all the time. But at the same time, I don't want to push it too soon and risk hurting it again. So I think I'm going to give it the rest of this week and see how it feels after that. I'll likely be on my feet quite a bit this weekend during our trip to Bowling Green, so if it feels pretty strong on Monday, I think I'll probably consider myself ready to at least start taking some long walks again.