Losing Connections


Yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve been without Internet for more than twelve hours. But it felt good. We came out to Vermillion, South Dakota on Friday to visit Erin’s grandfather (“Big Poppa Howard”) and then headed a few miles west of Vermillion to attend the big O’Connor family Christmas gathering.

Our hosts, Kelly and Kris, have a house on the shores of the Missouri River. They truly have a view to die for. The kids have cousins (a couple of times removed, but still, cousins) to play with, and there’s snow on the ground. We emerge from the woods and are met with wide-open fields. Fortunately, there’s no wind to blow the snow, which is prestine and flat.

It’s nearly a full moon tonight. Erin’s tried numerous times to show us what a truly dark sky is like, but we’ve been thwarted by the moon. Still, today there’s moon shadows in the fields, and total quiet.

I have work that needs to be done, but no way to work at it. And, honestly, I don’t mind. This is a day that we needed to take, disconnecting ourselves from the world.

I don’t usually follow football, but as seems to be the things with these gatherings, there’s football on the television, and people are gravitating towards it. As it’s Saturday, and the holiday season, we’re watching bowl games.

And, once again, I’m strangely personally offended by some of the football bowl games that are out there. It makes no sense. Why can’t American college football embark on a December madness, taking 64 seeded teams and whittling them down to a champion over the course of five weeks?

It’s a mess of bowls, ranging from classic divisional championships, historic rivalries, and a burst of bowls that appear to have been set up at the whim of advertisers. I kind of like the Pinstripe Bowl, which while pointless, is still neatly named because it takes place in Yankee Stadium. But now there’s the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. Why does it exist? Because there’s a restaurant out there called Buffalo Wild Wings with more money than sense and they’ve bought their own bowl name. Did the game exist before the Wild Wings restaurant sponsored it?

(Answer, yes, it did. It started in 1989 as the Copper Bowl before it became the Insight.com bowl. Buffalo Wild Wings recently took up the sponsorship duties.)

I know that you don’t need much of an excuse to watch sports, but at least college basketball makes things meaningful.

But, on the other hand, maybe all of these bowls just reduce things to brass tacks. Basically two teams meet, say, “hey, you wanna play?”, then they get a sponsor, and they’re on their way. Maybe that’s a more honest way of playing the game.

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