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Tuesday 17th Oct 2017

For a couple of months a group of friends have all planned around this weekend, as our friends Steve and Lisa Chattler were coming up from their home in Seal Beach, California to spend Saturday, before driving up to the University of the Pacific Sunday to watch their daughter, Andrea, play the vibes in a school concert.

Steve and Lisa are part of my music community. Many of us meet in the summer at performing arts camp at Cazadero where we play guitars and learn harmonica and banjo and ukelele, or how to sing, or partner up in bands and pretty much spend a week in the woods hanging out. The community extends to my guitar teacher, Steve Gibson and essentially most of my close friends not associated with the baseball world (which is another wonderful community in and of itself).

Aside from the fact that Steve is a sweet guy, and a terrific drummer, he loves to watch football, and well, among the core of the music community, sports are not so much of a foci. But, Steve and I talk every Sunday during the football season at some point. Last year, when I flew Jet Blue to Chicago to visit Diane, I had a two hour layover in Long Beach and Steve picked me up and I had a bagel with Lisa and him rather than kill two hours at the airport.

When he dropped me off, Steve handed me a piece of paper that listed all the scheduled games I would be able to watch on the Jet Blue Direct TV over the four hours my plane would be winging its way to O'Hare.

I was sorry that Steve and Lisa could not hang Sunday, for that is the big NFL day as we all know, but, when Lisa dropped him off at our house around noon, we turned on the West Virginia and Miami watched till halftime, at which point we retreated to the music room and played tunes for a couple of hours.

To tell the truth, I was a tad disgruntled prior to the jam session, as I wanted to watch the Cal/Stanford game, known in these circles as "The Big Game."

I knew Stanford was Top 10 ranked, but, well, strange things happen when Cal and Stanford mix it up, and I am proud of my Berkeley hippie roots, just as I like it when Cal does well (Stanford too, for that matter). For, I like to show that just because we are smart, does not mean we are wimps in the Bay Area.

Unfortunately, the game was not on local TV, so I had to make do with watching West Virginia, then playing music (as soon as we started playing, I forgot about the Big Game).

Steve and I played for an hour and a half or so, then took a break, and flipped West Virginia back on. At which point the score tracker at the bottom of the screen noted that Stanford was killing Cal, 48-7.  Which, pretty much instantly removed my desire to watch any of the game.

In fact, we went back into the music room and played for another hour or so, until the Oregon State/USC game started up at 5 PM, Pacific Time.

In the end, it really did not matter what game we watched. Nor did it matter that Stanford won, nor Virginia Tech, nor even Oregon State.

It was just good to have my friend, whom I do not get to see that often, over and hanging. In the end, that is what matters most.


0 #1 Todd Zola 2010-11-21 14:47
Touche Lawr, touche.

I spend a handful of my fall Saturday afternoons at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, MA, watching the Boston College football games. I am not a big college football fan nor I am a die-hard BC rooter, though I did attend grad school there and had a part-time gig tutoring the Athletic Department, including the football team in the Tom Coughlin era. When they win I smile, when they lose I shrug, then I turn my attention to my fantasy football team.

But I go because it affords me the chance to get outside and hang with a great group of guys. The tailgate is composed of a bunch of buds from BC that graduated in the early '90s. I hooked up with them through my friend Rick's then girlfriend, now wife Leslie, who entered BC Grad school when I did. I on;y mention this because it was Rick who uttered the now fateful words, "Hey Toddo, have you ever heard of fantasy baseball? I'm in a league and could use a co-manager."

Anyway, the last game of the season is historically sparsely attended, as inclement weather or a meaningless game tempers enthusiasm. But yesterday's forecast was for a warmer than usual day and a win would make BC bowl-eligible. When the weekly tailgate round-up e-mail was circulated, a couple of the guys mentioned that they were even considering bringing their kids. Then it became well, if you are bringing yours, I'll bring mine too.

So an already fun day for me became that much more special as I got to see their kids get along just as well as their daddies and mommies.

BC won the game. But as one the guys noted to me on the ride home, neither at the pre- or post-game tailgate did anyone talk of the team.

I thought of the kids all playing touch football together, with the dads and thought to myself, "yes, they did."

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