A nice, long weekend was exactly what we needed just four days after the girls went back to school. That was an intense four days!
I kid. I’m fully supportive of the MLK Day holiday. It just feels oddly timed after our late holiday break. And our girls are going to miss a few days of school next week so January is going to be a very quick month. Academically at least.
We packed some stuff into our long weekend. There was a volleyball practice and a basketball game. I’ll share more about the hoops in a different post. M had a friend over on Sunday to hang out, eat dinner with us, and then sleep over. It was one of those random get togethers where M actually got invited to go to her friend’s house, but since we were headed to basketball, we offered to take her. Then we offered to take her to dinner. And then, when we sat down for dinner, they looked at us with bright eyes and asked, “Can we have a sleepover?!?!” All the rules go out the window on three-day weekends!
Saturday night we watched our nearly three-month old nephew so his parents could enjoy a night out and then a night of uninterrupted sleep. Little R isn’t known for his sleeping prowess quite yet. He was born four weeks early and has been fighting some reflux issues, so he’s been sleeping a solid 2.5–3 hours at a stretch. As happy as I was to give his parents a night out, I’m not going to lie and say I was looking forward to getting up every couple hours. Especially since I’m not in practice with that. But the night went well. The biggest problem was that I couldn’t go back to sleep for close to an hour after both of his middle-of-the-night feeds. Maddening!
Ah, but the biggest highlight of the weekend was some tremendous professional American football on Sunday. I did not get to see every minute of the two games, but I saw all the best minutes.
Before we get to the games, I need to address a point some of you may have thought of: what are my feelings about the Dallas Cowboys? After all, they were my first favorite sports team ever. I was a fan from 1977-ish up to the mid–2000s. That’s when there was the perfect combination of me getting sick of Jerry Jones’ seemingly being more concerned with expanding the Brand than improving the team, and my living in the city where Peyton Manning was hitting his prime. Would I jump back on the Cowboys bandwagon now that they’re good again?
I loathe the Cowboys. While I can enjoy watching this year’s team play from a purely aesthetic point of view, I have not wanted them to win any of their games I have watched. So I was firmly in Green Bay’s camp on Sunday. Quite the switch from the early 90s when I was rooting for the Aikmans against the Favres.
So to the game. I saw all of the first quarter. Although I picked the Cowboys to win this game, I wondered if the more experienced Packers might not come out hot while the Cowboys might feel some nerves after the week off. I didn’t expect the Packers to jump all over Dallas early like that, though. In a game that will become an integral part of his Hall of Fame resume, Aaron Rodgers was just brilliant in the first quarter.
We left for dinner and I missed the next two-plus quarters of the game. I kept checking the score, though, and saw Dallas slowly work their way back into the game. By the time I was home and in front of the TV again, it was late in the fourth quarter and the game was tied. I made it just in time for one of the more brilliant closing sequences in recent NFL playoff history. Ultimately the game was about Rodgers and Mason Crosby. Crosby’s two – well three – field goals in the closing sequence were obviously the difference. But Rodgers somehow hanging onto the ball when he was sacked on the Packers’ final drive was unbelievable. It defied logic and physics. And then, seconds later, his brilliant rollout and pass to Jared Cook was an all-time great play.
For a neutral to mostly neutral fan, that was a fantastic game.
Then onto Kansas City for the nightcap. Ya’ll know I don’t like the Chiefs, but I’m not a Steelers fan, either. So I just kind of sat back and watched it. And figured it would turn out pretty much the way it did. Because even though I’m not a Chiefs fan, I’ve watched them flame out in the most maddening way possible in January many, many times. I expected that the game would be close into the closing seconds and some kind of soul-crushing play would give Pittsburgh the win. Not sure I expected that soul-crushing play to be a holding call on a two-point conversion attempt, but the Chiefs are always finding new and interesting ways to torture their fans. The game reminded me a lot of the Colts-Ravens game back in 2007, when the Colts couldn’t get in the end zone but kicked five field goals to win. That was the Colts’ Super Bowl title team – that beat New England in the AFC title game – so maybe that means something for Pittsburgh. Then again, the Colts got to play at home while the Steelers go to Foxborough. Good luck with that.
One funny thing about the Chiefs-Steelers game was that M’s friend who was sleeping over comes from a Steelers family. So I told her that while I was from Kansas City, I was not rooting for the Chiefs. That got the girls asking questions.
“Why don’t you like the Chiefs? That’s weird.”
“Because they stunk when I moved to Kansas City and I was already a Cowboys fan.”
“Are your friends Chiefs fans?”
“Yes, most of them are.”
“Do you know anyone who is at the game?”
“Don’t you want the Chiefs to win so they’re happy?”
“Well, I don’t want the Chiefs to win, but if they do win I’ll be happy that my friends are happy.”
“If the Chiefs lose will you tease your friends about it?”
“No, that wouldn’t be nice.”
The Saturday games sucked, so no need to discuss them.
Now we’re down to Green Bay and Atlanta, Pittsburgh and New England. I think the home teams are the better all-around squads. Plus, it’s tough to pick against New England at home in January. But the two road teams have that magical feeling that makes this time of year fun.