It felt like I mostly sat on my ass watching sports this weekend. Turns out a lot went on. Here are some details.
M snagged a ticket at the last minute to the Indy high school game of the year: 5A #1 Cathedral vs 6A #1 Center Grove. Both teams were undefeated, had rolled through their first eight games pretty much unchallenged, and were ranked in the top 25 of the USA Today national poll. They were also ranked 1–2 in the all-class Indiana computer poll, with a large gap between CHS and the #3 team.
I figured CG would win fairly easily. Although CHS had played a tougher schedule, CG is much more physically impressive. They have 6’8” and 6’6” kids on the offensive line. Their quarterback is just a junior and has offers from most of the Big 10. They have a d-lineman committed to Minnesota and a d-end who has offers from Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and pretty much every other major school. Their running back is an absolute horse who would likely be challenging career rushing records had he not missed almost his entire junior year because of injuries. CHS has a receiver who is going to Louisville…to play baseball. Their best running back is going to Columbia. Most of their other good seniors will go to D2 or D3 schools. Very good players, but without the ceilings of CG’s best.
Oh, and CHS won a very physical, nasty game 14–9 last year. So CG was motivated.
CHS punted on their first possession then CG scored without much effort. My prediction seemed solid. But CHS’ defense righted themselves and the rest of the first half was very even. CHS got two big completions and scored a touchdown in the second quarter to go into the break down just 10–6.
Then they controlled the third quarter, forcing multiple CG punts. They caught a huge break late in the period when they got an interception and ran it back 73 yards for a touchdown. Suddenly they were up 13–10 and controlling the game on D.
The fourth quarter was a series of traded punts. CG, who has arguably the best kicker in the state, put a 30-yard field goal off the crossbar to miss a chance to tie with about 4:00 left. The radio announcers started doing the math: three first downs and CHS would escape with a huge win. They got the first two, CG burned all their time outs, and the game came down to a fourth and one just past midfield.
CHS got too cute. Instead of giving it to their running back, who was having a good series, or letting the quarterback take it and make something happen, they handed it to a receiver on a sweep and he was stopped for a loss. The decision made some sense because CHS had not punted well all night, plus CG would have brought heavy pressure. With the way the CHS defense was playing, it was a reasonable risk.
CG had a minute to go 54 yards. They needed just 44 of those seconds, scoring on a touchdown pass with 0:16 left. CHS couldn’t do anything on the final three plays of the game and lost a terrific game 17–13.
CHS has to feel disappointed about the final outcome, but great about hanging with CG, something no team in the state did for more than 30 minutes. CG, provided they stay healthy, are going to roll through the 6A playoffs. Most assume that CHS will do the same in 5A. This should give them confidence that their first eight games were no fluke.
The highlights I saw on Twitter showed a group of CHS students in both the main visiting stands – the stadium was 50% capacity – and in one section of the end zone stands. When I picked M up I asked her where she sat, on the side or in the end zone.
“What do you mean ‘end zone’?”
L was with us – I had picked her up from a friend’s on the way – and she laughed out loud.
Not much to talk about KU. The defense really hung in there and made some plays until they ran out of gas. The offense continues to look awful.
I was kind of half-watching when M walked through the room.
“Is that KU football? You never watch that.”
Which, first, is not true. But I explained how I don’t get as into football as basketball because KU has been terrible for a decade.
“Do people actually go to games?”
I knew what she was really asking but decided to deflect.
“Well, most stadiums have limits on how many people can be there. This game is in West Virginia so I’m not sure how many people are allowed.”
“No, I meant at KU. Do people just not go because they’re terrible?”
Roasted by my daughter who doesn’t know what an end zone is. I would be offended but, come on, it’s KU football.
The big event of the weekend was that we had family pictures scheduled for Sunday evening. But as the forecast looked rainy, we moved them to Saturday.
We haven’t done a true family pic in six years because they are always total disasters. At least one girl is crying, one or two of the others are surly and uncooperative, and S and I are usually stressed and yelling at everyone. It’s hard enough to get a Christmas card pic without total meltdowns, so we kept putting off the full family pic.
It had been a three-week hassle for S to get the girls to agree to clothes to wear. They didn’t want to go try things on so she would come home with bags full of things to try. They kept rejecting her suggestions without offering guidance on what they would wear. There had been plenty of yelling that I managed to stay out of.
Saturday morning when we told the girls pics were that night, one of them immediately burst into tears. For fuck’s sake. Another waited until about an hour before we left to start fixing her hair, which takes a long time to dry. Another was crabby and uncommunicative about the entire affair. And then the first girl cried again and refused to wear what she had agreed to wear. S was on the verge of tears. I decided to drink a beer and stay out of it because yelling at the girls to stop being jackasses never seems to work.
But we made it out of the house, everyone settled down, and we actually had a very good photo session.
You would think they would learn to shut the fuck up and just go along with what their mom wants them to do. It gets it over way quicker, there’s less stress, and they can get back to whatever it is they would rather be doing. But kids are dumb. Even smart kids.
Looked like it was going to be a disaster, then turned into a pleasant surprise. Aside from one bad interception Philip Rivers had a great game. Some receivers are stepping up to replace all the injured guys who should be playing. And I’ll write the first quarter off as a fluke for the defense.
What a great end to the league championship series. The ALCS wasn’t necessarily a great game, but it was a great result. It felt very 2020 that Houston might find a way to reach the World Series. Thankfully Tampa shut the door and didn’t completely blow their 3–0 lead.
Game seven of the NLCS, though, was treeeeeeeeeeemendous. A back-and-forth game with plenty of huge moments, both good and bad, is perfect for a non-aligned viewer. Cody Bellinger’s game-winning home run was one for the ages. As a Twitter user I follow said, “That boy just hit the ball to Mars.” Also very 2020 that he apparently hurt himself, at least momentarily, celebrating with his teammates.
I kind of enjoyed the neutral field playoffs. I loooooved the seven games in seven days schedule. For everyone who complains about this year’s rules changes taking strategy out of the game, the schedule added a lot of tough decisions for managers.
I know the old Rangers stadium is probably not usable, but I think it would have been cool to have the ALCS in one of the stadiums, the NLCS in the other across the street.
It feels like it should be a very good World Series. But you never know which team will have good pitching all the way through, and which will slip up. I just hope Clayton Kershaw pitches well. I really don’t care who wins but I hope if the Dodgers lose it isn’t because of his failures. I usually don’t get into the “Athlete X deserves a championship.” I’m making an exception for Kershaw. A championship won’t erase all his past October struggles. But it will at least be a counter to them.
Dodgers in seven