To the "Merry Christmas" Brigade

Stop. And Think.
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

Dr. Seuss and the Grinch got it. Why can't you?


Winter Rituals

After perusing the local Christmas Tree (oops - Holiday Tree) lots, I realized that it just wasn't worth buying a tree. A nearby U-Cut Lot had 4 to 5 foot Noble Firs starting at just $43. For 9+ feet they wanted over $90. And the church lot wasn't any cheaper. 6 to 7 footers starting at $58.

But our wonderful Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest trees are cheap. Any tree for a $10 fee. Up to 5 trees per vehicle.

We hit the Forest Service office at about 8:30 Saturday morning. They gave us our permit, a map, asked if we had chains, and told us to have fun. Had I known we'd be going to the top of a mountain (3980 feet after leaving I-90 at 1840 feet), I would have dressed better. Thankfully, I found a great tree. It made trudging through waist deep snow in hiking boots and jeans worth it. At one point I sunk down to my arm pits. I probably topped the tree something bad, but considering I cut below my knee in snow up to my nuts, I did better than most people.

By 11:30 I was finished tying down the evergreen and got to enjoy watching the idiots. "Four wheel drive" does not mean "drive anywhere you want" drive. And to the idiot in the OLD blue Jeep Cherokee, at least make sure your 4x4 works before you take on an unplowed road. Next time it'll save you an hour or so digging out.


How soon they forget

SI.com forgets an interesting little bit while remembering Gino Torretta on their Heisman Bust List. The runner-up and clear choice that year, a sophomore running back from San Diego State University, Marshall Faulk.

Forty Yards and a Cloud of Memories

I miss playing football. Watching it has never excited me...unless it's the '9er's in the Super Bowl. Flag football just isn't the same.

There's a certain feeling of invincibility you experience with a good set of pads on your shoulders. It's like being Superman, minus the heat vision. Staring through the facemask is like peering through the visor of a suit of armor. Most people that haven't done it wonder how one can see, but they don't realize that you actually see through it...Superman's X-Ray Vision. There's a comforting tightness to the pants with their thigh pads and knee pads. It's as if they hold in all the energy escaping your body and store it for you to use later. The sensation of lacing up is one you never forget and never quite experience again.

Memories of the field are a bit more fleeting. Like clips in an NFL film, only bits and pieces remain. Returning a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and the crestfallen weight upon seeing yellow on the grass. Nathan Roberson making one block that turned a 3 yard slant into a 70 yard touchdown. Joe Pett throwing JT Ball a hip fake on the three yard line and walking into the end zone. How Grant always managed to end up on the bottom of the pile with the funble in his hands. The tears in all our eyes, even Dad's, when we won the league championship.

In college, laying out for a ball everyone considered uncatchable and catching it...and the bruise from elbow to shoulder the next day. Covering the fastest guy on the team and not getting burned. At the RCA Dome, watching Tony Kohl knock the living crap out of a guy trying to catch a ball in the end zone. Kelly Ojalla, 6-2, 180, lighting up Stu Quaid, 5-5, 245, in practice. Nature runs. A jumble of game films composed into a highlight reel in my head.

I turn 30 this month. I haven't laced up since I was 18. It makes me sad.


Something I never knew

The Navajo Night Chant:
With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty above me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk.
In beauty it begins.
In beauty it ends.
Quietly I follow the way.

Thanks to Under the Ponderosa.

Behind the line

I am completely convinced that if Jerome Harrison had gone to a non USC Pac-10 team, he'd be sitting at the Downtown Athletic Club. If he'd have gone to the reviled Notre Dame, SC might not be playing a bowl game at (adopted) home.

With this guy's line, he makes me think of all of Barry Sanders' years in Detroit. Hopefully he's below the radar enough to get picked by a team that can get some push.