Friday, February 8, 2013

The next trip is officially on the docket, and it's a big one

First, I should acknowledge a shameful lack of recapping what was a, uh, bizarre Super Bowl last Sunday. Suffice it to say I always figured the biggest television event of the year would run a little longer than your average football game, but I'd be lying if I told you I expected this would be aided by an unexpected 34-minute power outage at the Superdome. I have seen some curious things during Super Bowls in the past whether they be men catching footballs off their helmets, streakers running onto the field and getting tackled or the Buffalo Bills actually participating in a playoff game, but this might have been the strangest one by a fair stretch.

While the two Harbaughs might have flipped their lids a few times at the mishap -- though considering almost no one within earshot of them could actually fix it I don't entirely understand why -- I'll at least look back at it fondly as a collective experience we'll all laugh about years from now. It also gave us some time to check out Puppy Bowl IX, which didn't make me feel as dumb as I thought it would. Fortunately, there are other things for that.

The best part about the power coming back, however, was clearly the impact it had on the game, allowing the 49ers to regroup when they were trailing by 22 points and actually making the game entertaining. The next thing you knew it was suddenly a classic that came down to a final drive, a goal-line stand (which was about as poorly executed by San Francisco as could be -- no timeout before fourth down? No running plays to Colin Kaepernick?), a few controversial non-calls and some absolutely marvelous end-game strategy that nearly saw even more fun end-game strategy if the Niners had fair caught the final free kick and taken a free kick of their own in hopes of a game-tying field goal.

All in all, it wasn't the greatest Super Bowl I've ever seen, but it was certainly one of the better ones, and it reaffirmed the fact that more often than not in the free-agency-salary-cap era the Super Bowl truly delivers, and the city of Baltimore celebrated in the only way they know how. Since the year 2000, 9 of the 14 Super Bowls played have ended with a margin of victory of seven points or less, and one of the games that didn't -- Super Bowl XLIV -- only didn't because of a late New Orleans pick six as Indianapolis was driving for the tying score. The Super Bowl almost always delivers, this one, nearly featuring the greatest comeback in championship history certainly did and now it cripples me emotionally to know I have to wait seven months to watch real football again. The only real disappointment was that Ray Lewis hit the under on his postgame theological references.

But on the plus side, the Giants are officially back in the hunt to be Super Bowl champions now, so there's that.

So, with all of that taken care of, I need to shift gears here and get back to the purpose of this blog's inception -- which I rarely ever acknowledge these days -- and that is to keep track of my ongoing travels to see sporting events around this fine country.

Yes, I know, there are few nobler quests, but I'm sorry we can't all be strong enough to undertake it. All that said, after a fairly long break (I haven't traveled since late December), I will be making my next trip in approximately five weeks -- and what a trip it will be. Not only will this next trip be my busiest one yet for sheer concentration, but it will also take me on this noble quest to a city that is decidedly not noble. For you see, in five weeks, I will be walking about the Staples Center and spending a lovely weekend in Los Angeles.

I know, I'm shocked about this too. I often mock Los Angeles as my least favorite place in America or a town where reality simply doesn't exist, but I do have friends and multiple sports teams I haven't seen there. Also, finding a round trip for just $304 doesn't hurt either. My friends insist I will find a way to enjoy my time there, and I don't really doubt them on this, but it will take some stiff re-educated to change my opinions about the place.

But all that said, I'm still looking forward to this trip because a) I like traveling and b) I will make substantial progress. To wit: I will see three teams in one building in the span of 36 hours, a fascinating and complex combination considering few buildings in America are as busy as Staples Center. Sports Illustrated last spring explained just how busy the place can get. I'll be spending so much time there I might as well camp out on the grounds (I won't), but it should be a place I'm very familiar with by the end of the weekend. The schedule will involve seeing the L.A. Kings host the San Jose Sharks Saturday, March 16, then seeing my Knicks visit the L.A. Clippers Sunday March 17 at noon and then seeing this season's utterly fascinating L.A. Lakers host the Sacramento Kings Sunday night at 6:30.

One city, one building, three new teams, 26 hours. I really can't wait. And I'm sure all of you can't wait to read about it either. Probably.


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