Thursday, August 29, 2013

The best time of year is about to begin. Let the Purple shots flow.

I like football. I'm not sure if you guys realized this, but if you didn't now you do. You also, quite possibly, have never spoken to me ever. Like not once. But hey, far be it from me to judge how well you may claim to know me if you're ignorant of my not-so-nascent obsession with pigskin. Whether or not you're familiar though, you probably will be by the time you're done reading this because I'm about to talk about football -- and don't worry, it's the American variety this time.

See most of the year is spent ambling around and waiting. There are bright spots. The opening weekend of March Madness might be the best four days in American sports and the Stanley Cup Playoffs may have no equal when it comes to a postseason tournament. Then there's baseball, which can get you through the lazy summer days with its steady dependability and penchant for October drama. But while I love all of these events and the sports themselves, we all know that football, when push comes to shove, is what makes my bull run.

The pros, unfortunately, are still seven days away, but college football with its rampant unpredictability and excuse for daytime drinking every Saturday gets kicked off tonight when North Carolina and South Carolina take the field at 6 p.m. ET. I would be lying if I told you I was ready to settle in and watch the whole thing, I may watch some of the second quarter while I cook dinner, but as long as there is football on the TV it will mean I am thiiiiiis much closer to watching a game I actually care about.

"And when will that happen?" some of you might be asking.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Don't like PEDs? You should probably be watching footy then.

Hey, everyone! Now, before you say anything you might regret, let me just come out and say I know what you're thinking.

"Dave, first you run away to Africa for three weeks and then when you return you don't even write for almost three more? How could you not call us?"

I get it. Really, I do. Let's just say that when you go to Africa your priorities might get mildly shuffled. This is particularly apt to happen when you nearly die 17,000 feet up Kilimanjaro and then the airport burns down on you when you're days away from flying home. Don't get me wrong, it was a wonderful trip with hundreds of amazing wild animals and dozens of memorable experiences, but Africa is a crazy, crazy place and it is, uh, not at all like the United States or New York in particular. It's a place where infrastructure takes a break, punctuality is generally a suggestion and crazy things just happen. How crazy, you ask? Well look. Things got pretty crazy. For example -- and I cannot stress this enough -- Kenya's international airport actually burned down days before I was scheduled to fly home. I can only say dear friends that you have not seen disorganization until you have seen it in Africa.

Rest assured, however, I did make it home, even if it took me an extra day and required going straight from an eight-hour transatlantic flight to my office for a full shift at work. Yes, I know it has taken me nearly three weeks to actually post here so I could entertain you fine people, and I know I'm leaving New York again this weekend (more about that Thursday), but can't we just forgive and forget? After all, I came a long way to write to you people.

Granted, I didn't come from as far as, say, Australia, but Kenya is still pretty far. And Australia probably would have had the organizational capacity to develop a good contingency plan in the event of an airport fire. How do I know this? I know this because the AFL (that's the football league I write about while you all decide to stop reading) has been in the midst of dealing with a widespread PED scandal for the past several months and today they handed down their final ruling, though more sanctions to individual players may yet come down later on. It was an example of brutal, all-encompassing efficiency, which would never be possible or enforceable in Africa, and it might not even be possible in the United States.