I used to wake up early when I was a kid. I still do, but it’s different now. I used to get up early and be excited, every day was a new day full of unknown adventure and I couldn’t wait to get out there and find it. Now I wake up a little confused every day, unsure if I’m already late – despite the fact that I’m never late; I wake up in pain, it takes a while everyday for my body to work like it’s supposed to, and there are things that I just can’t do anymore – my hands and my knees and ankles just don’t work like they did when I was younger. I wake up and more often than not immediately wish I were still asleep.
I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here, it’s really not all that bad. I often get up early and have a few cups of coffee and read a little and watch the sunrise and feel at peace before I get myself into the nitty-gritty. My favourite days to wake up are still the weekends.
When I was a kid I used to love weekends more than almost anything else. They were magical. I remember getting up before anyone else in the house, creeping out to the living room and putting on the television. Those Saturday morning cartoons were the ultimate. Voltron and Masters of the Universe and The Smurfs and Schoolhouse Rock and all the others. It was fantastic, it was like being transported to a new universe for thirty minutes at a time. Then other people would start to wake up in the house and I loved sitting in my little alternate universe bubble and observing the mortals resume their daily routines. My older brother would usually be the first, often in his own alternate universe in which he was the predator and I they prey – stalking down the hallway and pouncing on me as I sat transfixed on my universal portal. We would struggle against one another – he smothering me and I wrestling for my life as the others in the house awakened. The smell of the coffee and the loud percolation were the signal to stop our mortal struggle and sit together peacefully watching cartoons.
My siblings and I were very athletic and more often than not one of our sports – usually more than one – were in season. After the whole household woke and got ready for the day we would go, as a unit, to the sports complex. As an adult my days, and mornings in particular, are far less magical. I do, however, have Sunday Mornings in the Fall.
Now, I know that there are many arguments both for and against the National Football League. Most of those arguments don’t even have anything to do with the sport itself. People have dragged politics and ideology into a game, and many people have taken it so far that they have forgotten the spirit of sport. I choose not to care about any of that ideological BS. It’s all made up and it serves only to deepen the divide that people have created between one another in this age of hyper-connected under-informed ideological identity-politic virtue struggle. All of that means nothing to me, as it means nothing at all in real life anyway.
As an adult on Sundays in the Fall I have a window to that magical time in my life when the world was full of wonder. There is something about the Sunday morning Football Countdown that brings me back. I can remember the smell of the field as I stretched, the feel of the dew in the grass on my fingers, the sounds of equipment clacking in the bags. The look on people’s faces as they prepared for the struggle. The taste of the orange wedges and the yellow Gatorade and the shrill whistles of the coach as we drilled. Everything sounded different those mornings – things on the field were clear and definite and everything off the field was muted. There was an electricity in the air, you could feel the excitement and purpose radiating from your teammates. It was like living inside and HDTV broadcast for a couple hours, everything was just better and more exciting and more real.
On Sundays in the fall I have the opportunity to transport myself back to the magic of my youth and I will never let anything get in the way of that. I’m sure there are things like this for everybody out there, they don’t have to have anything to do with anything, just find something that resonates with you. Find something that translates a universal truth to you, and filter out any other BS that people try to assign to it.