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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Apple Picking Update/The Bye-Week Blues

So, it's a bye week; I've been lost for material because until now, I've refused to "blog" (I'm over the blog-verb-dilemma) about my day, avoiding the drudgery that is 90% of internet blogs. I've been sticking strictly to my opinions of and surrounding college football and the college football lifestyle (yes, that includes my stories of cooking fried chicken, relax). Well as of right now I again sell a portion of my soul and standards (like so many athletes-turned-Dancing-with-the-Stars) and begin an aimless ramble about my fall day in New England.

Like many a New Yorker, my impression of New England was chowder (excuse me, chow-dah), and the "Three P's"-- Popped Collars, Paisley, and Plaid. Fall foliage and lighthouses and lobstah. Witch-hunts, Halloween, and "The Nation." Well, fans of everything New England, be prepared to enter a new image into your collective conscience recall: Fat White Guy on bye week goes apple picking. Pile in the Jeep Wrangler, and join the girlfriend's step-dad, cousins, baby sister, and family friends at a remote farm in Middleton, Massachusetts. Apparently this is what I'm now doing with my free time.

But let me back up a little, and help you get from point A (free time) to point B (weekending in the scenic hills of New England). It's an age-old dilemma; we beg and yearn for some downtime, a break from the grind to clear our minds and relax. But much like the dog that chases that '84 Tempo down the street, we simply don't know what to do when we get it. So I made plans to go into Boston to watch Game One. Tremendous decision. Spent the night right outside Fenway with close friends cheering on my beloved Sox, and watching Louisville get into a shootout with Memphis. Call it the UConn football player in me, but amidst all my "relaxation" I just wanted to be back in a hotel in some city focusing on beating up some opposing offensive line. Boston wins, the sports gods are smiling, and in the morning we left Beantown for the suburbs.

Let me save you the intricate details, but FWG ended up driving up a dirt road to an apple orchard equipped with donuts (okay, this might not be so bad), farm animals, and fruit bearing acacia. So, I know I've been talking about everything manly (Bo-Sox, Beantown, college football), but I cannot in good conscience say that my girlfriend was twisting my arm to go apple picking. Part of me was curious to see how "civilians" spend their weekends in the fall. After arrival I was one part anthropologist and one part Ritalin-starved 12-year-old bouncing between donuts, cider, and caged farm animals. Okay, so I was hooked.

FWG's girlfriend's cousin is another fat white guy, turned skinny guy, turned productive member of society. He used to play offensive line at UMass. He and I frolicked through the rows of Granny Smiths and Red Delicious with reckless abandon. Sampling, picking, and sampling some more; pause for pictures; resume frolicking. Turn back to watch girlfriend have knowing look creep across her face (like so many a soccer mom, is only how I can describe it). I'm really hoping some offensive linemen from Rutgers is reading this right now, and will remind me on Saturday how soft I've become.

I will say that as a college athlete, in prime physical condition, I was somehow able to work up a sweat...while apple picking. (Just how fat are you?) Of course I was able to add a touch of meatheaded-ness to the simplest of New England pleasures. Man. Nature. Man and Nature. Man and Nature and competitive nature. Who can throw the apple the furthest? Who can peg the other with more apples? Even I can ruin a family outing. With a belly full of fruit and donuts and cider and toddler drool, I was oddly satisfied with my foray into something that didn't involve a bench press or a helmet.

I came back to enjoy the rest of the college football weekend. But maybe this blog (at least for today) is not qualified to comment on college football, perhaps I've taken a turn for Martha Stewart ("meathead apple picking, it's a good thing") meets Good Housekeeping meets The Sporting News. I had fun. I'll admit it, okay? A great time, not as satisfying as running out of the tunnel to 40,000 screamin' meemees...but close. (Okay not close, but still a good time).

So maybe I was the metaphorical dog, chasing the car. Many argued that that dog wouldn't know what to do when he caught it. Well I caught my car in an apple orchard. And I knew what to do: I ate it.

Some Final Thoughts:

Texas v. Oklahoma. Colt McCoy. Your name is Colt, you are qualified to do nothing else but play quarterback for UT; well done, sir.

Pat White is injured, obviously an integral part of the WVU offense. I don't want to take anything away from WVU and the win, but Syracuse kept it close. Again this is the Big East, the rules don't apply, anything is possible. (Keep on keepin' on, 'Cuse.)

I have recently had some big "To-Do's" checked off my "Life To-Do List" (it exists, really). That would be being recognized for my writing by ESPN and Sports Illustrated (next up, swimsuit issue -- see "Boys of the Big East" coming soon) and USA Today. So a BIG thank you to Brian Bennet, Andy Staples, and Reid Cherner. Next up to check off the list: sky diving, getting a job writing ( for resume; references on request), and seeing my abs again (I miss you guys, too).

Do you think Billy Ray Cyrus could ever really ground Miley Cyrus (excuse me, Hannah Montana)? The answer in case you were wondering (you weren't wondering, were you?), is no. I wish that at age 16 I could have reminded my father he once had a world class mullet and sang "Achy Breaky Heart,"oh, and that I saved his career. I hate Hannah Montana. (First apple picking, then the Good Housekeeping reference... this is a college football blog right?)

I like the moxy and intensity that UNC's defensive line plays with. FWG's rejoice at DT's scorin' TDs! (OMG!) My apologies to my sister who goes to law school at Notre Dame and had to painfully watch that game.

And finally, my heart goes out to my beloved Sox who lost in extra innings last night. But FWG is not worried... it's only game 2.

So, I'll be checking in during Rutgers week... no more Martha Stewart; back to commentary on college football. I promise.

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