Posts Tagged ‘Blizzard’

The Night They Didn’t Play Football

December 27, 2010 82 comments

Back in the days real men played football in snow storms

As Tom Hanks famously stated in the movie, “A League of Their Own,” there’s “no crying in baseball.” And there’s no cancelling an NFL football game because of bad weather. It’s blasphemy. It’s un-American. We, as a nation, have changed forever.

Reacting to the rescheduling of the Sunday night Vikings-Eagles match-up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, called the postponement due to blizzard conditions an “absolute joke,” and declared, “We’re becoming a nation of wussies.”

The arguments are all covered in this excellent rant by columnist Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Daily News in a piece entitled the Wimps Who Stole Christmas:

If you grew up anywhere in the wintry half of this country, you probably have fond memories of hiking up your snow pants and sloshing around with your buddies and your Pete Rozelle-signed football in the backyard drifts – and the only thing that comes a close second to playing football in the snow is watching a classic NFL matchup in a furious downpour of the white stuff.

And he goes on to mention that if the same wimps who postponed last night’s game had been in charge, there would never have been the “Ice Bowl” NFL championship game between the Packers and the Cowboys, or the infamous “Snow Plow” game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders or the 1948 NFL title game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia that attracted nearly 40 thousand fans in a raging blizzard not dissimilar to yesterday’s conditions.

Do you know how memorable an NFL game played in Philly would have been last night? Wind gusts of 50 mph would have wreaked havoc on every pass. The footing would have been atrocious. There was no keeping up with those conditions and the field would have been a total mess; a quagmire. In other words- the perfect setting for a legendary gridiron contest.

It’s one thing to cancel a football game because the roof atop a domed stadium collapses. It’s one thing to cancel an exhibition game as they did once in one of those games they use to play between the NFL champs and college all-stars because a vicious storm washed away one of the goal posts. But postponing a football game because of a blizzard?

They have a subway in Philly that goes to the stadium. They have fans in the City of Brotherly Love that are certifiably insane who would have gladly braved the blizzard conditions for their beloved Eagles- in T-shirts.

And they delayed the game until Tuesday! Do you know how much that screws up the Eagles who then have to turn around and play in a shortened week next Sunday? Not only has the NFL succumbed to the soft-bellied political correctness of “public safety,” they’ve potentially messed up a team’s fortunes and deprived us all of what surely would have been the talk of the nation for years to come.

No- this is wrong; very, very wrong. NFL- I don’t even know you anymore.

Transitioning to Normal

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

As a public service, I have stopped searching for iconic winter images and am posting a photograph of someone surfing.  This is the first of the actions I am taking to ween myself off of my snow addiction.

♦ It’s ok to stop watching the Weather Channel now.  I caught myself turning to TWC Thursday even though there was no real reason to and discovered it was snowing in Dallas.  Interesting, but that has nothing to do with my life.  It will snow four inches today in Atlanta.  My son lives there, but it’s only four inches.  Goodbye Weather Channel.  Until next time.

♦ It’s ok to stop visiting  But I did discover they have a much better site than Weather Channel.  You don’t have to work as hard to find the stuff you really need to know.  They also have a wonderful collection of very knowledgeable weather nerds who have all the esoteric details that interest me when all weather-hell is breaking loose.

♦  It’s ok to stop talking to all your friends about the Great Blizzard of 2010.   It was really something.  The sun is out now and the stuff is finally beginning to melt.

♦ Based on what I heard this morning about the nightmarish commute people have had, it remains ok to bitch about the District of Columbia and its lack of snowplowing prowess.

♥  It is not only appropriate, but perhaps, an absolute necessity to begin thinking about Valentine’s Day and what, precisely, you are going to do for your loved one Sunday.  Flower stores are delivering.  They have no choice.  This is how they make money.

♦  It may snow a little bit on Monday but it’s not expected to be a major winter event.  Remember, we may once have been snow-wimps, but we are now grizzled veterans of arctic climate conditions and we now laugh at a mere two inches and move on as if nothing had happened.  We are the new Chicago.

Signs of Life

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I finally ventured out of the apartment today. I saw people. I interacted with some of them- interesting species. Hit the Safeway supermarket at 5th and K. Not very many humans there, however. But the cashier was really, really nice. Positive attitude, all smiles and light banter. She packed my five-cent plastic bags strategically after asking me if I was walking or driving (DC now charges for plastic if you don’t come in with your own hip canvass bags).

Clearly, no one likes potato bread. That’s about all that’s left. This is a brand new supermarket in my neighborhood so they do that thing at the produce department where you hear fake thunder and automated sprinklers spritz the vegetables every 20 seconds. Wasn’t working. Not worth the effort for the few of us scavengers who were there this afternoon. Or not worth the water to spray week-old wilted lettuce.

By the way, does anyone know the name of my Safeway? Does it even have a name yet? Here in D.C., all the Safeway supermarkets have nicknames that suit their surrounding neighborhoods. The one in Georgetown is called “Social Safeway.” The one in my old Northeast neighborhood near RFK stadium where I last lived here in DC, is “Scary Safeway.” Today, I would have to call my new grocery store, “Sad Safeway.”

The 8-block round-trip walk to Sad Safeway was challenging but much easier than, say, climbing Mt. McKinley. The sidewalks are basically packed snow. There’s a lot of standing water at intersections now because of all the snow-dams that are being created by the plow-piles. Wow. Plow-piles. Not only is that not a word, but it’s non-word I never even imagined I’d be using two weeks ago.

There have been a few cars parked in front of my building since last week. Today, I saw the two competing approaches to dealing with snowed-in, blizzard-covered motorized vehicles. One guy obviously took ownership of the situation and was out there shoveling his little heart out, clearing his path of exit. Directly across the street is a car that has not been touched. It is submerged. Its owner, I imagine, is in denial. Or hoping that now that it’s nearly 40 degrees, Mother Nature will take care of it all.

Nanook is back in his cave now. Tomorrow- a real adventure: Bed, Bath and Beyond.

A Train’s-Eye View of the Great Blizzard of 2010

February 8, 2010 1 comment

Having just returned by Amtrak from New York this afternoon, I got an interesting view of the snow-bomb that hit the mid-Atlantic region Friday and Saturday. This was such a strange storm because New York and northern New Jersey got zero accumulations and Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, of course, got annihilated.

So I got my seat on the right side of the train and watched for the line of demarcation. Keep in mind, this is two days removed from the storm. But you started seeing snow at approximately New Brunswick, New Jersey. Maybe 3 to 4 inches from what I could see. By the time we got to Trenton there were about six inches.

Then we hit Bucks County north of Philadelphia and you could see that, easily, a foot or more had fallen. I was looking for snow-covered roofs and buried cars and the Philly area was really not that bad in that regard.

I did notice a clever little billboard that I think Delta put up just north of Philadelphia that read, “You’d be there now if you were on the air shuttle.” Not this week. If you had tried to take the air shuttle to DC on Friday, you would have spent three days sleeping at the Marine terminal at La Guardia. Amtrak, on the other hand, reinstituted full Acela service today. Plus, Bill Cosby was on my train. Hey, hey, hey.

But past Wilmington, as we got into Maryland, you could see what this storm did- in all its glory. Elkton, Maryland looked like a scene from Barrow, Alaska. As we approached Baltimore, you could get more perspective as you saw the height of the snow against the streets that had been plowed. More and more completely snow-submerged vehicles came into view. The heavy snow on rooftops was becoming increasingly evident.

There are a lot of woods between Baltimore and Washington and the scenes were breathtaking. Trees were dotted with piles of snow teetering on the branches making them look like forests dotted with thousands and thousands of 50-pound cotton balls. Creeks were swollen with snow that had begun to melt in Monday’s sunshine.

Amtrak train #2153, packed to the gills with passengers, finally pulled slowly into Union station. At the last moment back at Penn Station in New York, Amtrak decided to honor all Acela tickets and let on additional passengers- it was literally, standing-room only. We all poured off and I watched the taxi line grow. I know better than to take a DC cab when the city is in a snow emergency. They’ll stick you for a $50 fare for a $10 ride and take great pride in it.

So I trudged on to the Metro, still running only subterreanean trains. The tracks that usually head toward Glenmont were the only side of the rails in use and the direction was reversed, heading only downtown and onto the new end of the Red line- Medical Center. The subway train sat at the Union Station platform for about 25 minutes before heading slowly-very slowly toward Judiciary Square. When we hit my stop, Chinatown/Galley Place, there must have been a thousand people waiting to board. It looked like something out of Tokyo where they use poles to push passengers into the trains. Folks looked distinctly disoriented. Like everything had turned alien and totally different, which it had.

The two-block walk back to the apartment with luggage was better than I expected. All but a small portion of the sidewalks had been cleaned except for the intersection of 6th and H streets where I stood knee-deep waiting for the light to change.

The power had obviously gone off in my building, but thanks to a surge protector, my desk top came back to life. And now we await tomorrow’s, hopefully, final bout of winter weather. It will be nothing compared to the weekend. Just the same and excuse the bad grammar- but I ain’t going nowhere!

Categories: Climate Change, Culture Tags: , ,