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Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Monday, February 19
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by Tumbleweed Smith

When I got out of the Army I made myself two promises: I would never be cold again and I would never take long walks. Since my discharge, I haven't taken any more 20-mile hikes (marches) like I did in the Army. I have been cold, but not for very long. When my son Kevin told me he had bought me a ticket to the Cowboys-Rams game, I prepared for cold weather. I went to Wal-Mart and bought hand warmers, body warmers, foot warmers, heavy socks and gloves. I ordered a fleece cap from a catalog. I checked my supply of hooded sweatshirts, scarves and heavy coats. I was not going to sit in the stands and freeze. It's December, right?

I really didn't pay much attention to the weather forecast, which called for temperatures the day of the game to be in the seventies. I just knew a surprise cold front was going to come through and I was going to be prepared for it. When we left Kevin's house for the game, I was wearing a turtleneck shirt under my hooded sweatshirt and I carried an Eddie Bauer coat with me. My wife gave me a funny look.

Kevin's 15-year-old son Jackson came with us. We got to the stadium parking lot early enough to toss the football back and forth. We were not the only ones doing that. Footballs of all sizes were sailing all over that parking lot. When the parking lot got crowded and we lost our playing area, we had a tailgate snack. As darkness approached, we headed for the stadium. I left my coat in Kevin's vehicle and carried my sweatshirt with me. It made me feel a little better when I saw other fans carrying quilts and heavy coats. There were also people wearing shorts and t-shirts. I never put on my sweatshirt. The game was fun, even though the Cowboys lost to the Rams 20-10.

While visiting Kevin and his family, we watched the Cotton, Sugar. Orange and Rose Bowl games. Wow. I had not done that in years. I observed things I hadn't noticed before, like coaches taking solitary sideline strolls during the games. Some were wearing headsets, some weren't. Some set a blistering pace, some were slow and ponderous. I saw Parcells doing that at the Cowboy game and he looked mighty lonely. Very seldom did a player ever approach him during the game. I thought the sideline walks might be just a Parcells thing, but all bowl game coaches did the same thing.

Another thing I noticed was some kind of cosmic problem with kickers. So many misses, both professional and college. All the bowl games we watched had final scores just 3 points apart. Alabama beat Tech 13-10 in the Cotton Bowl. West Virginia beat Georgia 38-35 in the Sugar Bowl. Penn State beat Florida State 26-23 in the Orange Bowl. Texas beat USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl.

I hated to see Tech get beat. I'm glad West Virginia won because of the mine tragedy in that state. I was glad to see Penn State coach Joe Paterno win against Florida State. The Texas win over USC was the biggest thrill. Vince young owned that field. I've never seen a quarterback so at home.

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