There are signals during the year, sights and sounds and smells that make us recognize the coming of a regular event. I love the sound of Christmas music before Christmas, the pumpkins that dot front porches in autumn, the smell of barbecue that shouts "Summer!"
I've been in a rush lately, so even though at some level I knew it was coming, I had missed the signs that another one of those regular events was upon us. Until I saw this yesterday:
It's the week of the big rivalry game, so, of course, all the statues on campus are wrapped in plastic. It's as much a part of the ritual game as tail-gating and painting faces blue, I think. I don't know if the rival campus has to take similar measures. I hope not, but I know emotions run high at these times. It's both sad and funny. Sad that competition moves some to deface property and funny that we identify SO strongly with an institution that a small group of people from that institution playing a game with a ball and helmets comes to represent the whole. Whoever wins is the best. Let's not mention cancer research or graphic design contests or numbers of students who go on to graduate school or any of the other criteria universities generally use to measure quality. It all comes down to this: pigskin and grunts and tackles and passes and touchdowns.
And a bad part: whoever wins this time has bragging rights for a l-o-n-g time, since the two teams won't meet annually any more. Sad in some ways. But I can look at it this way: we can save a lot of plastic that doesn't have to wrap about Brigham and Carl.