For a couple of weeks nobody has to wake up super early and rush around to get ready in the mornings. There’s no agonizing at the kitchen table doing homework in the afternoons. Everybody stays up a little later in the evenings. We all get to spend much more time together playing games, laughing, sharing, relaxing. Everything slows way down and we get to enjoy each other in the family so much more. The trip to the mall to see Santa Claus always happens the afternoon of the last day of school, straight from the school after early release, and then out to eat and look at Christmas lights to kick off the break. One or two of the days is spent wrapping all the Christmas presents, which is always fun, anticipating together how this cousin or that grandparent is going to love this or that gift. There are those three or four days in the middle when we get to hang out with uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters and cousins that we don’t see nearly as often as we’d like. And everything just seems so relaxed.
And right in the middle of all that, TV gives us 32 college football bowl games!
How beautiful is that?
The bowl season coincides so wonderfully with the school break. It’s perfect. Very few commitments to interfere. Extra food and snacks all over the place. I love it.
The bowls start slow with a couple of matchups between lightweights in games with funny names. But then they increase in frequency and intensity—games with traditional names in familiar stadiums with floods of attached memories—before climaxing with the big four and the national championship. 32 of them! What’s not to love?
We’ll pick the kids up at 1:00 today, head straight to the mall, get our family picture made with St. Nick, eat a big meal together, check out the beautiful Christmas lights in the fancier neighborhoods (David & Krista, make sure your blowup Santa in your front yard is turned on), and then head home for the Poinsettia Bowl tilt between Navy and Utah. Nothing wrong with that.
In honor of the bowl season kicking off this evening, here are several of my favorite quotes from college football coaches. When the success of your career is predicated on being able to predict what 20-year-old boys are going to do you have to have a sense of humor.
“At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat. That costs money and we don’t have any.” ~Erk Russell, Georgia Southern
“I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” ~Bob Devaney, Nebraska
“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the snot beat out of you.” ~Woody Hayes, Ohio State
“They cut us up like boarding house pie. And that’s real small pieces.” ~Darrell Royal, Texas
“We played like about three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon.” ~Spike Dykes, Texas Tech
“If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a good education.” ~Murray Warmath, Minnesota
“A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.” ~Frank Leahy, Notre Dame
“It’s kind of hard to rally around a math class.” ~Bear Bryant, Alabama
“Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in a bad humor.” ~Bowden Wyatt, Tennessee
“The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.” ~Knute Rockne, Notre Dame
“It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle. You can hear it.” ~Knute Rockne
“Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football.” ~John Heisman
John McKay, the legendary USC coach, was probably the funniest football coach who ever lived. His deadpan and self-deprecating humor was always perfect in its timing and pointed in its message and absolutely knock down funny. Following a 51-0 loss to Notre Dame one afternoon he told his team in the lockerroom, “Those of you who need showers, take them.” McKay is also remembered for telling reporters once, “We didn’t tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking.” My favorite McKay line, though, comes from his days as the coach of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During the middle of that first 0-14 season, McKay was asked about the execution of his offense. His reply? “I’m all for it.”