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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve In The Desert

Some may dream of a white Christmas, but it's hard to argue with temperatures in the high 70s with a cloudless sky on Christmas Eve. That's what the weather was like in Tempe yesterday at kickoff of the Eagles-Cardinals game. Before I head back to the East Coast for a couple of weeks starting tomorrow, I went on a two-day trip to Phoenix with my mom to see a couple of miserable football teams play a game that didn't matter.

A while ago, when we got the tickets and made plans to see the game, we thought the Eagles would still be in the mix. Unfortunately, Mike McMahon (and Andy Reid's refusal to let Koy Detmer play QB) pretty much ensured that the Eagles wouldn't be able to overcome their injury plague. Regardless of the fact that the game had no playoff implications at all, it was still nice to watch the Eagles play a December game in short sleeves, as opposed to the below-freezing temperatures that will surely be present at the New Year's Day game against the Redskins. Also, since the game didn't have any more meaning than an exhibition game, it wasn't as stressful to see the Eagles play terribly. Instead, I enjoyed the weather and the crowd, which was about half Eagles fans.

The Philly fans were their typical selves - breaking out "E-A-G-L-E-S-Eagles!" chants after Eagles scores, and then starting a "Let's go Flyers!" chant after the Eagles, down two scores late, punted on 4th and 1. One fan that I could see from across the stadium even got himself ejected (and conveniently, the Tempe courthouse is next door to the stadium - although it's not quite the courtroom/holding cell that the Vet used to have).

The game was the final NFL contest at Sun Devil Stadium, which is Arizona State's home field and has served as the Cardinals' "temporary" home since they moved to Arizona in 1988. In 18 seasons there, the Cards have had one winning season - 9-7, in 1998 (and they even won a playoff game that year). So there were no tears shed over the end of the Sun Devil Stadium Era in Arizona Cardinals history, as the team will move into what looks like a terrific facility next season. Only 44,723 fans turned out, and the place holds over 70,000, I'd guess. Even still, I think that's a relatively big crowd for a Cardinals game. There were also no snazzy giveaways like the Phillies had for their last Fan Appreciation Day at the Vet (a miniature replica of the stadium) - all we were offered was a Cardinals team photo. Nobody there seemed to care.

At least one fan brought a sign to bid the stadium farewell:
(If you can't read it well, it says "Thanks for the memories - both of 'em.")

The 12-hour round-trip drive was accompanied by the 8-disc set of four concerts the Dave Matthews Band played at Red Rocks this fall, and I highly recommend picking it up. However, my mom decided she wanted to listen to Christmas music on the radio at one point, so we flipped over to a station that played a relatively good run of Christmas songs, including one of the few I would listen to any time of the year - the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24." Then "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" came on, which prompted a discussion only a law student could have:

Radio: Grandma got run over by a reindeer/Walkin' home from our house Christmas Eve.
Me: Sounds like Grandma's estate might have a wrongful death claim.
Radio: She'd been drinking too much eggnog/And we begged her not to go/But she forgot her medication/And she stumbled out the door into the snow.
Me: Oh, Grandma might have been contributorily negligent.
Radio: When they found her Christmas morning/At the scene of the attack/She had hoof prints on her forehead/And incriminating Claus marks on her back.
Me: Looks like causation would be pretty easy to prove here.
Radio: I've warned all my friends and neighbors/Better watch out for yourselves/They should never give a license/To a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.
Us: Too bad you can't sue the state for negligently licensing Santa. Well, Santa's probably got deep pockets anyway. I wonder if he's insured.

Speaking of drivers who shouldn't have a license, there are far too many of them on America's roadways. Seriously. More than a few times, I'd find myself behind two cars driving side-by-side on the two-lane highway, and they would stay that way for ten minutes at a time, so no cars could pass. Don't these people pay attention to the road at all?

I would have flipped them off when I finally passed them, but it was Christmas Eve and all, and they probably couldn't have seen into my car anyway, since it was dark. Oh, and my mom was also in the car and wouldn't have liked that.

Anyway, tonight's the first night of Chanukah, so I'm going to go light up the candles in a few, and then get my stuff together for my trip east.


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