|For the past weeks it's been difficult to concentrate on anything but the weather. Every columnist in the area has focused on one thing, aspects of living in sub-zero temperatures - in my case, "That's Life in a freezer."
Every day I've been grateful for being housebound. It's not always something to celebrate, except when one avoids the job of getting out of a warm bed to go out and start a cold car. Add to that the misery of scraping snow and ice off the miserable vehicle and any reason for escaping the scenario is reason to shout Hallelujah and Praise Be.
When I have checked the national weather map, it has been clear that the whole country was cold to some degree. The day Dallas was 24 was worth noting. The only family members not shivering were those in Florida and Texas.
It was difficult not to think unkindly of Canada, the conduit for Arctic cold, especially those weird days when the temperatures in the Maritimes were higher than those in Maine. According to the meteorologist I employ, this has never happened before. It sounds like a plot. I know relations between the US and Canada are not too good at the moment, and every time I look at the mass of icy air swirling down across the border, I'm not inclined to work to make them better. Misery always loves resentment that warms the blood.
Talking about misery brings to mind the snowstorms and deep freeze in which the New England Patriots played their playoff games. I know that prior to the domed arenas, everyone played in all sorts of miserable conditions. Did it make the players tougher? Were the fans tougher or drunker? Almost everyone drank beer or brought something in a bottle or flask.
I remember going to games when I was a kid. No one in the family drank anything but tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and part of the gear brought from home included several thermos bottles of hot liquids. We bundled up like Eskimos and carried blankets. The only part of your anatomy that never seemed to get warm was feet. Today's cold weather gear, especially boots, are superior, and we would have welcomed a space blanket or two.
Never having worn a football uniform, I have no way of knowing how they function in severe cold. Judging by the way players look, I can't believe they keep one toasty warm or dry.
For most of my fervid football fan days, I was living in California. San Francisco on a wet and foggy day can be fairly cold. When the southern California teams came to play, they were pretty miserable. We used to jeer at their misery, especially the bench heaters they brought with them. The Minnesota Vikings were always admired because they played in such miserable conditions and never complained - at least, not publicly.
Watching the Patriots in my son's living room, I felt guilty. Everyone in the room was under a comforter, I not only had a cover, I had hot cups of cappuccino at hand.
We were rooting for the Patriots and expressing sympathy for all the players, especially those being hit hard. It must hurt far worse when your bones are brittle and cartilage frozen. I would imagine the hot Jacuzzis in the locker room were as packed as sardines in cans.
The people in the stands did a lot of jumping around. It's a good thing they did. Defrosting that many people would have been a heck of a job. At first thought, they appeared crazy for showing up, but would I have liked to have been there? You bet, with a pot of cappuccino.