Sunday, September 13, 2009

MFM Day 14: Lucky

September 12th, 2009, Motor Free Month Day 14: Lucky

Ok I've got about 25 minutes to rest before I have to go back out there again. Man, this is wearing me down today!

I've just returned from the CSU Football game, and I'm about to go back out in this chilly damp September day to go meet some friends for dinner. The weather has not been kind to me today, and I've really had to rack up the miles in my pursuit of Motor Free Glory. A long morning run was followed by a ride in the rain across town to the CSU Football stadium, where I participated as an "Alumni Host" for international CSU students attending the football game. This is the first year for this program. It was conceived by my friend Darshan as a way to help international students feel more welcome at the university. I was given three students to host for the day; two Australian students, and one Chinese student. Read more about this interesting program here:

Football 101 for International Students

Song of the Day: Radiohead, Lucky (Live at the 10 Spot, 1997)

I think the students had a fun time. I know I had a fun time! I'm not sure I did that great of a job explaining the game to them but they enjoyed watching all of the pomp and hoopla, if not the action on the field. They particularly enjoyed watching the crowd's reaction when CSU scored it's first touchdown: The fans cheered wildly, ROTC fired the old howitzer, the band played with exuberance, the cadets on the field did their push ups, and the students hoisted young ladies into the air for crowd-surfing-style push ups in reflection of the cadets. Looking at the scene with new eyes, I relished the relative pandemonium of the moment. I realized that this was more interesting to the international students, not the game itself particularly.

At one point late in the game the scoreboard operator decided to play that scene from "Braveheart" on the video, you know the one where Mel Gibson hollers a lot and everyone goes mental with blood-vengeance in their eyes. Well actually that doesn't narrow the movie down there all that much, but you get the idea, which was to help fire up the crowd for the final push to assumed glorious victory. Except the sound wasn't working on the PA system at the moment, so all we saw was the video, and the desired impact was blunted to the point of absurdity. The students started hollering anyway, in a half-Bronx-cheering sort of way since the sound was off. It was a very American moment actually, and my international peeps actually got the humor in the situation, and I was very proud of them! In fact the Chinese student then turned to me and said that "Braveheart" was his favorite movie! That pretty much blew my mind. I just assumed that is was the Australians' favourite though, you know, Mel Gibson and all.

As for the game, CSU sneaked out of there with a win, they were very lucky to do so. I was glad that they won for my students' sake; I wanted them to see a glorious victory of course! It was lost on them the fact that CSU was favored to win by several more points and that a narrow escape was not the hoped-for result. They only cared that it was fun. Which it was. And which was a fresh and healthy perspective on the whole experience.

I will point out here that leaving the stadium on bike is vastly quicker than leaving in a car. Nice. C_ and our friend Heather were also at the game, but they drove (not that there's anything wrong with that), and I beat them back to the house by a solid 20 minutes. In their defense they did hang back in the parking lot for some time after the game to let the parking lot drain, but that was somewhat out of necessity. So score one for the cyclists! Not that there were too many of us; although they do have bike racks at the stadium, they were sparsely used on Saturday, as evidenced by the picture:

Overall, biking to the game was fun, but somewhat problematic for tailgating. I was lucky this time since I was attending the international student's tailgate, so I didn't have to haul any tailgating stuff myself. I'll go to the game next week though, and have to make do on my own for tailgating needs.

I think for that reason most people prefer to drive to the game. There is a lot of car pooling though, which is good. Also, I must admit that the intersection of bicycle lovers and football lovers is probably smaller than the intersection of, say, full-size truck lovers and football lovers. Just sayin', I don't see a lot of Trek commercials during Monday Night Football, but I do see a lot of Howie Long and his manly GMC trucks on the television.

So the ride back home was good, but the grim weather was starting to wear me down. I sat on the couch for about 30 minutes, ate a container of apple sauce, and got back out on the bike to meet my friends for dinner. It was a about a 3.5 mile ride to the restaurant, and it was dark and raining by this point. To add some absurdity to the situation, C_ was also going to dinner, and she (smartly) chose to drive to the restaurant instead. This was (and I'm surprised it took this long) the first time we'd gone to the exact same place from the exact same place, me on the bike and she in the car. Obviously absurd, since the extra amount of automobile fuel my presence in the car would have used would have been pretty negligible. I think that this hadn't really happened until now mostly because C_ has been such a good sport these past two weeks, and has been riding with me most places. But she wisely chose to drive last night and meet me at the restaurant.

And I'm glad we went after all, the dinner and company were both quite good. As we left the restaurant it was still raining, and I was tempted to put my bike in the back of the car and catch a ride, but I was able to resist the temptation to do so. After C_ took off in the car I walked over to my bike, and realized that I'd left my gloves and hat in the bike basket, and they were quite wet from the rain. I had thought the bike was in a sheltered place but the angle of the rain still got to them! Thankfully the gloves were still dry on the inside so I was in pretty good shape there. I saddled up and started the long damp ride home.

I was about the only denizen on the streets at this hour. No one sane would be out riding in these conditions! The rain lightened up as I rode towards home though, and there was a quiet stillness about town. I was chilled, but knew I wouldn't be for too much longer, as home beckoned up the road. As I passed a small park I heard talking and smelled cigarette smoke from a gazebo in the park. Two homeless men were hanging out under there, talking quietly and enjoying a smoke, something to ward off the cold and damp. I rode by and considered myself lucky that I had someplace to go.

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