Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Football Legend is Born

Now I grew up in a small town. As of the 2000 census a mere 3,688 people lived in quaint little Argyle, NY. Given that it was settled in the late 1700s the population has been surprisingly consistent. The 1790 census puts the population at 390 people. That means the population has doubled a little more than three times in 210 years.

Now Argyle has two very quaint facts about it. One is that Prohibition is still in affect in Argyle. It is, and has been since the early 20th century, illegal to sell liquor in all its varieties within the town lines. The net effect of this is to create an industry of liquor stores on every "major" road just out of town. This is similar to the casinos that one finds on the main thoroughfares right before you leave Nevada.

The second quaint fact about Argyle is that it had more catheter manufacturers per capita than any other town in the world. That's right there were three plants to service our tiny population when I was a wee lad (get it wee, catheters?). Catheter's were so prevalent in our community culture we'd learn how to catheterize as part of our school curriculum. That way we could mug one another by saying things like "I've got a catheter and I know how to use it." I mean honestly who would want to be catheterized if it wasn't necessary?

Sadly we lacked some basic services and experiences that bigger towns can provide their populations. For example we didn't have a stop light to train young drivers on the correct way to negotiate a left hand turn on a four way stoplight. We also lacked cable television, which meant that my first exposure to Beavis and Butt-head had to wait until college (although their movie was the first I saw after getting back from a two year church mission in France (my father insisted I watch it)).

Such a small town also meant that I could graduate in the top ten in my class but only be in the top 16% (6/38). We lacked normal classes like psychology, Spanish, and computer science. Kids eating sandwiches with animals like "coon" and "possum" as the meat weren't unheard of. Inbreeding only counted if you were brother-sister not if you were cousins. And of course we lacked the manpower to field a high school football (the one played with hands) team.

Now you might think with my current girth that this would be a real tragedy. Nowadays I'd fit right in with the morbidly obese men that protect the quarterback (the thrower guy for our non-US readers) from the other morbidly obese, but slightly more agile, defensive players trying to knock him out. Yet I was not always such a glutton. Indeed there was a time where one might have described me charitably as lithe. If you were feeling less charitable you'd wonder how I'd survived the Ethiopian famine. That said I still loved football. Our lack of a team led us to playing in my friend's field (payment was haying it whenever necessary (not a pleasant experience for my allergies, I sneezed black afterwards)). We played a brutal version of the game that was more like rugby than football but with forward passing. In all honesty I'm surprised that we didn't seriously hurt each other.

Fast forward a gazillion years to today (or six weeks ago) and you'll understand my great joy when my father-in-law invited me to attend a pre-season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins (Steelers named after the noble union men of the steel working industry in Pennsylvania, the Redskins the pejorative term given to the aboriginal peoples of the Americas by their white Anglo-European oppressors.). Wife was conveniently out of town visiting her sister's dog (oh and I guess someone had a baby too?).

You can imagine, given my love of the game, my great joy in seeing the stadium at FedEx Field open up before my eyes.

More to the point though is the manner in which we watched the game. You'll notice from the vantage point of the above photo that we're not in the lower bowl. As much as one might think I was disappointed by this because obviously the lower bowl seats are the best seats, right? Wrong. Well there may be an appeal to sitting on the 50 yard line, those seats pail in comparison to the joy of the corporate box, which is where my wonderful father-in-law had us seated.

Why would a higher seat be better you ask? Well remember my gluttony? That's right we had a fully catered luxury corporate box. The view of the field was wonderful...well at least those times I could pull myself away from the Italian sausage! Oh and I think Pittsburgh won the game.....maybe.

Also just wanted to welcome the Collins family into the world of blogging. Check out their blog.


GK said...

I thought the laws of prohibition meant that it was illegal to buy, own, sell, consume or even posses alcohol. If you bought a bottle of something from one of these stores outside of town and brought it within the town limits, could you get arrested? How come the law is still in effect there anyway?

The value of catheters as weapons can't be underestimated in my opinion. If someone threw a used one at me, I'd give up and go home very dejected.

I went in a corporate box at a football game once when I was only 12. Watford hammered Swindon 6 - 0, and I was too young to appreciate being at a football game with lunch and beer served at your request.

La Yen said...

Catheters + midgets= unstoppable army

dastew said...

The 18th amendment to the US constitution actually only prohibited sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. This means it was technically legal for individuals to consume alcohol.

That said, US law allows for counties and towns within the US to control sale of alcohol. This is why wee little Argyle could outlaw the sale of liquor even after prohibition was lifted with the 21st amendment. Interestingly it's not the only town in the US that is dry. There are several communities and counties that outlaw the sale of alcohol across the country. The one I found the most amusing of these was the home of the Jack Daniels distillery. I guess it means that you can brew it you just can't buy it.

Roy @ CNM said...

Good to see you posting again--I feared some horrible tragedy had befallen you.

There is a great horror in the fact that my dad takes you to 'Skins games. I don't know what is the worst part--that you go, or that I don't. At least you didn't see a good game; that would make me manically depressed.

Paris Soul Mate said...

The beauty of working in DC was the corporate box perks of the MCI Center and FedEx field...I am glad you ate their money's worth.

Panini said...

:) you already got my playbyplay - but sounds to me like one mighty fine summer!

Mr Jo Bloggity said...

Stew's old now. It's hard to write when you go to bed at 7pm every night.

And, your cataracts get so bad that you can't see.

And you have to chance those durn kids off your lawn.

And you have to get your typing in between Matlock re-runs.

dastew said...

I heart Matlock, but Quincy could kick his but anyday