Who doesn’t, right? It’s a popular bucket list item to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Heaven knows, my bucket list is probably as long as anybody’s. If my sister is going to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro next summer (which she is), the least I should get to do is freeze my backside under the twinkling billboards, in the City that Never Sleeps.
Ironically, I have never had any desire to pass through the threshold
of a new year beneath the dropping ball.
I would actually have been willing to fly home on New Year’s Eve to save
on airfare. If you’ll indulge my
bragging, I have already ice skated at Rockefeller center and even witnessed
the flight of the giant balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State
Building, and backstage at Late Night with
David Letterman; I just missed the cut to sing a little ditty for “Stump
the Band.” I’ve stood at Ground Zero and
pondered the empty sky, and rode the Staten Island Ferry to get a glimpse of
Lady Liberty on Ellis Isle. I cannot
complain that I in any way need or deserve a more fantastic New York City
experience than I’ve already had.
The reason my husband and I both woke up from NYC dreams
this morning, is this: our beloved Cyclones, that Blue Collar team that keeps
making all the inspirational montage segments on ESPN, will be playing in the Pinstripe
Bowl today. Who wouldn’t want to be in
Yankee stadium this afternoon, when that vibrant leader, Paul Rhoads, leads his
irrepressible team of over-achievers onto the field, in hopes of pulling off
yet another fantastic upset? It may be a
near home-field advantage for Rutgers, but my hopes, if not my money, are on
Iowa State. It may be one of those tens
of bowls that no one has heard of. It
may be a battle between teams that don’t amount to much in the national picture. The BCS is in no way implicated. But when the Iowa State Cyclones take the
field, they bring all the excitement college football can generate. Watch for first quarter on-side kicks. Don’t be surprised if they run a gadget play
on a long fourth down in their own territory and make the first down.
Even if you had no other reason to cheer for the Clones, surely you are
wondering whether Paul Rhoads can actually muster a more inspiring locker room
speech than, “I am so proud…to be your coach” or “I don’t care whether your
black or white, or rich or poor, or where you came from…I do care that we are
ONE team.” What about the way he jumpsaround on the sidelines when they botch a call?
There are at least a dozen reasons why we couldn’t make a
bowl trip this year, but this morning I woke up regretful of all of them. If I had it my way, I’d be at the end of a 24
hour RV drive through sleet-crusted freeways, dragging my kids through the
subways, and saddled with an enormous load of blankets, mittens, and baby paraphernalia,
to freeze my backside and lose my voice cheering for our team. We’re going to have a blast cheering them on from Central Iowa
today – I’ll probably lose my voice anyway – But I wish I was doing it in New York City.
Help us defeat our enemies! No one else can rescue us. You
will give us victory and crush our enemies.