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THE LONGEST DAY.
October 4, 2002

by Bill Hogan

 
 

Not much can rouse me out of bed before dawn on the weekend. The high-pitched whine of the burglar alarm - inadvertently set off by a moth fluttering in front of a motion detector. The baby crying (if my wife's out of town or in a coma). The disturbing ring of the telephone which, at that hour, could only be bad news.

 
 

And the Ryder Cup Sunday singles matches. 4 a.m. the alarm goes off and I slap the snooze button. 4:20 a.m., there it goes again. And again at 4:40, at which point my wife rolls over with a flying elbow and a terse (as well as anatomically impossible) suggestion for what I should do with the alarm clock.

Two hours 'till sunup, I guess it's time to roll out of bed. (This would have been a good time to remember that the 4-year-old is camping out on the floor and last night would have been a great time to close the doors on the Armour.) After successfully navigating past the boy and a minor run-in with the Armour I stumble into a Lego minefield strategically placed in front of the bedroom door. (I thought those things weren't supposed to have sharp edges).

But it's all worth the effort to be able to watch the Ryder Cup team beat up on the Euros. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A. Unfortunately, the coffee hadn't even finished percolating before Colin Montgomerie polished off Scott Hoch.

A couple of more European wins and I could hardly eat my toast. The only bright spot early on was David Toms (momentarily) silencing Sergio Garcia with a one-up win.

By the time the rest of the family awoke, the outcome had been determined, Tiger's match was rendered moot and the bacon was burnt (I ate it anyway). I dragged myself out of bed in the middle of the night for this?

Phil Mickelson – second only to Tiger – gets thumped by a guy whose world ranking is only slightly higher than mine? A man who numbers winning the Guam Open among his greatest golfing accomplishments and spends much of his time counting the months until he's eligible to play on the Senior Tour? C'mon, Phil – gimme a break, will ya.

To top it all off, I have to watch Sergio do the Spanish mambo down the eighteenth fairway and it's still too early in the day to crack a beer. So I settle for a bowl of oatmeal with a couple of sausage patties on the side.

Then it's out to the front yard for a quick game of tackle football with the boy before the start of the NFL games. Who knew that a forty pound pre-school kid would be able to deliver a blow so vicious it could make a grown man weep? With my lower back in full throb, I lumber gingerly to the couch and ready myself for ten hours of football coverage. (The satellite dish is truly a wonderful invention – pass the potato chips).

Then before I can digest my meatball hero, the Rams, Dolphins and Saints are dispensed with faster than Hoch, Sutton and Calcavecchia were six hours before.

A few hours later, count the Patriots and Giants among the victims of the dreaded underdog. And who would have thought the Eagles wouldn't cover against the expansion Texans? It's almost enough to make me push away my meatloaf (with brown gravy, creamed corn and mashed potatoes).

Five o'clock - and I know for a fact that the Vikings are going to get their first win against the lowly Seahawks. Eight o'clock and I'm wrong again – but the chocolate pudding is delicious.

Sixteen hours of sports and I'm still looking for a winner (and a spoon for my ice cream sundae).

I turn to the one sports channel where I know there will be no surprise outcome – ESPN Classic. Maybe I can catch an old Magic-Bird NBA Championship match-up. I'll look up the final score in my trusty sports almanac and root hard for the winning team.

Not today, this day of upsets. Instead I am reminded by ESPN Classic and Wesley Snipes that "White Men Can't Jump".

It's time to weave myself back through the Lego gauntlet, safely past the Armour, over a sleeping mini Dick Butkus and crawl into bed.

And only then did I realize I must come to grips with yet another upset – my stomach.

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