Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A night to be a champion

I don’t stop everything for a football game unless I’m truly sucked in, but I ended up sucked into watching my alma mater win a national championship game they played to near perfection.

When your opponent can’t cross mid-field into your territory until half way through the fourth quarter---when your opponent doesn’t score once—when your opponent racks up just 92 yards on offense---when you get a single penalty for off-sides in the last two minutes---when you defeat the number one ranked team in your sports league---when you do it by learning from your single defeat in overtime at the hands of the would-be champions---that's the pinnacle of great football stories.

I enjoy tuning in to the Tide more now than I ever did in years past, now that I’m so far away from almost all my old friends. I think of so many of them as I watch the game. I think of friends like my homie Shawn, the die-hard Georgia Bulldogs fan, who loves the college football game in a way I’m only beginning to understand. I know not everyone---probably not fans of LSU---may feel the exhilaration and rejuvenation of watching a simple football game, but it reflects a certain competitive spirit---the enthusiasm born in younger days, competing with yourself, to be your best, even in cooperation---and a freedom from ponderings. I must’ve yelled with abandon at that TV set over a dozen times! their hands---that’s amazing. Watching Maze cry on the sidelines because he was injured and couldn’t come in to give his all for the team will stick with me. Watching the Tide go for it on

4th down with a fake field goal attempt---even if they didn’t end up scoring on that drive---told me what kind of passion was in these players. Watching them win by building up one field goal after another---after they lost their single game in overtime by a single field goal—had poetic justice. Capping that off with a touchdown? That’s the whole package, for a record setting game.

Apparently LSU's team bus is stuck outside of New Orleans. Someone (presumably an Alabama fan) painted a 50-yard line across the interstate, and the team can't get across it!

I had to get out for a walk before I could sit with the game, and then I found out it was my friend Torrey’s son’s birthday and decided to dig out some comic books! Torrey Sr. even asked if we could start guitar lessons, and Torrey Jr.’s got what became about 34 comic books stories to read now. We sat in the community kitchen and had our first conversation about comic books, while I wore my t-shirt with the cover of D’n’A #1. It feels so good to be the one to deliver the message of honing your talents, following your dreams, and doing that with which you’ve fallen in love, with all the time you have on hand.

I brought an entire mailing envelope with the first 19 comics to the community kitchen, taking out a parody “What Th--?!?” #12 and a couple I weren’t sure were age appropriate. “Wow, some of these must be worth some money!” he said, collecting instinct already alive. “He does that,” said Dad; “we’ll find pennies or any old coin, and he’ll say, ‘let’s look it up!’” I showed him how to read the indicia to find out what year your comic book was made.

I told him most of these were on loan, but he can pick out his five favorites and keep them! Considering his stash includes X-Men/ Teen Titans, X-Men/ Alpha Flight #’s 1&2, some crazy Grant Morrison Bat-Man, Hulk’s return to Jarella’s world courtesy Archie Goodwin, a big fantasy world run of Defenders with Namor, Hulk and Doc Strange, new Spider-Man comics with the Fantastic Four, even the first story arc of Ultimate Fantastic Four, I can only imagine how fun his 12th birthday turned out---and what will he decide to keep? (Not the color Tomb of Dracula vol. 2 book, though---unless it’s his favorite over Everything!)

His dad, a comics fan as a kid, has Y: The Last Man volume one, a gift to us from Marcus K. from New York last Christmas.

I gave “TJ” a Milestone comic from all-black creators, and told him about Dwayne McDuffie founding Man of Action Studios with his friends and creating his favorite cartoon, Ben 10. I took out the signed Ben 10 comic book I was given at last year’s Comic Con---the one I wish to mail this spring to Sri Lanka, where two or more fans who’ve maybe forgotten the affair will be quite surprised.

I enjoyed every moment of this so much, I let dinner get cool and didn’t come into the game ‘till Bama had their first field goal. The highlight was when I brought out a few drawings of ours, and he asked for the Mirror Mask one. MM’s character’s been on my mind a lot, the past month, and his fictional foray’s in the cue I’ve been re-ordering daily, determined to write it ASAP. Now, the very first drawing of Mirror Mask is the signed possession of TJ, the kid who was excited to find his name on the Torrey Pines highway sign as his family first rolled in from west of St. Louis. Through the power of some young person’s belief, Mirror Mask gained a new life of his own.

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