"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 11-01-08
A Day At The Bowl(Yale vs.Penn, 10/25)
I arrive in the parking area amid the usual tailgating fanfare. Ah, the smell of hot dogs and charcoal; very overcast above, chilly. I see WPLR's Pam Landry in the Budweiser tent; I've promised her that I'd stop by to say 'hi' one of these weeks. Today she's talking to an attractive blonde woman, so I proceed to cross the street and enter the Yale Bowl. One of these days, I'll STOP being a gentleman and interrupt Pam--regardless of WHO she's talking to. I climb the 50 or 60 steps to the press box and am breathing heavily--thinking that one of these weeks, it'll get easier. I thank sports publicity director Steve Conn for his efforts regarding my cable TV show. Wind is kicking up and no sun in sight; usual cast of characters in press row.
As soon as the game starts, the clock on the scoreboard is NOT moving; I'm sitting next to the company guys who provided the new LED scoreboard to the Bowl--overseeing its operation--and there's more confusion/chaos here than a fire in a nursing home. After a delay, things seem back to normal. I notice on my roster sheet that Penn has a RB named DiMaggio; I wonder if he's nicknamed 'Joltin'. I'm also reminded that Yale has two brothers named "Hart" on the team; I laugh to myself as I HAVE to tell someone that this is a team with a lotta "hart" (sorry, folks). Nice foliage in the background, but some sun would make it prettier. I hear the Yale student broadcast crew on the other side of me--a talented group of young guys. I immediately think that some 'jock' will someday land a job that one of these guys SHOULD have. I notice the overall terrific appearance of the newly-remodeled Bowl--new portals, scoreboard, turf looks great. Yes, kinda like Michelle Pfeiffer and Sharon Stone--you know, aging but STILL looking good. Yale scores on an easy TD run by Sheffield; I assume Penn is in for a long day. I gaze at coach Jack Siedlecki down on the sidelines and wonder if his shaved head is warmer than mine; he has an edge because he's wearing headphones.
My eyes now focus on the bare-legged Yale cheerleaders, and I remind myself that I AM warmer than they are. I hear the booming voice of P.A. announcer Mark Ryba just a few seats away; if I had a quarter for every time he's said "carry by #28 Mike McLeod" over these past few years, I could ALMOST afford a Yankee box seat ticket in 2009. I see the camaraderie among Yale students, and am reminded of my own enjoyable college days; however, my aching joints now remind me that I'm MUCH closer in age to 60 than 20. Teams are struggling on offense, punts are in abundance, and Andrew Samson of Penn misses a FG toward the end of the period. No scoring this quarter. Again, should be a long day for Penn--despite playing good defense.
I arrive in the press lunch line--debating what to eat. Have my yearly physical on Monday, so let's go lightly, Bob. A chicken salad wrap it'll be, but how 'bout the cookies and chips staring me right in the face? What the heck--you only live once. I run into my buddy Bob Barth from Ansonia--who's done some announcing work for Yale; a HUGE Red Sox fan, I ask him if he's taken any heat after their recent exit from the playoffs. He says 'yes'--especially from Yankee fans--but tells me his prepared response to them is simply, "At least we GOT there." Bathroom break; floor is flooded, trash can is overloaded with used paper towels, and the lighting is awful; still beats an outhouse. Penn band plays "Thriller;" with the scoreboard reading 7-0, I immediately wonder if they have a sense of humor. Yale Precision Marching Band performs--always entertaining, but the political emphasis gets old after awhile. Today, they point out that "ELI" stands for "Elections Lack Integrity." I hate politics.
Sirens wail outside the Bowl, and I'm reminded that New Haven is NEVER listed as one of "America's Safest Cities." QB Olson of the visiting team throws yet ANOTHER ugly pass. Samson converts a FG for Penn; hmm, maybe a game after all. Another bathroom break, and conditions haven't changed in there. I notice an inviting, uneaten sandwich to my right; remember, you're on a diet, Bob. It's cold, but I can feel my toes; doesn't seem ANYWHERE near the 60 degrees that the weather people say it is. I see the Bulldog mascot down below--the one with the huge head; yeah, he's warmer than ANYONE in the Bowl. Ryba announces that there will be a Yale soccer game that evening; my joints say "no thanks." I then wonder if Penn tackle Joe Goniprow has strong political beliefs and is known as "Joe The Football Player" on campus. Star RB McLeod from Yale can't BUY yardage at this point.
I notice a young couple walking hand-in hand on the upper terrace of the Bowl; no, they can't POSSIBLY be on their honeymoon. Yale continues to struggle offensively; the student broadcasters to my left lose some of their stat sheets to the wind but seem unfazed. I ask myself if Yale is more often referred to as the 'Elis' or 'Bulldogs.' Temp is dropping--should I get coffee? Samson kicks two more field goals in an uneventful period to give Penn the lead; I STILL don't think they'll win--even though there are just a few minutes left. More sirens outside the Bowl. Another ugly drive by Yale, and punter Mante seems to have been busy ALL day long. The Yale band plays "I Fought The Law" and I immediately think of a guy named O.J. Time runs out--Penn WINS 9-7. Yes, Penn won. Sheesh--that wasn't supposed to happen.
On my way to the car, I see what looks like members of the Boston University women's lacrosse team crossing the parking lot; my only thought is that I wish I was 22 again. Many people still partying in the lot--and could care LESS who won. Smell of stale beer everywhere; someone could make a fortune picking up empty cans. The heat of my car is welcomed--as is a comfy seat. I hear on the radio that Yale accumulated only 92 total yards today; OUCH. I surmise that there may have been about 12,000 people in the Bowl today and wonder HOW they used to accommodate 50,000 on a regular basis. Finally, I merge onto the highway and see a car in front of me with a Yale bumper sticker. I'm reminded that the Elis played badly today and lost a game that they probably shouldn't have. Oh well, another trip to New Haven complete. Maybe a win next week, Bulldogs--or is it Elis?