Jay Meehan: Finding a midterm respite on the field
Being a worse-case-scenario kind of guy, I usually prepare ahead of time for outcomes that have a history of going south on me. Laying the anticipatory groundwork for such aftermaths usually involves a full-on retreat to where light of any stripe refuses to dwell.
When coping with the heretofore unimaginable, I’ve been known to abandon ship, to block out the sun, to hide from perception, to stick my head in the sand, to pull the wool over my eyes. A recent case history would be how I dealt with the Trump’s ascendancy and the answer to that would be very, very, very, very poorly.
I wallowed in the mire. For a spell, there, I ceased submitting this column on anything but a semi-regular basis. I began a competition between the dirty dishes and the laundry to see which pile could first touch the ceiling. As the midterms approach, I’ve noticed both squads running drills and spending time in the weight room without their head coach.
Here is where irony makes its grand entrance, however. Although the allusion had long been made by many, including myself, that your humble scribe is pretty much a lifelong drinker of both brewed and distilled beverages, such activity, when clothed to ward off evil spirits, has almost never worked well as a coping mechanism.
I seldom drink alone and only like to imbibe when some form of celebration is discernible. Admittedly, however, I have been known in the past to celebrate the fine finish of, say, a single-malt scotch whisky – from the earthiness of an Islay to the sherry afterglow of my favorite Speyside.
So what am I left with to hide behind if reality and alcohol are not viable options? Well, involvement that borders on the obsessive in sports has, in the past, provided short-term relief to a few of the relevant pain centers. One must go as far as getting, literally, under the skin of the games in question, however.
If you truly wish to bury yourself in the pharmacology of distraction, when it comes to keeping up with local high school teams negotiating their ways through the ongoing Utah State Championship brackets, total immersion is key.
Luckily for us, the football “skin” we need to get under is no longer made of pig’s bladder but, rather, for the most part, fashioned from cowhide leather. That doesn’t mean the term “pigskin” has lost cultural relevancy in the vernacular. Some things remain sacred even when “taking a knee.”
What you currently find once you become completely enveloped in the cowhide leather skin of a football is that the Park City Miners successfully punched their ticket for a semifinal matchup with Dixie this coming Thursday, November 8 at 6 PM down at Rice Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.
Also, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with a passing notion as to northern Utah’s high school football dynasties, South Summit High School in Kamas is once again playing for a State title. That game, against Moab’s Grand County Red Devils, is scheduled at Weber State University this coming Saturday at 11 a.m.
The recently completed Major League Baseball National League pennant race and subsequent World Series appearance by my Los Angeles Dodgers took my mind completely off any negativity looming on the midterm horizon, even though they got clobbered by the Red Sox.
Getting under the skin of baseball, “with two strips of white horsehide or cowhide, tightly stitched together,” as they spell out in their specifications, is a fastball at the knees. I like horsehide because that’s what the legendary southpaw Dizzy Dean used to call it.
If looking to identify which skin of which sport’s ball I most easily got under during the current administration, however, it would have to be the synthetic leather of the rugby ball used during the 6-Nations Tournament most recently contested across Europe.
I doubt if nationalism or racism or legally institutionalized misogyny as an official political platform, or mental illness, as it were, has ever been better inoculated against. During this past year’s round robin, tyrannical lack of respect was routinely sent off the pitch.
I could mention, I suppose, the “Balata” skin of a golf ball and Tiger’s return to the winner’s circle, but that would simply be icing on the cake. Hopefully, the midterm electorate finds the dimpled cover easier to play right-to-left.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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