Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
We're two days away from August, gang. This is a good thing. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
August tends to get a bad rap. For most of us, the disdain began at an early age. August was the month those "back-to-school" ads started coming out. Our parents would get giddy; we'd get grumpy.
August was the month summer camps ended. The heat made backyard whiffle ball games less attractive than sitting in the air conditioning and watching reruns of - well, for me, it was literally Rerun, and the rest of the characters on "What's Happening!!"
But it's time to free ourselves from childhood trauma and see August for what it really is: pretty darn awesome. Here are just three of the myriad reasons:
Football a la carte: In 1988, the hair band Poison recorded a song called "Look But You Can't Touch." The 3-minute, 26-second track (the lyrics of which were no doubt first scribbled on a bar napkin around 1:30 a.m.) really ought to earn Poison entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's that '80s-tastic.
It also sums up football in August.
All the real attractions of the sport - online gambling, gambling in a live sportsbook, gambling in a fantasy league, gambling with friends, and good sportsmanship - remain off in the distance. Still, stuff happens. Training camps intensify. Preseason games give backups a stage. Predictions roll in from all directions.
No, it's not really football. But you can see football standing there in its big hair and lingerie, and you can stare as long as you like.
Baseball certainty: Wondering whether your team gives a rip? Wonder no more! By August, the trading deadline has passed, and every Major League Baseball club has wedged itself into one of four categories:
1. We're garbage and we know it. The one or two decent players are dealt for future considerations. Unripened prospects are summoned, forming a band of vagabonds just waiting to get no-hit by a journeyman who will one day tell his grandkids that, yes, he actually threw a no-hitter, and his grandkids will laugh and laugh before hopping on their hoverboards for a quick trip to the space arcade.
2. We're garbage and we know it, but nobody wants our players. Bad veterans remain in the lineup because they're getting paid and no other options exist. The team is unwatchable. Crowds dwindle to such paltry levels that those who do attend games have a 74 percent chance of catching a foul ball. This is when GMs get fired.
3. We're in this thing. And we will be keeping one eye on the out-of-town scoreboard. For fan enjoyment purposes, this is the best category to occupy.
4. We're locking things up early. We have nothing better to do than align our rotation for the postseason and debate rest vs. rust, all the while being thankful that we didn't shut down our ace pitcher with some lame innings limit because of our insane, arrogant assumption that winning baseball games every year is easy.
The Toilet Bowl: That's what I've heard the kids call it, anyway. Have you seen this waterslide at Splash Valley? More importantly, have you ridden it?
You need to.
One of two slides at the Roanoke County waterpark that caters to older kids and adults, The Toilet Bowl is about two seconds of exhilaration - as you whoosh down the 34-foot tunnel - and then about five seconds of confusion and terror, as you're flung into the side wall of a giant funnel. You never know which way your body will go as you spin toward the bottom, like a penny spiraling down that contraption near the side entrance to Valley View Mall.
Ultimately, you're dumped into 8.5 feet of water, flummoxed but satisfied, grateful that you have a Poison CD, a baseball team that cares and the whole month of August to ride this bad boy again and again.
Weather JournalMidday update: More ice likely later