Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming

What year is it, anyway?  Is it 1986?  1980?  1964?

I’m asking because I look at the ESPN website tonight, and the Cleveland Browns are in first place, alone, in their division — thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers stumbling against the hapless New York Jets.  The last time the Browns were in first place happened, apparently, 19 years ago.  By my calculation, that’s 1995, when Bill Clinton was President, I was still in my 30s, and we’d just moved into a new subdivision in New Albany.  I’d like to take a screen shot of the ESPN standings as of today, just to have a record of it.

It reminds me of an old story about Lee Corso, back when he was coaching the Indiana Hoosiers.  In a game against Ohio State during the Woody era, Indiana somehow scored first and had a 7-0 lead.  When that happened, Corso had his picture taken in front of the scoreboard.  Of course, Indiana ended up getting pulverized — but Corso always kept that photo showing him with the lead against the Buckeyes.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Browns, but I do know this — they’re keeping the season interesting.  I just hope that it lasts for a few weeks longer.,

The Magic Of An Elfin Door

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has launched a pretty cool program.  In conjunction with the Keebler Company, they’ve installed tiny doors at the bases of trees in Schiller Park in German Village, Whetstone Park in Clintonville, and Bicentennial Park in downtown Columbus.  One of the doors was designed by an industrial design graduate student at Ohio State.

The doors are all different, and they look pretty much like what you would expect an elf’s door to look like — wooden, old, quirky . . . and tiny.  Keebler paid $400 each to four artists who designed the doors and also made a contribution to a Columbus city fund designed to help low-income children.

I’m sure that there are some curmudgeonly types who question why the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is spending any time doing something like putting tiny doors at the base of trees, when presumably there are other parks and recreation needs to be addressed.  I think the best answer is found in the comments of the happy kids who have seen the little doors.  “This is like a mansion for fairies,” one little boy said.  His friend saw some glittery specks around another door and concluded it must be “fairy dust.”  How can you not relish those comments, and think about how your imagination would have reacted if, as a child, you had found an apparently ancient wooden door at the base of a tree?  If our kids were younger, I think I’d be taking them to these parks to find the little doors for themselves.

We need more wonder and whimsy in the world.  I’m all for adding a few elfin doors.

Most Impressive

Look, I’ll admit I’m an Ohio State fan.

And I’ll also admit to being a Big Ten buff.  The Old Conference might not be the greatest right now, but I still think that Michigan State is a good team and East Lansing, at night, in prime time is a pretty darned tough place to play.

So say I’m a deluded homer . . . but I thought Ohio State’s win over Michigan State tonight was pretty impressive.

Who would have thought the Buckeyes would be able to rack up 568 yards against the very stout Spartans defense?  Who would have thought that Ohio State could run the ball down the throat of a Michigan State team that prides itself on stopping the run when the game was on the line?  Who would have thought that Ezekiel Elliott could rush for more than 150 yards and a clinching touchdown when the game was on the line?  Who would have thought that Ohio State could overcome two turnovers in the first half, on the road, against an opponent that had everything going its way?  And who would have thought the Buckeyes would win, despite the defense playing the softest prevent defense imaginable in the second half.  (OK, that’s unfair I suppose . . . but does any true football fan really like the @#&$%#@ prevent defense?)

Urban Meyer has his signature win.  Mark Dantonio missed on his guarantee.  And  J.T. Barrett had a tremendous, almost perfect game, throwing for 300 yards and 3 TDs, running for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and at one point leading Ohio State to 7 touchdowns on 8 possessions against a defense that is considered one of the very toughest defenses in college football.

Most impressive!  Now let’s turn our focus to the Golden Gophers.