Hiking

Hike Annadel can chase away the sport blues

So with every step in the rain, every foot placement on the paved trail in Annadel State Park, every slippery boulder and boulder a potential ankle buster and thrill killer, I was thrown in my mission. I was trying to take a break from sports.

Nothing demands, dare I say demands, your attention more than negotiating a hilly, muddy, bumpy and jagged path in the pouring rain. It cleans your brain, cleans it, of everything but what to do with the next two feet. Athletes who box, ride motorcycles or race cars on a track experience the same microscope.

This hike last week offered such clarity. I went out for three hours in Annadel. I saw maybe half a dozen people. The beautiful Annadel, all dressed in green and wet, would press the delete key. Certainly. Only occasionally does sport interfere.

The first thought to fall out of the blue was Patriots coach Bill Belichick and this unsettling image: Has his jaw been permanently locked so that Grinch’s scowl never leaves his face? If that’s what it takes to be the best coach in NFL history, I’ll settle for flag football.

Go away, Bill. I have no place for you. Pretty easy, to dump that one. The next, not so much.

I was somewhere near the middle of Cobblestone and a lagoon-sized puddle when I wondered if the NFL was going to call the entire University of Alabama football team and hook up the players on all those COVID depleted lists. In many cases, this would be an immediate improvement. And with students able to earn money through their name, it’s time to upgrade their bank account.

How long will it be before omicron finds unvaccinated Cole Beasley or Aaron Rodgers for these guys to become a superspreader event? Like so many of my friends, I grew weary of COVID and wincing at the mere mention of the virus. I had a hard time shaking off the dark thoughts, even on the track.

Seems like every NBA team has at least one guy under protocol. It looks like all of the Boston Celtics are in quarantine. The NFL even released a new policy that the Super Bowl winner doesn’t even have to play the game. If the other team has to forfeit due to a COVID outbreak, the winner can pose in a hotel room in a bathrobe with the Lombardi Trophy.

To be honest, it was the virus that pushed me to Annadel and the bad weather. The day before, I spoke to a friend who worked in a supermarket and asked her how she was. She says she saw a woman enter without a mask.

“Did you forget your mask?” started the exchange.

“No, I have it,” the woman said. “But I only put it on if someone asks me to.”

Eh? What the hell? Ask this woman for a therapist or at least a checkup. When I heard this story, I knew it was time to reboot.

Nature is my vehicle of passage. Yes, a rainstorm can make the rocks as slippery as a politician’s promise. Rocks hidden in the mud are bear traps waiting to be cast. A downhill slope gulping down rushing water might as well be a ski slope.

I knew the terrain. My alert buzzer was on. A rock made shiny and smooth by rushing water is much easier to navigate than a woman playing roulette with a deadly virus.

Nature makes sense. He doesn’t grimace, go silly on you. Nature demands respect and nothing else. It doesn’t seem like much when the reward is peace, quiet and the splash of water on a leaf, splashing like so much music.

So when I saw the deer, I stopped. To my right, the animal was 50 feet away. Looking at me. I returned the favor. I asked him to pose, that’s how I felt relaxed. I smiled at how ridiculous I must have looked. I am not Dr. Doolittle. I talk to myself and probably every dog ​​I’ve met, but I’m pretty sure they’re not responding.

In the pouring rain, on a sodden hill, the deer and I stared at each other. I slowly came out of my cell and took two shots. The deer never moved. I would like to think we would still be here if I had burst out laughing thinking about the football games.

That’s how I was relaxed. I sneered at the most useless, useless, insane and totally unforgettable activity in all of sports. There are 43 – yes FORTY THREE – postseason bowl games. And if you can name them all, I have a padded cell with elevator music for you.

Bowl pansies are perfect for a hike in the rain. How can you not love the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, the Cheez-It Bowl? The Tailgater Healing Bowl? Why not rename it Take Two Aspirin And Call Me In The Morning Bowl?

It’s not known or cared who plays in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl and the Tax Act Texas Bowl, but hopefully next year the Shell Corporation Bowl can hold three holiday football games in which concessions are free provided you listen at our halftime timeshare pitch.

Rain, mud and wet rocks took me smoothly from Bill The Grinch to Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl, which just made me hungry. I found a variant that I might like. An option you might say. Like those Annadel streams. I could spend as much time around my thoughts as I wanted. Then I could send them all downriver and out of sight. And I did. Nature is good for that sort of thing.

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