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Quality Time

The Virginia Tech football team is again squaring off with Open Date. It is perhaps not an altogether bad time for this old foe to pop up on the schedule; after all, the team is bound to still be a little shell-shocked after last weekend’s smackdown at the hands of the Canes. They can probably put it to good use. That is all well and good for the team, but what about me?

Once again, I am grappling with an old question: what exactly is it that people do on fall weekends when they are not traveling all over the countryside to Tech games? It is a vexing question that has perplexed me for over a quarter of a century now.

Apparently there are billions of people around the globe who are not watching all Tech games in person. They have to be finding some way of spending their weekends, although the stratospheric ratings of last Saturday’s Tech-Canes game would indicate that quite a few million spent last Saturday night in front of their television watching the Miami defense make short work of MVToo’s aura of invincibility. That still left maybe six billion or so forced to find some other activity to fill their weekend. What they were doing has always been what has eluded me.

Not anymore. These days I seem to have become involved with a young lady who is rapidly attaining what is sometimes known as ‘significant other’ status. She has been a very good sport about my weekend football-watching activities that involve a little more than simply propping myself up on a couch in front of a television. Certainly she has indulged me with a far better humor than did the one before her, or the one before her, the one before her, the one before her, the one before her or even the one before her. This one might be a keeper.

The answer to that troublesome question of what to do on weekends when Tech is not playing is that I will spend a weekend with her. Yep, it will be Quality Time. Assuming that all of our surviving parents make it a few more hours among the quick, we will be heading out of town. While I have been doing that quite a lot these fall weekends, this time the view in the passenger’s seat will be much more pleasing on the eyes.

Once we had decided to go away for the weekend, the immediate question became where? We were discussing this at length over dinner in a local Japanese restaurant, comparing various destinations, when I had an inspiration.

Among our communal table of eight were two young ladies. When between courses, one asked the other, “Would you care to join me in the Ladies’ Room?” I had an answer. Unfortunately, my cocked eyebrow caught the attention of my companion and before I could even remark that we now know what goes on when two young ladies head to the rest room I had received an elbow to the ribs.

My suggestion of traveling to Charlotte to watch a Carolina Panthers game did not go over particularly well. It was pointed out, correctly, that I am not a big fan of NFL football, finding its tedious nature altogether too dull when compared to the exciting college variety. My response that we might find some things or bodies on the sideline worth watching did not bring a positive response. So much for that.

I then proposed a weekend sojourn to a Florida destination, Tampa, maybe. My companion is fond of hanging around bars and nightclubs and I have heard good things about a place called Banana Joe’s. While there are reports that the facilities for ladies are inadequate, causing long waits that are likely to be exacerbated this weekend by the numbers of guys milling around the door hoping to catch a glimpse of what goes on inside, I was sure this minor inconvenience could be overcome. This submission did not receive a positive response, either. Go figure.

I then received what I considered to be a bolt of inspiration. My young lady is a former Virginia Tech cheerleader. This was a number of years ago and she has admitted to having lost touch with her cheerleading companions. This would be an opportune time for a reunion. There was bound to be another young lady from that squad whom she desired to see again. The three of us could get together along with several gallons of margaritas, her inhibition-shedder of choice. As hard as it might be to believe, this idea also did not go over well. I was tapped out.

With no further ideas of my own, I could offer no legitimate resistance to her suggestion that we spend a weekend alone, just the two of us, far away from football stadia or parking lots, or even cheerleaders with drunken lesbian proclivities. If I have to, I have to. We will muddle through.

While Tech is not playing this weekend, it seems the rest of the ACC is. There are some fairly interesting games that I will not be watching. Down in Blue Heaven, Carolina will be hosting Maryland. This game has enormous implications for the Muffler Bowl in Charlotte. Given that the Heels are hosting Duke next week, a win over the Terps guarantees a second straight bowl bid for 4-4 Carolina. If Big John Bunting can milk a bowl game out of this lightly-talented group of Heels, he has my vote for Coach of the Year, if I had one. With games against Fredo and NC State coming up after their Kenan trip, Ralph Friedgen had darn well better win this one. A second straight losing season is staring the Fridge in the stomach, not exactly what they had in mind around College Park when they handed out that huge contract.

A rejuvenated NC State team travels to Chestnut Hill to face Fredo. Also at 4-4 and with a pending game against some Locational Tennessee, the Pack can stake their Charlotte claim with a win over the slumping Eagles. The best news for State, outside of Chuck Amato having finally decided to run an offense that maximizes his available talent, is that the game is not being played at Carter-Finley. State is 0-3 in the ACC at home, but have notched big conference wins at Georgia Tech and Florida State. This would be an opportune time for another.

The Hoos begin their drive to Boise by hosting Georgia Tech. Returning to the home of the blue field and Hoo collapses might be a little tricky this year, even if algroh’s bunch becomes bowl eligible with a win over the Jackets. It is looking a lot like the ACC might have more teams eligible for bowls than his has places to send them. History teaches us, several times, Hoo gets left out when that is the case. Hoo can forget old George loudly fuming about his lousy fan support the last time it happened [1997]?

There is the question of which Hoos will take the field Saturday. Something may or may not have happened in Hooville that may or may not impact the depth chart. In his usual forthcoming style that causes those warm relations with the media, algroh promises to tell everybody what has happened and Hoo is suspended unless he is not.

Death Valley will be the setting for another Bowden Bowl. Pa Bowden is fresh off another loss to Prodigal Chuck, certainly a source of amusement where I’m sitting if not in the Florida panhandle. Tommy Boy, sporting yet another 5-4 display of mediocrity and with a Visor [Boy] in his future, really needs to beat Daddy to clinch a bowl berth and not pour any more fuel on the fire at the Esso Club.

Tickets will be scarce around Groves Stadium this weekend when Wake hosts Miami. They will, of course, be those to the Joel Center. There will be plenty for anybody who might want to watch the Canes tune up for Jacksonville. Only at a North Carolina ACC school will people be scalping basketball tickets outside a football stadium. Duke solved that problem by having the Tech game moved to earlier in the season. Students already camping at K-ville won’t have their mood spoiled by being forced to catch sight of any football players.

That is a lot of football I won’t be watching. I won’t even be anywhere near football, as my final suggestion that perhaps we could spend Saturday evening around Franklin Street discovering if and where any of that ‘other’ Carolina’s cheerleaders might be auditioning to join the Top Cats was rejected out of hand. Oh, well, it won’t be so bad. I have an idea that Quality Time will be fun.

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