A moment of clarity in an otherwise drunken evening almost 30 years ago was the decision point at which I abandoned sports. Just a year or so out of high school and still living with my parents while attending nearby “Junior College”, Friday and Saturday nights were reserved for partying. Our idea of “party” usually involved driving our pick-up trucks to an empty field, cranking up the stereo, watching the stars and telling lies as we consumed whatever alcohol we possessed. Even though we were of legal drinking age (18 in FL at the time) we hadn’t mastered proper bar etiquette to feel comfortable holding our place on a bar stool. Most of the bars in our vicinity were somewhat “redneck” where our flare leg Levi cords, longer hair and love of Foghat were out of place amongst work clothes smelling of diesel fuel, crew cuts and Conway Twitty. Our reticence at driving the 15 to 20 miles into Jacksonville to visit more “rock & roll” oriented bars probably saved several of us from DUI charges or worse. One fall Friday evening the gang decided to attend a local high school football game. This meant a drink or two before, exiting during half-time for another and of course several afterward regardless who won. I don’t remember exactly when but I do recall clearly what happened; as I was talking to one of my former high school classmates now turned drinking buddy, some play occurred on the field that resulted in a roar from the local home team crowd and I completely missed it. Without hesitation I said out loud, “that’s OK, I can watch it on instant replay”. For a moment I became complete sober as I realized I was sitting outdoors, on a solid concrete bleacher, in rural north Florida instead of sitting in someone’s living room watching ABC, CBS or NBC. I remember feeling like an idiot. Of course I don’t think anyone around me was clear-headed enough to realize my gaffe otherwise I would have heard about it the rest of the evening.
Within a year I had moved to Orlando to finish school at a University without a football team and a bar within walking distance where the closest thing to country music on the jukebox was the Eagles.