From 3:00 PM on December 11, 2014, Winter Break started after completing a final exam, time to venture out on the next 4.5 weeks.
- I worked for Fedex Ground since August 2014 and was midway through the peak of holiday season. It’s tough and difficult job to load a trailer that goes to an overnight hub and then divide to three other regions, at least I build on my geography during the time I was working on the trailer for weeks.
- This might be the last of 17 winter breaks I’ve ever been a part of. Real world on deck
- This Winter Break was good to me, I hope it was good to you to
- Highlight of the break: a trip to a college bowl game
- More details to come
- Now on to what has evolved in the past 31 days
I’m seasoned and raised in Cincinnati, but born in New England. There’s the mix with those two, and those two don’t mix well here in the Queen City.
December 13: My Cincinnati Bearcats went out to Lincoln Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers. It took a double Overtime to determine that game and unfortunately, the home team won, bummer. I was at a gig at Bogart’s seeing lifelong friends take the stage to play their Reggae music with some homegrown talent in there. When returning home, the tweets I receive was poor officiating from the Big Ten, it seems that that it is not the first time that conference has “rigged” the Bearcats in officiating, see 2013 Illinois and 2014 Ohio State games…
December 14: It was something every NFL or football fan was waiting for, Johnny Football. The local team, the Cincinnati Bengals, were trying to play spoiler in Johnny Manziel’s debut. Spoiler indeed in a 30-0 victory over the Cleveland Browns. I had a classmate in my latest semester who’s family are season ticket holders for the Browns, no comments regarding Johnny Manziel and the team. I believe that is dedication from that family in the latest drought they have, hoping to see a playoff bound team since 2002. The 22 year old Manziel could bring that one day for the franchise, but it wasn’t that day.
- Note: The New England Patriots won the AFC East that day, 12 division championships in a 14 year span. What team can accomplish that?
December 17: Another day, another Bearcats basketball game, against Mountain West’s best in San Diego State Aztecs. The way these two played, it was going to be what CBS Sports Network analyst Jon Rothstein calls a “Rock fight”. Rock fight indeed, two of the best defenses in the country going at it and it went to Overtime. Somehow and someway, the Bearcats won that game with stops and Aztecs having bad possessions in OT. Bearcats won a game against a team likely to make the NCAA Tournament in March.
December 20: Breaking news from Deadspin, Bearcats basketball coach Mick Cronin is out due to an unruptured aneurysm. I instantly said ‘not good news, but glad he’s ok. His tweet indicated that he was fine, but doctors told him to not coach in today’s game. The late news hurt the team in their game against VCU, which is playing one of the most difficult schedules in the NCAA beat the Bearcats by 20+ points without their leader. VCU coach Shaka Smart and other coaches from around the country had put their thoughts and prayers towards Mick and family.
December 22: It was one of those Mondays where Bengals fans were feeling confident. It was strange to know the fact the Bengals were about to play the best in Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Want to know something about Manning facing the Bengals? Undefeated and 8-0 against them lifetime. Bengals fans were feeling confident, eh? I had to work one of the last days before Christmas packages were being sent to families so I missed one half of that game before stopping at a holiday party. I quickly turn it on to 700WLW and instantly said “What the” after hearing Dan Hoard said the Bengals were leading the Broncos 17-7. Yeah “What!?”, when did they put their big boy pants on in front of America? The Bengals falter at these moments but they weren’t. Upon arriving to the party, I have entered a place with people having high blood pressures hoping to see the Bengals pull off an “upset”. The result was indeed an upset, it took a lucky rainstorm and a pick six to beat the Broncos 37-28.
- Lucky rainstorm refers to beating future Hall of Famers in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, see 2013 Patriots
- Thank you Bengals for giving the Patriots Homefield Advantage in the playoffs
December 26: Nothing sports related, but it did deal with a sport. Waking up at 6 A.M. on Winter Break, ugh, twice. I was heading up with 200+ UC students to Maryland for the football matchup of the Cincinnati Bearcats and Virginia Tech Hokies (yeah that team that shocked the world on
). The 9 hour drive summary included a guy on the ride to Baltimore on Tinder (why do that on a roadtrip? Feeling lucky?), being “The Real MVP” in bringing DVDs of Comedy Cults, and having rude services at the legendary Dick’s Last Resort (I’ll go again). Following that, I had venture out to Inner Harbor and treated myself to a large Creamery cup at Marble Slab creamery, it was worth it. Only thing sports about this day was watching UC’s conference member UCF facing NC State in the Bitcoin Bowl in Tampa, Florida. I wouldn’t mind the beach, but Baltimore is historic and had good weather all around.
December 27: It’s gameday, wake up at 6 AM for a 1 PM kickoff. It was all good for me, but it wasn’t good for those who struggled to wake up that early to attempt to do an all-nighter. The overall experience was fun, the bowl atmosphere and tailgating was good all around. Once stepping into Navy-Memorial Corps Stadium in Annapolis, the amount of Hokies fans entering the stadium easily trumped Bearcats fans. For what it’s worth, Virginia Tech is 4.5 hours away from Annapolis versus the 9 hours away from Cincinnati. Once the Bearcats came out of the tunnel, the Hokies were next, it went like this
. Also, made it on to ESPN (finally)
Despite the result, 33-17 Virginia Tech, the bowl experience is awesome. I advise anyone to take part in these festivities. Even had a classy Virginia Tech student said good game and “played hard”.
The actual game for your entertainment:
December 28: After returning home from Baltimore at 5 A.M. local time (3 stops overnight: 1 driver switch and 2 hour drives and two breaks, should of arrived home at 3 A.M.), the only thing that mattered in the city of Cincinnati is this Bengals-Steelers game. A division title on the line, who wants it? I see the potential of seeing it as first place plays Patriots-Colts next season versus second place playing Bills-Texans. I’ll take second place for 400 Alex. Both teams were in the playoffs regardless of results, why raise the blood pressure. Want to win the home game Bengals? How was 2005, 2009 and 2013. My belief for this Bengals team is to focus on winning a playoff game, regardless of venue. My wish was received, I get to see the Bengals play the Colts for the second time and not face the hot Baltimore Ravens (R.I.P. Steelers).
December 30: Bearcats basketball returns to action with a big non conference game in North Carolina State (return the favor home-and-home). This was homecoming for Freshman player Gary Clark (Clayton, NC). Homecoming was good and the ‘Cats dominated in both halves to win 76-60.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
January 1: Only two games mattered this day, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. I watched both and the Rose Bowl became a big disappointment after the third quarter. I was calling draw on Oregon-Florida State, didn’t have a particular favorite with this matchup, but watching Oregon play makes them the favorite to win the inaugural College Football playoff. On to the Sugar Bowl, Alabama and Ohio State. It’s a struggle to be taking in Ohio State fans due to the fact they had a blowout win against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship and faced number one Alabama, who had played quality teams throughout the season versus OSU. Not much will be said, but Ohio State came in and defied the odds of playing as underdog and made the plays that mattered to advance in the National Championship.
January 4: The day that Bengals fans wanted to say “We finally won a playoff game”. This will be short, they didn’t win and will have to wait another 52 weeks to win that playoff game. At least they’re not the Chiefs and Lions who have a long playoff drought but made more than 6 playoff appearances without that win.
January 10: Two big games for me personally, Bearcats basketball and the Patriots. Bearcats were in Connecticut to face UCONN while Patriots were taking in the Baltimore Ravens, who ended their chance of playing in a Super Bowl in 2013. Bearcats were playing lot of defense and poor ball handling led to turnovers and easy points for UCONN, it’s one that makes them shoot themselves in the foot. It’s ok, Memphis is next on the schedule. Patriots, oh man, I had faith that Tom Brady and company would get it done. In the first three quarters, it looked like the Ravens were going to make their run to either Indianapolis or Denver. Unfortunately for Joe Flacco and the Ravens, the defense compiled two big turnovers for points and a few stops to beat the Ravens 35-31. Gotta thank those Bengals for making the Conference Championship be played in New England, only time to love ya.
Lot of Bearcats basketball to take in now and hope to claim a ticket for the Crosstown Shootout against the Xavier Musketeers. It hurts not to be able to go to games with 2nd shift, but hope for every opportunity to go. March Madness is going to be played in Louisville, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Syracuse (extended family) and Indianapolis. I might take my Spring Break in the first three cities, who wouldn’t want to do a 3 city tour in 3 days? This is to be determined with weather still being “Winter”. Anyone got Farmers Almanac forecast?