Give Me the Sanctuary of the NFL

Glenn CardSenior Analyst ISeptember 2, 2009

It’s been a tough NFL offseason for me. From the time the Super Bowl ended then through the free agency announcements and NFL draft I’ve been waiting and anticipating the beginning of the regular season games.

Due to the many mandatory furlough days I have been required to take this summer I have had too much time to reflect on this offseason as I lay on the beach.

You see I have a small get away cottage on the Rhode Island coast.

It’s always been a sanctuary for me. A place separated from my work-week grind; a place where everything else is forgotten. No television and no phone service are allowed; I thought it was a good idea long ago.

It’s not a grand place; it’s just a beach shack really. But for 20 years now it’s been my Shangri-La.

Usually it’s only a place to change into our swim suits, cook and eat our meals and eventually lay our heads down for sleep in anticipation of the next sunny day.

I’ve spent a lot of time down here at the beach this year because of those said furlough days I mentioned.

It has not been the same this year. There’s been to much foul weather and not enough sun.

I’ve spent far too much time in-doors in this little shack. The 16 foot by 20 foot dimensions only allow for personal space of two feet around your immediate proximity when the whole family is down.

Normally it’s not a problem as on the good days everyone is either on the deck or already down on the beach where your personal space is really as large as you can imagine it.

Well, as I said the weather, for the most part, hasn’t been conducive to outdoor living.

It’s a family affair when we travel to the beach shack. But with the weather this year as you might imagine with the whole family cooped up in the cottage you start to get on each others nerves.

For the most part I get along with my mother-in-law but leave me sharing the same space with her for more than an hour or two and the verbal sniping starts. Once we get going our tones turn chilly and our mannerisms become combative.

It will get to the point where the rest of the family will demand that we both go to neutral corners of the room to prevent an unsanctioned UFC match between us. I’m dying to put her into a sleeper hold.

I love my kids but when you are this close to them on an hourly basis you really start wonder where you went wrong as a parent.

The boy, he’s normally away at college but of course he returns home after classes are done and that means he becomes a piece of useless furniture around the house. He’s like the chair that takes up way too much space and nobody can sit in, the one you can’t throw away because of sentimental reasons.

The girl as well returns from college wanting to share stories of college escapades that no father I know of would want to associate with their little girl. I finally told her write it all down and put the stories in a book form. Buy a large postal envelope and seal the book inside.

Mail it to me in about 20 years and then, maybe, I’ll be able to read through it without losing my mind.

Bless my wife for keeping me from going ballistic on them all. She understands me.

She’ll try to distract me by asking questions about the latest NFL trade talks or are there any rookie hold outs because contract agreements aren’t signed. Not that she even know what those questions mean.

She knows that it is in her best interest to talk me down and prevent the family scandal of having my picture plastered in the local news papers. She must have visions of headlines reading “Sports Starved Father Goes Berserk on Local Beach.”

Thank the NFL sports gods that summer is nearly over. The kids are back to college and the mother-in-law is back in the old folks home where she belongs.

I can get back to a real life; a life where I am not constantly looking for a break in the clouds so that I can step outside; a life that doesn’t include frozen drinks with cute pink umbrellas.

Fall is nearly here. The NFL training camp and preseason is nearly complete.

I can pack up and lock the door on this little cottage once more. I’ll be saying “good riddance” as I brush the beach sand from feet.

The hell with the beach, give me my NFL schedule and the television clicker.

Now that’s relaxation.