First is the road trip to Ohio.
Avoiding a wedding
in Washington, D.C.
is a good excuse
for a road trip to Ohio.
Sure there's lots to do in D.C. but
if you've fallen
out of touch with the bride
and you don't even know
which team she roots for
or if she roots at all
she's not the kind of friend
you want riding shotgun
because getting to the
Football Hall of Fame
isn't just about
putting together maps
and booking rooms.
It's knowing that when
one of you starts snarling
it's time to pull over for food
and that singing along to the radio
better not bother you.
It's about picking up where you left off
not getting acquainted all over again or
being on your best behavior
with people you don't know anymore
because you can't just say “maybe”
to the Hall of Fame.
When it's the 40th Anniversary
and Enshrinement Weekend,
they make you commit.
You have to buy tickets
months in advance and
get to Canton in time to
park at the fairgrounds
and catch the shuttle to the stadium
for the ceremonies and then
you sit for three hours
in the pouring rain to watch the
Hall of Famers take the stage
and see each new enshrinee
have his moment of
acknowledgement and joy.
You can't just “not mind” being there --
you can't think of any other place you'd rather be.
It's a pilgrimage.
It's sharing a pinnacle with someone
you've rooted for and envied
and admired for so many years
with the people who feel the same way.
And while some people would say
that's what a wedding is,
at least at the Hall of Fame
you don't have to worry about
what you're going to wear
how much you weigh
finding a date or
what your (non) career is.
You can just sit back in your stadium seat
pull your plastic poncho hood tighter
and cry and laugh and cheer
with the two women
you've survived
more than your share of road trips with.