Monday, December 30, 2013

Football Tutor Wanted

Although it's nearly a year away, my college roommate and I already are talking about getting tickets for the 2014 Lafayette-Lehigh game, which will be the 150th meeting of the two teams, and is the most played college rivalry in the country.  The game is slated for Yankee Stadium, which is, compared to either Lafayette or Lehigh, right in my backyard, and, best of all, easily accessible by public transportation.

Yesterday when I checked the Lafayette Leopards' official athletic site, however, I found this message:

The initial allotment of tickets for the 150th Lafayette-Lehigh football game, hosted by Lafayette at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at 3:30pm, have been exhausted.  Additional tickets have been requested from the Yankees.
Class of 2014 will be considered students for the 150th -You will be able to purchase when the student allotment goes on sale in April.

Aside from the fact that we can't yet get tickets (never mind that there's a grammatical error in the text of the message), I have another problem:  despite possessing a fine liberal arts education from one of the aforementioned schools, I don't understand the first thing about how football is played.

When I attended football games in high school--generally only on Thanksgiving, when Franklin played Piscataway, its arch rival, in a homecoming match-up--friends repeatedly would attempt to explain the basics to me, but as I told them each year after the game, "By the time I figured out which way Franklin was supposed to be running, they were supposed to be running the other way."  Despite my best efforts and exceedingly competent tutoring, I just never seemed to catch on.

Sadly, I'm not overly optimistic that the NFL's Beginner's Guide to Football, Football Rules and Basics for Dummies, or Football 101 - The Basics of Football will be of much help.

My best hope when it comes to learning about football between now and next November is that a few friends and acquaintances who are fans of this crazy, confusing game, and also happen to hold the title "rav," (which, in its purest sense, means "teacher"), might be willing to step up to the plate (I know, I know, that's baseball terminology) to teach me the basics of football as though it was the aleph bet.

What do you say, rabbinic football fans?  Are you up for the challenge?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Letter to Chicago

Dear Chicago,

As I noted in a recent post, "I've visited Barrow, AK, but never Chicago, IL, except to change planes at O'Hare."  I think it's time that we finally meet IRL, and I'd like to check your calendar to see if there are some dates later this winter or in the spring that might be good for a visit.
There are lots of things I'd like to build into my itinerary, but it certainly will come as no surprise that at the top of my list will be seeing Phyllis and her family.  Even if there's nothing to say but "Hinneni" (as thousands of us have been doing--from near and far--for the last 18 months), I can hold her hand, hug her close, share her pain. If the weather's OK, maybe she, Michael and the kids will be willing to show me some sights--the zoo, a museum, or the skaters at Millennium Park. Or, maybe we'll spend an afternoon just hanging out in the kitchen that her pictures always portray as so very warm and inviting.

I'm hopeful that the timing also will allow me to visit with Rachel Roth, Stacey Zisook Robinson, Janine Mileaf, Stephanie Fink, Barb Leibson Shimansky, and Kate Heilman--as well as include tourist stops at the Art Institute of Chicago, the John Hancock Observatory, Wrigley Field, and an authentic Chicago deep dish pizza spot, the specifics of which I'll leave to the locals. (When my parents visited Chicago in the mid-1980s for a cousin's wedding, my mom brought home a pretty bangle bracelet for me from Marshall Field's.  Too bad that's not still a tourist spot...)

So what do you say, Chicago?  Please check your calendar and let me know what might work for you.  I'll set up a fare alert for LGA to ORD, pull out a hat, warm boots, and my mittens (even though I'm at that stage of life that makes it totally unnecessary for me even to button my coat in New York City), and hope we can make this visit a reality.

I look forward to an opportunity to follow the "Ground Transportation/Exit" signs at ORD and to seeing you (and my friends who live near you) sometime in the next few months.

~ Jane.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Teachable Moment

I don't fancy myself a Jewish educator, but earlier today, I had a great opportunity to participate in a teachable moment

It started last night when Richard, a friend from way back in middle school, left me a voice mail message seeking my thoughts on an appropriate gift for a bat mitzvah.  He noted that he most often "defaults" to money, but thought I might have a better handle on the topic.

This coming Saturday, he and his wife will pick me up at the Metuchen train station so I can ride with them to Temple Har Shalom, where the eldest daughter of a third friend will become bat mitzvah.

By the time I listened to his message, it was too late to call back, so I responded with a text, and the conversation took off from there:

My Jewish educator friends need not worry.  I'm not giving up my day job!