My journey to purchase Bengals balloons ended in disappointment
There I was Saturday, my birthday, stopping into a Party City with the family on a mission to find Super Bowl basement party supplies only to find out that at 1 p.m. that Party City was officially sold out of Bengals balloons. Every single Bengals balloon in the place had been purchased. Even the Bengals balloon bouquet displays had been purchased.
Needless to say, I wasn't expecting such a run on Bengals balloons 3 1/2 hours north of Cincinnati, but here we are with NW Ohio catching the fever.
"You could buy the Rams balloons and pop one each time the Bengals score," the sales girl said.
Great idea, but I really didn't want anything Rams entering my house this weekend. I don't want Rams fans in my house, Rams balloons flying in the house, Rams tweets on my phone or Rams Instagram models popping up on my algorithm.
So the ultimate decision was made to get the kids some orange and black balloons to set the mood as we prepare for what could be the last time these boys see the Bengals in a Super Bowl until they're my age.
We must focus today. Let the magnitude sink in. Shut out all the noise.
How will that be accomplished? By not reading the social media offerings from the national pundits who are waiting in the weeds to gang up on the Bengals franchise. They have tweets drafted to crush the Bengals' offensive line. They have Eli Apple tweets sitting there ready to send.
I have to close out that noise today. (My brain is telling me "DON'T LOOK AT YOUR PHONE!")
As you know by now, the Bengals have started slow throughout the playoffs. I'll be doing breathing exercises early in the first quarter. Remember, they have Evan McPherson. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Don't worry about your squares. DON'T LOOK AT YOUR PHONE!
My journey as a sports fan could change forever tomorrow morning. I'm going to let the football gods do their thing and let the chips fall where they may.
That said, I have McPherson kicking the game-winner.
• Speaking of staying calm, I received a message from Mike T. and Cindy T., who are on the move in Mexico. No, they're not smuggling drugs, just changing locations.
Moved to Mazatlan from Puerto Vallarta today ,9 hours on a Mexican bus! View from our new condo digs on Cerritos Beach in Mazatlan.
Just wanted to say “ Go Bengals “ We’ll be rooting here in Mazatlan with some smoked tuna tostadas and guacamole (and a lot of Pacifico's)
Enjoy the day brother!
• Tom H. in Fort Wayne, IN writes:
Short and sweet…I’ll be pulling for YOU and YOUR Bengals today. Have a fun one! Predict Bengals win 23-21.
• Dave C. writes:
I’ll be rooting for Bengals tomorrow, and will be smoking my cigar as they crush the rams.
Los Angeles 27
• Speaking of staying calm, how about Brad M. spending a nice, casual day in Kannapolis, NC:
We have similar geographical backgrounds even if our rooting interests differ.
You may have other things on your mind this weekend, to understate it slightly, but I had occasion to be in Kannapolis NC today. After seeing a Dale Earnhardt photo conclude every one of your articles I got the impression you might be a fan. And so, I parked and walked and took photos 'for Joe' even though we've never met. It didn't hurt that the weather was sparkling.
Kannapolis seems to have retained its charm and avoided the worst excesses of modernity - or at least has kept it at arm's length.
Of course, it is Earnhardt's hometown and there is a plaza and a statue honoring the hometown icon. The sculpture is impressive in its capture of his spirit and persona and in its attention to detail: Wrangler jeans complete with W stitching, Gargoyle sunglasses in shirt pocket and reptile skin cowboy boots.
Thank you Brad & all the other emailers who kept the mood calm around here this morning. Now it's time to unfurl the football field rug that I bought for the kids, bust out the Bengals napkins, light a candle for Sam Wyche and BREATHE!
Here we go with the final football Sunday of the season. No matter your rooting interests have a great day. I'm off to shut off the noise.