The first signs of Spring are found in the month of February. Surprise!!! February 2nd is Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil [famous groundhog from Punxsutawney, PA] is rudely aroused from his sleep and forcibly dragged out of his den and flung around in circles, in order to see if he can see his shadow. If Phil does not see his shadow, the last half of Winter will be shorter than six weeks. If Phil does see his shadow there will be six or more weeks of Winter. [With all the bright lights and flashing cameras, I can’t see how Phil could ever miss seeing his shadow.] No matter how many weeks of Winter are left, at least we can anticipate that Spring is just around the corner. [The cute little groundhog pictured above is not the famous Punxsutawney Phil, but groundhog “Anonymous.” This groundhog will awaken from its hibernation whenever it wants, without any fanfare or frivolity or blinding lights. I have a feeling this groundhog prefers it this way.] Groundhog Day does not use any scientific method. It’s just a good opportunity for the anticipation of the coming Spring.
While Pennsylvania has Punxsutawney Phil, true NEW ENGLAND SPORTS FANS have the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS! On February 5th we had the awesome privilege of watching Super Bowl LI, the most exciting Super Bowl ever played in its history! Personally, I was in the “SHOCK ‘N AWE! The PATS made the most incomprehensible comeback in Super Bowl history by destroying a 25 point deficit. They were behind until the last four minutes of the game, when tied the game and and went to overtime; another Super Bowl first. The NE PATRIOTS WON SUPER BOWL LI, over the Atlanta Falcons, with the score of 34 to 28, making Tom Brady the winningest QB in SB history and Bill Belichick tied with Vince Lombardi, both having won FIVE SUPER BOWLS. When SB LI was over, I just couldn’t believe what I just witnessed on live TV. I had to watch NFL NETWORK’S replay of the game [which I DVR-ed] 3 times before it began to sink in. The Duck Boat Parade, held in Boston, on February 7th finally convinced me that it was true; I wasn’t dreaming. The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS WERE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN THIS SHORT CENTURY!!! If football had to end, this was the best ending of the football season ever! It’s time to look ahead toward Spring. The game also taught me a lesson: NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
The day after the Duck Boat Parade, February 8th, TRUCK DAY was celebrated by RED SOX NATION. On TRUCK DAY the RED SOX equipment truck is packed up and begins its long journey to the Spring Training Facility [Jet Blue Park], in Fort Meyers, Florida. The truck arrives at its destination three or four days later. Pitchers and catchers arrive on February 13th, position players arrive on February 17th and the first Spring Training game is on the February 25th. Spring Training Baseball will be played almost every day from February 25th through the month of March. OPENING DAY [April 3rd] will be here before we know it! Truck Day is the time when the FENWAY FAITHFUL start their count down to Spring. You might say, “Truck Day gets the BALL ROLLING!”
Now, I know there other important dates in February – Lincoln’s Birthday on Feb. 12th and Washington’s Birthday on Feb. 22nd [Both birthdays are celebrated on Feb. 20th.] and there is also Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14th. These are all notable dates to acknowledge and celebrate. However, they do not help me to think of Spring as does the end of football and the start of Baseball’s Spring Training. This is how I look at life. What helps you think Spring?
There is something else I am waiting for.
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid before me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” [II Timothy 4:7-8].