The last nostalgia kick I felt over the course of the weekend was on the final stretch of I-35 headed towards the Twin Cities. Having some Taco Bell, listening to indie rock on satellite radio, and just cruising through fields made me forget for a bit if I was 16 or 36. It was a refreshing end to a reasonably enjoyable trip, and it one of many times over the course of the three days that I looked back wistfully at a number of pointless things I used to love. Towards the top of the list was something that I had just enjoyed a few hours earlier while coasting along towards the poorly-named hamlet in Iowa of Floyd: being in pretty much the middle of nowhere, looking off into the distance, and watching the weather roll in. While it may take hours for the changes to arrive, it can feel even longer sometimes. Anticipation builds for something different and exciting, and that’s a wonderful feeling even if you don’t always know what that “something different” is.
The downside to looking off into the horizon while driving, as opposed to from the front porch of your parents’ house, is that you’re trapped. You can only go where the car takes you, and that path is restricted by where the road takes you. More than once in that endless stretch of pavement and empty fields between Iowa City and Minneapolis I thought that it was a wonderful comparison to what we’re watching right now. Gopher fans can see something coming in the distance and we know it’s different, but there’s nothing we can do about it right now. The team will continue to struggle to one-score games because we’re waiting for a change in humidity or wind or QB or WRs. All we can do is be patient and talk to those who are there with us with us about whatever strikes our fancy, like missed opportunities, recruiting, a trip to Zihuatanejo in March to unwind or a Malaysia with your wonderful new boyfriend because you can, and even how you can find a way to relate to something out of nearly every country music song. It can feel like it’s taking forever, but all that crap about the journey is the destination is all part of being a fan. We can cling on to all the little small things that give us hope while ignoring other glaring things that should give us pause. And besides, those of us who have been through all the crap of the last decade and are still around probably aren’t worried too much about what’s coming. We’ve seen all sorts of horrible things, and are just clinging to hope that whatever is coming next will help the roses grow.