Sitting here watching the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets play out the 2009 AFC Championship. Another season, another conference title weekend ... another year removed the last time my team played for the right to go to the Super Bowl.
And as seems to happen more and more as I get a little older, I find myself thinking back ...
Junior year, Virginia Tech. I'm 22, full of the hubris of youth, a sense of immortality ... and beer. I'm with friends--Redskins fans--at the apartment of one of our gang.
The winning had started in the middle of the 1981 season; the Redskins finishing 8-3 after an 0-5 start under new head coach Joe Gibbs. The 1982 season had featured a month-long strike after a 2-0 start, and when the season resumed, the Redskins rolled to an 8-1 regular season record and entered the playoffs on a roll.
The only blemish on their record? A sobering 24-10 Game 5 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Yeah, those Dallas Cowboys.
As fate would have it, however, those same Cowboys would come swaggering into RFK Stadium again, on January 23, 1983, for the NFC Championship, with their bags already packed for a trip to the Super Bowl (don't believe it? ask Joe Gibbs).
If you're old enough to remember, I suspect that for you, like me, that day seems both yesterday and a hundred years ago. I also suspect the feelings you ended up experiencing that day aren't far beneath the surface ... they're lurking there, patient, silent, biding their time.
If you're not old enough to have been a part of that magical day, I can only hope that these images convey in some meaningful way. And continue to hope, in all sincerity, the day will come when you will get to experience something like this live.
It stays with you a lifetime.