For me, the NFL draft has replaced the emotions and anticipation of my childhood Christmas. I remember as a child counting the days until Christmas, making of list of the toys I wanted, dreaming of the perfect Christmas. Oh, the wonder and drama. The anticipation. The build up. A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s A Wonderful Life. What night does Frosty The Snowman come on? The subtle clues for my parents, not too obvert, but the cleverly folded corners of the important pages in the Sears catalog (the same one that served as my first Playboy by the way).
Now? Meh. Christmas is a hurried rush of activities, a drain on the budget, and an added set of exhausting responsibilities. In the end, it’s worth it, but Christmas lacks the same exhilaration of as when I was kid.
As an adult, I find myself transferring that same enthusiasm to the only holiday for adults in America: the NFL draft. These are the months, weeks, and days where we comb the interwebs, dreaming of the toys we covet, casting our comments like letters to Santa Claus, hoping our subtle messages somehow influence the front office at Paul Brown Stadium.
Then the day arrives. We hover by the living room, minutes ticking, tocking off the clock like ages until Mom and Dad finally emerge from their bedroom to come down the stairs and say, "Houston is on the clock". We gaze with scant control as our brothers and sisters open their gifts. Excitement. Jealousy. A growing belief we may get what we wanted.
It’s our turn, we are on the clock. Five minutes of pure hell while we wait, gaping at the television, like digging at the wrapping job from hell. And then, almost without warning….. the mystery is over. The anticipation is quickly replaced by either elation or disappointment.
Our attention shifts from the last gift to the next. On and on it goes until, sadly, there are no more presents under the tree. Christmas, for all the energy spent hoping and wishing is over too quickly. Later that afternoon we go to our Grandparents to receive some nice, but not exciting gifts. "Yay, we signed another Undrafted Free Agent Linebacker."
When we are finally able, we play with our toys, googling everything we can find, engorging ourselves from the feast of information that becomes available. Afterward we tire warmed by the fire, entranced by dancing candles and the candy lighted tree, listening to hymns of Christmas.
Oh hey! Wait. In a week, there is another Holiday: Rookie Camp.