A.C. Snow

There’s money in throwing a football – Snow

Former UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before his workout before NFL scouts in March.
Former UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before his workout before NFL scouts in March. rwillett@newsobserver.com

It’s way too late, but I now realize that I should have majored in football in college. Who am I kidding? I would have been killed.

It’s just that I’m still overwhelmed by the news that former UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky has signed a contract with the Chicago Bears that will enhance his bank account!

In his youth, Mitch no doubt spent a lot of time outdoors honing his skill of heaving footballs. In my youth, I spent time in my room conjugating Latin verbs.

We live in a culture where Latin is as inconsequential as an extra leg on a centipede. and college and professional sports have become a national religion.

I often wonder how someone under 20 years old copes with all the attention, hero worship and the prospect of eventual wealth in which he becomes a multimillionaire overnight. Does it change him? For better? For worse?

Sleeping in public

I commented recently on the phenomenon of sleeping at public events. U.S. District Court Judge Earl Britt noted that it is not so unusual for a juror to fall asleep during a trial.

If allowed, a sleeping juror could result in a guilty verdict being appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“My usual remedy is to stand and stretch and invite the jurors to do so as well,” said Judge Britt. “That works, but occasionally a juror again begins nodding off or falls fast asleep. My remedy then is to stand and silently indicate to the jurors with my hands that they should also. The sleeping juror is left sitting, only to shortly realize that all the others are standing. That usually corrects the problem.”

On a lighter note, reader Gilbert Brown recalls that during his freshman year in college, a fellow student fell asleep during a lecture by a mindless prof who droned on and on in his futile attempt to get us all to write better and more clearly.

“One day, the prof called out to my neighbor, another 18-year-old like me, asking him, ‘Charlie, wake up Fred sitting next to you.’

“My buddy Charlie replied, ‘I don’t know why I should have to wake him up. I didn’t put him to sleep!”

They’re back

My wife was standing in front of the kitchen window on a mid-April morning when the first hummingbird of the season appeared, hovering in space on tiny wings that can flap up to 85 times per second

I’ve just learned that the males of the species migrate first, arriving at their destination some three weeks ahead of the females. I can’t explain this, unless he’s arriving early to case out a nesting site or that she’s reluctant to leave her South American friends.

Anyway, the message was clear. “We’re back! Put out the sweet stuff!’

Planting time

We had not been to the beach in several months, and the siren call of sea and sand was irresistible.

I’m happy to report that both are still there, two of the most stable fixtures in the ever-changing universe. When I gaze out over the Atlantic, I’m always reminded of the comment by author Kay Gibbons’ mom upon confronting the ocean for the first time: “I thought it would be bigger.”

Eastern North Carolina is such a dramatic contrast to my native foothills. I never fail to be startled by the differences.

The sleeping fields seem to stretch endlessly across the tabletop-flat expanse. Here and there, a field is gently greening. Occasionally a house enhances the lonely landscape, stark and alone, like a silent sentinel standing guard over the surrounding acreage.

Very soon the land will teem with activity. Tractors will crawl across the fields, tilling the rich soil that will accommodate cash crops. The once-classic springtime image of man behind mule and plow is a rarity these days. Farming has gone mostly mechanical.

And where cotton was once king, tobacco is still the primary cash crop, followed by soybeans, corn and cotton. Riding across Eastern North Carolina in springtime can be therapy for the soul. And the beach is the bonus at the end of the road.