Umm, excuse me, NCAA officials? I’ve you’ve got a sec between now and Monday’s championship game, I’ve got a question for you: Is this whole college football playoffs on New Year’s Eve going to become a thing?
If so, you need to tell me.
I’ve already forfeited New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2021 and 2022 to football. Should I go ahead and plan to spend every Dec. 31 from here on out with my iPad and endless rounds of Solitaire while the men in my life yell at the television?
If I start preparing now, maybe in 11 months, I’ll have come to terms with giving up one of my favorite holidays. After all, it’s been a good run.
I’ve had memorable celebrations going all the way back to when I was a kid, when Mama and Daddy let us stay up past midnight.
In 1978, Lisa Jane Boyd and I had a sleepover and went to see “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with Peter Frampton and Barry Gibb at the old Delta Theater. After falling in love with the music from the movie, I went out and bought the double-album soundtrack with the Bee Gees, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Billy Preston and Earth, Wind & Fire. Years later, I scored a copy of the album by that other Sgt. Pepper’s band.
New Year’s Eve 1983 found me exploring the French Quarter with my Auburn bandmates as we prepared for the Sugar Bowl. It was unusually cold that year, with lows in the 20s. Unable to get a cab back to our hotel in Metairie, several of us piled into the back of a trumpet player’s El Camino and huddled together to keep from freezing.
OK, college football played a part in that celebration, but it had the good graces to hold off a day or two before taking over.
I said goodbye to 1999 at a house party in Cocoa Beach wearing an evening dress and an up-do. We danced to Prince and waited for a computer-induced catastrophe that never materialized.
2011 turned to 2012 with a celebration of love at a beautiful wedding reception.
In the years since, there have been rowdy bashes, beach bonfires and elegant multi-course dinner parties with champagne toasts.
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In recent years, we’ve pub-crawled through Cocoa Village, counting down the final seconds of the old year as fireworks lit up the far banks of the Indian River.
There’s hope. I found a 2016 story on Sports Media Watch that said playoffs will be scheduled for New Year’s Eve only when it falls on a Friday or Saturday, thanks to dismal TV ratings in previous years.
Even if that doesn’t come to pass, perhaps it’s time to act my age and settle into a calmer, more sedate New Year’s Eve celebration. Champagne will taste just as bubbly if I’m wearing pajamas instead of Spanx.
So NCAA, go ahead if you must. Schedule your playoffs on Dec. 31. My friends can enjoy the evening watching the games, and I’ll be OK spending that night with my dog.
Now that that’s settled, is there anybody I can talk to about moving the Super Bowl a little further away from my birthday?
Suzy Fleming Leonard is a features journalist with more than three decades of experience. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard.