Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On New Years and Change

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Some traditions seem to die hard with me...especially around New Years Day.

For instance, as a wannabe sports broadcaster growing up in the late 60's and early 70's I was very aware of the Bowl Game lineup and the announcers on television for each of the Bowl games. It was Lindsey Nelson on the Cotton Bowl on CBS in the morning. Curt Gowdy on the Rose Bowl in the afternoon and Jim Simpson on the Orange Bowl in the evening (both on NBC). That Bowl lineup was like it was etched in stone when I was a kid.

It was as traditional as eating Black Eyed Peas on New Years.

And before all those Bowl Games it was the Rose Parade with a gentleman by the name of Bill Welsh doing the commentary on KTTV Channel 11.

I would stay with my Grandmother every New Years night and into the evening of New Years Day when our entire family would gather. On New Years morning I would get up early and run to her front yard to pick up the Los Angeles Times. There we could see the Parade lineup so we could follow along when the Parade started.

But before all the parade festivities and the bowl games....shortly before midnight on New Years I would stay up with my Grandmother and flip between the Johnny Carson Show and the Guy Lombardo show on television. Shortly before midnight Grandma Liesch would go to her cupboards and pull out some pots and pans. She would apologize for not having any fire crackers but she told me "We gotta make some noise...let's go" and we would go outside and rattle those pots and pans as vigorously and as loud as possible at midnight.

I can't remember when this all changed, but like everything I suppose it was a gradual process.

Fast forward forty three years later.

Johnny Carson, Guy Lombardo, Bill Welsh, Kurt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, and my Grandma Liesch are no longer with us anymore. And Jim Simpson has been retired for a long time.

I picked up the Los Angeles Times on Saturday morning. Instead of seeing the Parade Lineup (because there is now an ap for that)...there was an article about how most of the flowers on the Rose Parade floats aren't even grown in California. As a lot of things in my home state of California, like jobs and businesses, this has been apparently outsourced to foreign countries or out of state.

I was in the car yesterday doing some errands and was listening to the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl. I realized that the main announcer on the game was a woman. She was doing a great job and this has been done since 2000 when Pam Ward first did it but I still miss Kurt Gowdy and Lindsey Nelson with his southern drawl and loud psychedelic suits that I swear he was just wearing to mess with the CBS producers and Technical Directors.

Speaking of Bowl Games, the Cotton Bowl isn't even played on New Years anymore.

And about all these sponsors for the bowl games. They never had that back in the Day.

If you are going to do that, at least match up the sponsor with the bowl game. The only sponsor that sort of matches up is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The rest don't match up. Not even close. Like what does Auto Zone have to do with Liberty? Or what does Vizio have to do with Roses? Wouldn't you rather see the Sunkist Orange Bowl or the Hanes Cotton Bowl or the Jackson & Perkins Rose Bowl or the C&H Sugar Bowl?

One thing about the Fiesta Bowl. I remember watching that game on TV when I was a kid in the late 60's when it was played on a torn up dirt and grass patch somewhere in the Arizona desert. They would televise it on one of the low budget independent stations...channel 13. It was the ugliest game to watch especially if you had to watch it in black and white like I did. When did this turn into the premiere Bowl game? Now the game is played in a state of the art stadium where they roll out the turf and reseed before every game and the game is viewed by millions and the fans watch in air conditioned comfort of a domed stadium.

My New Years had morphed into new traditions like spending New Years with 10,000 of my closest friends in our town's First Night Celebration and watching a firework extravaganza at midnight (until they took that away this year), having family over at the house for barbeque, and watching movies with my family on New Years Day instead of football and a parade.

As much as I long for the good old days of New Years past, in the end, I guess the biggest tradition of New Years Day is change and starting in a new direction. So I did something entirely different this year.

This year I watched Videos of classic Guy Lombardo and Johnny Carson New Years Shows, old Rose Parades, old Cotton, Rose and Orange Bowls (with no corporate sponsorship) and I banged pots and pans at midnight. Then I ate some Black Eyed Peas for Good Luck.

Happy New Year Everybody!

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