Punxsutawney Phil and XLI

Somehow, the two are related. 

Phil the Groundhog says that spring is just around the corner.  If you want to read his official forecast, you can find it at the Greetings from Punxsutawney page.  IfPrairie_dog_empire
you’re further west from Punxsutawney, PA, you may be curious if prairie dogs ran from their shadows or ventured out into a shadow-free field on this year’s Prairie Dog day. 

Prairie Dog Day?  Since about 2002, various wildlife groups from prairie states have rallied around naming February 2nd "Prairie Dog Day" in honor of the western, furry, burrowing and threatened rodent.  The Center for Native Ecosystems, Forest Guardians, and Boulder Regional Group seek more protection for the prairie dogs.

Paul A. Johnsgard, winner of the 2004 National Conservation Achievement Award and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 (both awards are sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation), talks about the history and life of the prairie dogs as well as their importance to the Great Plains’ ecosystem in the surprisingly accessible Prairie Dog Empire: A Saga of the Shortgrass Prairie.

What does Groundhog/Prairie Dog day have to do with Super Bowl XLI?  Well, they both are signs of the ending winter and the impending spring. 

This year, Super Bowl XLI is exciting for two reasons: both of the contenders are midwestern teams and both of the coaches are black.  The teams are so close geographically that it may be hard for fans in the area to pick which side to cheer for.  And, being from around that area (I’m a Wisconsinite, originally), I know that Chicagoans look at states like Wisconsin and Indiana as sort of extended suburbs, so tensions there could be pretty Wedded_for_sports_1_3
high.  Nonetheless, good luck to Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Coach Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts. 

And what are the footballers’ wives doing in preparation for game day?  What is it like for them, living a life of luxury and residual fame?  Or is it a lavish life at all?  One could read Shannon O’Toole’s Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women to get some insight on the Bear and Colt wives.   Shannon O’Toole, who is married to John Morton, offensive assistant/passing game coach for the New Orleans Saints, recently was interviewed on Femmefan.

So, here’s to prairie dog springs and Super Bowl Sundays. . .

                        

– – -DeEee