With hunched shoulders and a grimace on her face, my wife gives me a look that can only mean one thing. As she opens her mouth to speak, her breath forms in the air like she’s joined the vaping trend that plagues her Instagram news feed. “Can we put the heating on?” she asks with a desperate look in her eyes. The loving husband in me wants to oblige and enjoy the tropical paradise that will become our living room, yet the cheapskate in me screams to put on an extra jumper, or in my wife’s case, her first! The cheapskate in me wins, that is until I realise my wife is the one who wears the balls in our relationship, and her asking to put the heating on isn’t a question at all, merely a polite statement, allowing me the chance to maintain the illusion of masculinity.

The exchange was a common one last winter, but this year has seen a rapid decline. Could it be global warming? Have we grown an extra layer of skin to combat the harsh climate? Or is winter still yet to grasp at our shores with its icy fingertips?

After trying desperately to convince oneself that we are the next phase in Darwin’s Evolution, (creationists leave now) my optimism is somewhat dashed while gazing through the forthcoming weather forecast.

Winter Is Coming…

Wiping away the tears I check several dates across the coming week, hoping and praying that what I see before me is just an anomaly, a mistake that can be rectified by a simple phone call to the Met office. They’ll thank me for pointing out their error and go back to their tea and biscuits. Alas, this isn’t a divine fairy-tale and those are most certainly minus figures I see before me. The end has come.

With such little time to prepare I feel like I’ve been thrust into the plot of The Day After Tomorrow, cries of “Burn the books” ring through my head as I thrust the cobwebbed hats and scarves into the washing machine, all the while frantically searching for the missing glove to every pair that we own. Okay, so it’s the wife loading the washing machine, but for dramatic emphasis, let us pretend for a moment that I know what I’m talking about. I am awash in a sea of panic.

Through my Captain America t-shirt I can feel my nipples beginning to harden, any harder I think to myself, and I’ll be using them to carve the Sunday roast. The wife and I exchange worried looks from time to time, reassuring each other wherever we can. The idea of hibernation has been discussed in many a conversation, yet brushed aside with regret, we’ll never build a burrow big enough in time.

For the last few days before the big chill I have been savouring the mild January temperatures. Letting the breeze rustle through the hair on my naked head. Feeling the cold leather of my Autumn jacket against my bare fingers, for all this will soon be over. A moments silence is observed.

It is later on the Sunday evening, as I snuggle under the duvet, all of my digits pleasantly toasty, that I find myself catching up on the playoff game between Seattle and Minnesota. A very close affair. And it’s while I view a highlight of the ongoing game that something grabs my attention. Russell Wilson hands off the ball for a short gain, just visible through the cloud that’s descending over the players, as if this Vaping trend has well and truly got out of hand. One look at the pre-game match report and everything is put into perspective. At a chilly -21C this marks the third coldest game in NFL history.

Just like that, my balls slip from my wife’s vice and pack their bags, heading out the door for an owner more deserving. Here we have a man handing off what has essentially become a ball of ice, play after play, without so much as a pair of mittens in sight. My whole exaggeration of the forthcoming winter temperatures had been put into perspective. If a man can play a game of football in temperatures I had barely even imagined, then I, Philip Randall, can embrace the approaching winter front with a stiff  upper lip and my chin held high. For as long as there is a song in my heart and hot chocolate in my flask, nothing will defeat me this winter.

What was that? He gets paid millions of dollars to play in those conditions?… Maybe I haven’t given this hibernation idea the proper consideration.