February 23, 2012
Every day brings some sort of sign that I'm getting old. Even my Sports Illustrated subscription.
I realized today that my SI Swimsuit Issue had been sitting on the shelf, untouched for more than a week since its arrival. I've seen the cover photo of Kate Upton, and that's about it. That never would have happened when I was younger.
I've been a loyal SI subscriber since 1981 (I've got every issue since then saved in boxes in my basement), when my parents ordered the magazine because I loved sports so much. A friend of my dad's had given me some of his old issues, and I was hooked.
As much as I loved the magazine for its sports coverage, the build-up to the February Swimsuit Issue is pretty big for a boy. I made frequent runs to the mailbox to check for the issue, and if it was ever late, I immediately worried than some neighborhood kid had stolen my Swimsuit Issue.
After you read the Swimsuit Issue, you couldn't just file it away with the other magazines. It was a kid's prized possession, one that should be displayed on a shelf or table somewhere like grandma's antique vase.
I grew up with crushes on SI models like Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland and Elle McPherson, whose photos were taped up inside my school locker. The models changed over the years, but they were always equally gorgeous, whether it was someone who never gained great fame after the issue or someone who used SI to reach a higher level of fame like Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Cindy Crawford.
I used to know all of the models' names when I was a kid, too. Now I'm not sure I could name you one. Hopefully there are some kids out there who know them all by heart.
I'm sure they've already looked through the issue this year. I'm sure I'll get to mine soon.