Monday, October 11, 2010

Mystery solved…

It should have been easy to understand what happened at last Saturday's Gators game with the LSU people. It wasn't, until I researched further. Being an expert, like those seated around me during the game, I am constantly looking for a rationale which explains the performance on the field. I have come up with two reasonable ideas which take away the lingering pain of a 33-29 final score.
First. I had been transported to an alternate version of my former universe (see "Fringe", Fox Network). This seems to fit because I did mention in the previous column my eerie bodily sensations as I walked through the darkened section six tunnel entrance and into the almost other worldly, brilliantly lit stadium interior. The players down on the field at that very time were revealed to me to be different somehow. Executing, as they warmed up, some of our regular plays and looking every bit like those they represented in my former macrocosm, there was something which wasn't quite right. The thing that unveiled the otherworldly place I found myself in was the uniforms the players were wearing. During the instantaneous transworldifying experience in the tunnel, my old world became new. Identical except for one thing, the spectrum of light. The laws of physics had not been identically duplicated. The orange had gone and in its place was something of a yellow ochre, maybe with a little cadmium red. The simple orange of orange and blue fame had vanished. That's how I know the men on the field were not those upon whom we rested our hope for SEC glory. That's how I know it wasn't really the Gators I watched that night.
OK, second.
The horrid hue of orange used for the uniforms that night was accursed. The odious choice brought doom upon the beloved Gator Nation for that night's competition. It was Emmitt Orange night. They had reverted back to a color worn by beloved Emmitt Smith. They had chosen the color of failure and defeat and it worked. The team failed. The coaching failed. The game was irretrievably gone. Take your pick. These two scenarios fit correctly with everybody else's depiction of an evening gone bad.
The one and only good thing I heard after the game came from Tre Burton. He was asked by a radio commentator on one of those talk show format, game recap programs about his touchdown. He said, "It doesn't matter, we lost!" Priceless.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Next to Last Sports Column…

I really shouldn't deign to write a column in this blog that has mainly to do with sports. But I will. It could be fun to write, 'cuz it will help me get a few left over bits of angst out in the open, and it could be amusing (for me, maybe you). There will be two blog entries.
I led a secluded, introverted youth. I know I developed into someone who was, is, a loner of sorts - in a good way, I hope. Loners work well in fighters and sometimes they even have the lucky circumstance to marry someone who loves 'em. That being said, I married a girl who was born into a group of people who live in a region who for the period from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice bleed blue and orange. After forty-five years, Jeanie and I are beginning to look alike and I bleed blue and orange.
What is it about a seventy-two year old man who gets chills down his spine and goosebumps in all the other places as he walks through a darkened tunnel and into a brilliantly lit stadium? Proceeding through gate six and down to row sixteen, I sit down with ninety thousand others who bleed blue and orange, we await the start of the contest.
When I went to Washington University in Saint Louis, I majored mostly in AFROTC and Budweiser. Strangely, I can't remember ever going to a football game on a Saturday afternoon. I liked football in high school and attended most every game. Something happened I guess when we moved east in 1956. I'm making up for lost time and making memories now. It's never too late. There's never been a better time or place to get interested in college football.
Last night Jeanie and I were privileged to attend the University of Florida Gators football contest with those horrid folks from the Louisiana Purchased lands. LSU. My gosh, they bleed purple, how sick is that? The game was probably one of the more exciting I have watched (my second in person). We lost. I've discovered that if you are to be a Florida Gators football fan you need to be pretty expert in the game. I know those who were sitting around Jeanie, Becky, Larry and me, were. You can tell that the entire swamp is filled with experts. That's really good, because if one of those millionaire coaches down on the field were to croak, there'd be plenty of folks who could take over - instantly. (BTW, Becky and Larry are the folks who live near us in the condo. They are UF grads and they know where to park at the games. They bleed blue and orange.)
Here's what happened. I know, I'm an expert.
First of all, what the heck is a "no look, pitch over"? Whatever it is, they should use it a lot because it got the purple people into position to win the game. Shouldn't a coaching staff think that there might be a tricky play in the works when a team lines up to kick a point or three from a spot way beyond the kicker's ability? It would tie the game. Don't you think an attempt at a win might be in an offensive coach's first priority? Well, I can't speak to what the purple coach was thinking, but the defensive coach on the good team didn't pick up on the potential for damage. They got a first down and then scored with only a few seconds left to play. At least the officials took a VERY LONG time to review the play, trying to decide whether it was a lateral, a pass or one of those no look pitch overs. The results of their inquiries were disheartening. There's another day (as the Lord tarries).
Another thing struck me as we sat in such great seats behind the good team's bench. As play progressed through the evening, there was a lot of confusion going on down on the field. It seemed to me that the nicely dressed coaching staff was having a tough time deciding what to do. I'm pretty sure their indecision was about the game and not Obama's HealthCare Initiatives or the market. They were all kind of running around in ever-increasing circles and they all constantly waved their hands in what could be mistaken for gang signals (I am from Central California, near Salinas). They were all waving their hands and signaling at the same time. As soon as they did, the quarterback, John Brantley, would look over, and then scurry around to his line to reveal to them what the new play might be. They did that too much. They needed to trust Brantley or give him a consistent game plan from the beginning. Maybe they could even just have one coach do the gang thing. Whatever it was, it could be called confusion.
Even I picked up on it. Me, the guy who majored in AFROTC and Budweiser.