OK I tried, it didn’t work, this is how I have to write about things out here, at least if I want to feel whole.
10:00 am, we went to Lowes for a grill, thought we had plenty of time. The young’n freaked out when we tried to extract her from an empty cashier station — she loves pretending she’s a cashier. The real cashier, a nice old lady, talked to a nice old man, or rather hit on a nice old man (in overalls), who had already been rung up… well, she talked to him for, kid you not, 10 solid minutes, folding his receipt over and over as if she were still helping him. He was a widower and a farmer and well, she’s working at Lowes, so sparks were flying. “Oh you’re kiddin’, well, I grew up not far from there…” But I couldn’t appreciate the sparks. I stood there, we all stood there, with quiet, urgent rage, the time ticking away. But you know, I’ll tell ya’ — the rage was tempered with an almost-respect for an ambivalence towards natural cashier-customer law and sheer common decency that would put the best performance of any Sat. night Lee County Wal-Marter to shame. I leaned over to my wife and whispered, “we’ve just witnessed something powerful.”
After a stop at the grocery store for the burgers and chips, we had five minutes before kickoff. Again, the cellphone. Thanks to my Dad, I again listened to Spirit (I’m all about Spirit, I’m about all of ‘em, don’t get me wrong, and a lot of the great ’70s logo designs, some of my favorites, feature a bald eagle, but I much prefer the more historically virile golden eagle, USM notwithstanding) soar, apparently, forever. He’s still flying. I dropped my phone, it scattered in the parking lot, I picked it up and still, I heard “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrr…..”
This began the text messages, this week delivered most promptly by Kenny Smith:
K: Spirit makes an awesome flight over Jordan-Hare
J: Yeah, my Dad held up the phone, sounded epic, WDE
K: Flew from Sec 110. Circled forever. Thought she was flying away. I can has video.
But I’ll tell ya’, I watched the game yesterday in the same manner a single mother of four watches an instructional video, one she hopes will improve her life, while cooking dinner for the kids – lots of pausing, lots of squinting, trying to not get overwhelmed, satisfied at the end of the day.
The grille took forever to put together, and we were determined to watch while we ate, for some reason, for some reason. So I just paused it. And paused it and paused it. Then the internet guy came over to finally install things, Texas Tech shirt on. And the grille, it kept coming. And my Dad, he kept calling, finally getting a bit short, as I kept responding “how about what? I told you Dad, we’re still trying to… “
Then he called back. “Well, there goes your boy… “
“What do you mean, who?”
“Tristan. He’s hurt.”
By the time we finished the grille and cooked the food, it was the 4th quarter. I knew we were winning so it was OK, I’d see it all, but that was some joyless grilling friends… Thinking that The Theory of TD was simply and forever cursed to unfalsifiable realms of medical redshirts and injury reports and Coulda Been? My spatula took no pleasure.
Things worked themselves out though. All is well. Tristan bounced back and as far as the outcome, I’m sorry, but for all the talk about fight in him and all that, I knew, as soon as I saw that face, there was no way we could lose to a team with this guy at the healm. Look at all the Anthony Michael Hall brat up in him, that’s what I say. Or wait — Anthony Michael Hall and Macaulay Culkin. These were the kinds of kids I hated growing up, it was like they just couldn’t help it. And Austin? It’s like how I knew we’d never lose to a kid named Brodie, or John Parker.
And just when I start feeling bad about my theories on nomino-facial determinism, Jerry says, “don’t.”
Yeah, sorry Austin, even with all this talk of not giving up, and our B- performance, score should have been 48-0.
Now, if Tulane was your team, yeah, then you could talk. Because Tulane… Tulane… owned Alabama. Alabama didn’t win, Tulane lost. I watched it, most of it, GamePlan, it was beautiful. And such an objective broadcast team! Chris Stewart, Tyler Watts, Barry Krauss, roll tide! (How pathetic is it that Saban had to ice Tulane’s kicker Urban Meyer style … in the second quarter.) SJPW was bruised and bruised, the fans booed, Alabama football, it’s really fun to watch, but it goes by so fast when they play at home, especially in the 4th quarter with a Conference USA Team on their heels. Those new clock rules, I guess — like only stopping it after an incomplete pass, or someone has run out of bounds, after three, four, heck, even five extra seconds have ticked off. Maybe it’s me, but it just felt like Alabama was trying to send another early warning to the SEC: Learn to play a 55 minute game if you’re gunning for a come back in Bryant-Denny.
A quick final note about the Auburn game: Jerry seems keen on using the comment thread at the Goldmine as a for-conversation’s-sake gauge of fan sentiment and there was some sulky dissatisfaction earlier regarding Chris Todd’s status as starter… the kid has to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, however small, for the virtual pre-season silence on his potential (though I suppose such is the lot for an unknown out of state transfer) and this week he controlled the ball and did what he needed to do and came up with decent numbers. The falling, underhand thing? I dig it, we all did. The limited practice time last week due to le gash is what kept Kodi from starting this week. But since it did, and since he looked less than spectacular (minus the touchdown run) in the time he saw Saturday, and since Chris did what he needed to do, than yeah, why not, Todd is the starter. Sure, I didn’t see much zip in his throws, except when he was pegging a screen pass into the dirt… but again, “starter”? Total semantics. Both will play. Both will help Auburn win.
But let me tell you — folks out here remember Todd. I walked into the last store on the infamous strip on the outskirt of town — a state fair of booze — during the Bama game halftime, had on an Auburn shirt, an Auburn hat, the works, and the dude behind the counter, just like the guy in my office from the day before, goes, “Auburn fan, huh? How about Chris Todd?”
“Yeah, yeah, he did pretty good today.”
“He’s good, man.”