1992. We haven’t done anything all day. Pat Dye is in his last Georgia game but no one knows it. I’m 13. I’m in the West Stands. We’re down 14-10. It’s dark. It’s cold. No timeouts. We’re on, like, our own one. Suddenly, God boards Stan White’s manhood and he becomes a machine. Stan steers us down the field like some crazy-ass angel. It’s obvious we’re going to win. The Bulldogs are puddling into little girls, and the fans scream for what’s to come. Victory. 100 years. Eagles are flying overhead and collapsing in orgasm. We scream for the moment. Holy holy holy! We’re down to their goal line! Georgia is butter! They are women! We cannot be stopped. Twelve, eleven, ten… everyone’s lined up, we just have to hike it, we’re going to punch it in, we’re going to punch it in, we’re going to punch…
The Georgia Bulldogs, women that they are, are sitting on the ball.
They will not get up. Our guy, Bostic I guess, or maybe it was even Stan himself, on some glorious keeper, or maybe I think we bobbled the snap and Stan falls on it and the refs say “Auburn ball” and Stan has shot up like a vampire and is back on the line waiting for the refs to place it. It’s all just a formality. Go ahead throw your hands up and put the points on the board. Wait, why is the clock still running. Dad… Dad… the clock… we’re ready… why… are… they….
Stan is beside himself. He’s pleading with the refs to do their jobs. But there the Dawgs sit, lounging like Parisians … per the instruction of their “coach” … until the clock hits zero. Then they spring up like bacon’s on the stove in the locker room. They all sprint off the field, all our guys are still in our stances, pinching themselves. Stan is freaking out – I love you Stan. Dye is freaking out – I love you, Coach. The stadium itself is literally booing. Bloody arrows of puberty are screaming from my throat and into the soft necks of the refs. But there the game ends. 14-10.
“Dad,” I said, in tears, “I thought this was America.”
We walked the eight or so miles back to the car – Dad was always obsessed with parking, like, hours away. We drove back to Grandmama’s. I retreated to the soft glow of my grandfather’s office. I got out a piece of paper, I put it in his type-writer, and – fire with fire – preceded to describe the scene I had witnessed.
“Dear NCAA,” it began… “tonight I saw money change hands…”
Dad told me not to mail it. I can’t remember what I did.
Years later, out to eat, I see Housel for the second time in like, a week. First at Ruby Tuesdays, now Niffers. And so for the second time in a week, I scrawl a War Eagle or something on a napkin, hand it to a waitress, and try to stalk a friendship out of him. Maybe I even buy him a beer. He waves and he comes over. His wife, he says, is genuinely creeped out. But he’s not, War Eagle. It’s the week of the 2005 Georgia game. I tell him the story.
“I was there David, I saw it, I had good seats, West side, I had the perspective.”
“I think those feelings come from the perspective of your Auburn heart,” he says, poking my chest. “And mine, too.”
That’s what I was thinking about yesterday. As my gut turned. As my throat swelled. As my legs couldn’t get comfortable. My Auburn heart hurt. My Auburn heart hurts. We were supposed to win that game. Everyone saw it and felt it and saw it and knows it.
To the Auburner comments:
* Way to bring the refs, Georgia.
* PLEASE someone find out who ref #11 was today and let me know.
post it on here.
give us his personal information.
i just want to send him a fruit basket or something.
and by fruit basket i simply mean hate mail and other various things representing how much i hate him and want him to die… whoops.
* For the first time in a LONG time I truly feel that the Refs cost us the game. I am normally not that kind of fan but damnit….
[see more photos from the game here…]
A week after that Niffers thing, Housel replied to my “nice seeing you” e-mail.
“Did you really see money change hands?”
Bama will be number one going into the Iron Bowl.
We are going to bludgeon them.