Friday, November 25, 2011

12-0

We did it. We're 12-0. A perfect regular season. Easily the most dominant team in college football. We beat 7 ranked opponents on the way to that record, including #3 TWICE and #2. If we haven't earned a trip to the BCS title game, I don't know who has.

Unfortunately, it's not over. We have to make a trip to Atlanta next week to take on the University of Georgia Bulldogs (a mascot that I cannot add to my menu, unfortunately. Though, maybe hot dogs?) to play in the SEC Championship game. Win that game and we punch a ticket to New Orleans for the national title game. Lose that game...and there is still, according to those who know such things, a chance that we can make it to New Orleans. The National Title being held in New Orleans almost makes it a home game. We've won it the last two times it was held in New Orleans. Ticket prices go WAY up (those futures available on Gilt look like a steal now, but you surely know that at the beginning of the season my superstitious nature won't let me purchase them. That, and even at face value, I don't have the money).


But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's still that Georgia matchup to win. And Georgia is currently ranked 13 in the BCS standings. It's never easy. And even when you're clearly the best team, it doesn't mean you can't slip up. Though: this team is playing like they are possessed.

We were down 14-0 early on Friday. An Arkansas touchdown to start the 2nd quarter and then a play off of turnover on a brutal hit to our receiver. I was, naturally, completely worried about this game. I told Chuck that if we lost I was legit going to cry. I meant it. Right around then, and when my dad started texting me about "our" team, we started winning. It was a stellar turnaround. We got an offensive touchdown. I said that if we followed that with a defensive touchdown, we're right back in it before the half. I was close. It was a special teams Tyrann Mathieu touchdown on the kickoff return. You don't need the play by play from me. Just: when my cousin called to ask if he should bet on the Tigers and take the 12 point spread prior to the game, I told him I couldn't answer honestly, I'm far too emotional about my own team.

I fully expected to lose the day after Thanksgiving game. I hate it. I hate the early kick. I hate the turkey hangover. I was worried that my team was feeling as shitty as I have been feeling all week. And not the kind of shitty where you can channel the anger but just all around shitty.

But we didn't. Down 14-0 we scored quickly and decisively and the rest of the game was ours. As the kids in the stands spelled out: ROAST THEM ON A SPIT. We did. We beat the number three ranked hogs 41-17. And apparently the head coach of Arkansas was none too happy with us running up the score on him, in hopes of swaying BCS voters should we lose the Georgia game. Welcome to the big time, Bobby.

My only real comment is that Les can no longer go with the "We're happy with our two quarterback system, it seems to be working" line that he's been trotting out when it's very obvious at this point that Jefferson is his quarterback and despite Lee being the guy up until the Alabama game, that's no longer the case. With about 5 minutes left in the game, everyone, including Lee, thought he was going in. He didn't. Jefferson is the guy and though Les doesn't want a qb controversy, the play calling is obvious. That may change against Georgia, who knows, but it doesn't seem like it will.

So LSU is perfect. An undefeated regular season. It's impressive. You forget how impressive it is when it's your own team and each and every game causes you insane amounts of anxiety. Even Western Kentucky had me worried that we were gonna be half asleep and lose. You'd think I'd suited up at some point in my life, that I strap pads on and hit people (I wish I could). I obviously haven't. Ever. But this is what I live for. I sometimes feel silly that I don't care about more important things. I don't follow politics or policy. I have only cursory knowledge of what the hell Occupy is all about (I'm not entirely sure the people involved in any city can tell you exactly what they want, what their aims are). I always thought I was a crappy law student because people would come in and tell you their favorite supreme court justice and what they stood for, read a decision and immediately know who wrote the opinion. I could have cared less. I thought I was doing it all wrong.

Then I realized that just because I read the NCAA rule book for fun and follow O'Bannon v. NCAA and Keller v. EA and seriously considered sitting in on that at the 9th circuit when there were motions made in either case and that I think the Supreme Court ruled seriously wrong in NCAA v. Tarkanian and that "amateur" players being held to the CBA as was the ruling in Clarett v. NCAA doesn't mean I'm a bad lawyer, it just means my passion is in the realm of college sports. Nothing wrong with it, it's just different. (Yes, I still kick myself for not applying to Tulane law and specializing in sports law there. It is what it is.)

My passion extends to pro sports too because with football winding down, and a month long gap between the SEC Championship and most bowl games, my focus will drift back to the ice. I spent most of today remembering how I fell in love with hockey (Brooks) a year ago and how that changed things, got me through bar study round 2, and I still wish I had the ability to rollerblade which would translate to ice skating which would eventually lead to playing hockey. My fantasy life is...

My aunt has a conference she goes to in D.C. every February. I told her if she was going this year, I want to tag along. I then immediately checked the Caps schedule to see what their home schedule in February looks like. I hope that her conference is early February and not late, as they are home a lot early, and not a lot late. Priorities, y'all!

About that sports passion: I got scolded for my behavior from watching the Bama game. SCOLDED! My brother tattled on me to both my parents like we're still little kids, couching it in "concern" that I think was more of a concern that I was embarrassing him. He took my keys but didn't do anything more than say "You have cab money, right?" He didn't make sure I got home okay and he sure as hell did nothing to make sure I got my car back. It's nice to be reminded every so occasionally, when I give him a pass, that deep down he remains a jerk. I acted no differently and yelled no louder than I had for any other game. Okay, maybe a little, because it was Bama and it was HUGE. But I was in a BAR. Not a lounge, not a cocktail den. A bar. A loud, divey bar where I was nowhere near the least well behaved person around. A bar that I had come to consider a safe haven BECAUSE my brother is always there and I had made friends with the bartender. I guess it's my fault for forgetting he's not my friend but my brother. I didn't find out about what had transpired until right before the Ole Miss game, hence the delay in reacting.

So when I got scolded, told that I hadn't "behaved" in "his" bar, I shut down. They took the one thing that I care about, the thing that keeps me from slitting my wrists the rest of the week, that I have a passion for, and somehow morphed it into a negative. And that made me feel so bad. Not mad. Upset. Just devastated me. How could what I love be so misunderstood? How could they make me feel bad about enjoying something? About cheering at the TV? The irony of course being that that same night several different people, including the bartender, told me that they appreciated my passion for it. That rarely does anyone come in and care that much about the game and that they love that I'm so into it.

It all sent me retreating, in the way that our family has been told to behave. Just shove those emotions down. I didn't go out to watch the Ole Miss game, I stayed at home with my trusty computer updating on Twitter. I went to Chuck's yesterday for the Arkansas game. My friends think the whole scenario of my brother tattling is hysterical. And it is. I suppose it is, anyway. But it's more than that. It's the way they made me feel about it. It hurts. Why would they do that? Just...why? I really don't get it. I don't get feeling ashamed about being passionate about football. It's somehow adorable when my 7 year old cousin yells at the TV and knows what day of the week December 17th is because of a Niners Monday Night game but I'm supposed to behave within some uptight strictures? (The answer to that is yes, because we are repressed Irish Catholics where the women are supposed to behave like ladies and the boys can do wtf they want. More on that below.)

Now I am being moody with my mother, which hysterically makes her swing the other way and be really nice. I haven't said anything to my brother but I sniped at him at Thanksgiving. That more had to do with the well worn pattern on my mom's side of the family that the men are required to do nothing ever and that women do everything. The boys show up, eat, and leave. They didn't clear a plate, they didn't bring a bottle of booze. They took food AS I was plating it, without so much as a word after I spent all day in the kitchen. This isn't the 1950s, I enjoy cooking. But it's the expectation of it that is problematic. Even as my aunt actually trotted out some feminist rhetoric, no one did anything to change the situation. I'm. Over. It. AND they watched football the whole time. I don't care about that so much but my brother's interest in the Niners is passing, at best, and if it was an LSU game, no one would have let me watch it. But it's also related to the behaving issues. The guys can do whatever they want, act like the biggest assholes imaginable, but I have to conform to what they define as the norms, which is mostly polite and lady like and even in a family of strong women, subservient. So they can all go fuck themselves currently.

I'm still upset. I can't shake how they morphed what I care about into something awful. It feels really cruel and I feel misunderstood. But I also pity them. I don't toot my own horn a lot but I'm kinda great. I can be funny, witty, hysterical. I'm good conversation and fun to hang out with. Sure, I'll completely cop to being a mouthy drunk and not the unmovable mountain my brother is. But some people actually find that amusing. As Michael said on Saturday, he watches football to watch me watch football. I appreciated that compliment. He enjoyed my sarcastic comments at the announcers on the TV and my half hearted attempts to explain why an undefeated Houston team isn't ranked higher than other one loss teams. Every time my family shames me for having more than one drink at a time (which my mother did the night before Thanksgiving, a side eyed glance for having two glasses of wine with dinner), they get shut out a little bit more. THEY miss out. Because I'm not even talking to them about football any more. Or anything. My mom informed me on Friday, actually that, "You know there's football on today." Yes, I might be aware that MY SCHOOL WHO IS NUMBER ONE IN THE COUNTRY IS PLAYING IN 2 HOURS. Maybe. I might be aware of that. But thanks for the heads up.

I hate to sound like a petulant teenager on all this. I have actually been very careful to not lash out in the way that I would normally that leads to giant family blowouts, but...this is how I feel. In the end, again, it's them who lose out. They get more and more cut off from my weird, wacky world, and in turn I get upset that they don't understand me while not giving them the chance to. It's obviously a vicious cycle that I'm not sure how to fix. Or sure that I want to. I do know that in the instant this all went down I was again reminded that I need to get the hell out of the world's smallest big city. Which I've known for some time but often forget in the bustle of every day life. As soon as I finish (start) this motion that's due on Monday, it's off to the job hunt for NCAA compliance jobs, which I now have far more direction on after a fantastic conversation with the DoC at a local college. Currently I know there are positions in upstate New York and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Those sound promising...

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