Rolling rolling rolling … this bus is just a rolling. Going to see the title game … Go Apps!
I shouldn’t have consumed coffee this morning. If the heartbeat of a race horse is a 10 on a scale marked zero by death, I was easily somewhere around a 15 – and that was before the first cup.
Three cups later I was ready to run to Chattanooga, much less spend around five hours on the back seat of a chartered bus. But here I sit, watching the land of Orange roll by the windows. The pulse has dropped to about 7 but the anticipation is still there. I’m going to see my Apps in a real national championship. No computers involved. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, OSU.
I didn’t make the trip last year. Newborns have a way of redefining priorities, especially when Saint Nick is involved. But it was torture not to go. Everyone would ask me, “Are you going to the game?” and I would reply, “No, I can’t.” Given the reaction I generated – “Oh, I’m so sorry” – I may as well have said, “I’m dying of cancer.”
pray cheer for you,” they’d say. Talk about a verbal punch to the gut.
So when the big game came and the Black and Gold marched west, I stayed behind. It was miserable. All morning my mind raced. I kept looking at the clock and measuring the map.
“It’s 11:00. If I left now I could still make the game.”
“It’s 12:15. If I left now, I could still make the game,”
“It’s 2:30. If I left now and drove like Knievel, I could still make the game.”
When 3 p.m. mercifully arrived, I knew my imaginary time had run out. No way I could make it then. The nerves calmed. It was beyond my ability to get there. Acceptance is the road to peace. I thought the worst was over.
The game came. App won. Life was good! I made sure to be there when the champions returned home. It was then I knew how vampires felt when Van Helsing took them down.
A fan bus returned with the team bus. One of the first ones off the former spied me and ran up with her eyes wide.
“Rob!!!!” she said, the exclamation points actually visible in the air. “Did you just get back from the game?”
“I didn’t go,” I replied, with the strength of a New Orleans levee. Then Katrina hit.
“WHAT!!! YOU DIDN’T GO TO THE GAME!!!!”
Stake in the heart, with a slight twist at the end. Freddy Kruger couldn’t be so cruel.
So then and there I decided if the Lord was willing and the wife’s ire didn’t rise, I’d never miss another Chattanooga. Not so much because of peer pressure or bragging rights, but simply to be part of an event which links so many together. When talk turns to Chattanooga 05, I feel like a guest at someone else’s family reunion.
Not this year. I have my ticket. I have my ride. And I have a wife who let me loose (can’t forget that last part).
On to the game and on to history. Go Apps, baby! We’re going for 2!