Robservations from the National Championship:
Stand in the place where you are
I was up all game long. Through the anthem. Through the coin toss. Through every timeout. Through every thrown flag. I Never. Sat. Down. I also never stopped yelling. I didn’t meet a cheer I didn’t join, or a cadence with which I didn’t clap. Even extra point attempts provoked decibels of “Julian Rauch! Clap. Clap. Clap-clap. Clap. Julian Rauch!” I hadn’t been that high strung since taking four ill advised Vivrans prior to a high school math test. This was a natural high, accentuated slightly by only a few pregame spirits. At night’s end I had the voice of a teenager battling puberty. My voice crackeled more than a banquet of Rice Krispies. And I loved it. Go Apps!
It’s a small world after all
As I noted earlier this week, the best sign I saw all night was actually two banners. One said “Back4,” and the other “Moore.” That was clever, not only for paying tribute to a great man but for boasting a double entendre with no sexual connotation. (This is one of countless examples). I was a witness to the sign’s creation, as the dude with the spray cans was right beside my bud’s tailgate spot. While surfing the net this week I came upon his blog. Small world.
This city is so ugly, you could stick its face in dough and make gorilla cookies
It’s difficult to describe in fair detail the sheer ugliness which surrounds Chattanooga’s Finley stadium. Imagine a scoop of sweet vanilla ice cream dumped in the middle of burnt eggs, or Reggie Bush behind the Green Bay Packers front line. You’ve got a nice, classy football facility surrounded by decrepit brick buildings full of windows decimated by the family of Ernest T. Bass. It’s an embarrassment, but then again, this is Chattanooga. Ever see the Mocs football team? That must be the bomb which blew out so many windows.
Call it camera envy
Here I am with a group of photographers at the game. They all had sideline passes since, they’re, ya know, real photographers. And just like in back in high school gym class, I have the least impressive equipment of the group. Well, you know what they say – it’s not the size of the lens, but the rapture of the aperture. (And oh how I can rapture.)
You learn something new everyday
Wild Turkey tastes nothing like turkey. Thanks for the sample, Quarters. Speaking of which …
As Hawk would say, “What a Rush!”
After the game the doors of the Appalachian Arkham Asylum burst open. The field was a mad house. App fans were everywhere posing for photos, screaming at friends or simply going nuts. The only oases of calm were found by the two goal posts. Each was surrounded by armed guards in worse moods than a UMass television audience. Soccer fans we are not, so our bedlam had boundaries. But not much. One bud attempted to take on the entire UMass marching band. Another jumped (he actually fell, but remembers it as a jump) from the stands onto the field and ran around with the jubilant air of a clothed streaker. He was in the emergency room the next day fearing he had a broken ankle (the fall actually just sprained it). Even Blue Ridge Blog suffered bruises. I was uninjured and unmolested, obvious proof I just wasn’t celebrating hard enough.
College football’s Daytona 500
By the time I hit the sheets Friday night, my mind was as worn as the UMass defense. I was beat. I clicked on the telly and went to ESPN, hoping for a lucky coincidental quirk of App highlights. I instead saw something better. Within a few seconds of the screen coming bright, the bottom line flipped to “NCAA DIVISION I FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP.” It then flipped to “APP ST 28. UMASS 17”. No B. No C. And no one S (actually, there were three). The contest in Chattanooga was more than two teams at a neutral site thrown together as haphazardly as the Knicks starting lineup. Two teams survived three do-or-die duals to get there. That’s how champions should be crowned. And the last sight I saw that night was affirmation – however brief – that real champions do exist in college football. Can’t wait to go for three!
For all those “other” Division I fans
Enjoy all those bowls, which carry as much significance as that third road game of your team’s regular season, the one after the creampuff at home and the one before the big league opener. You remember. You played that team out of conference, and some guy on television swore it’d be a great game. Your bowl will be just like that, only this time it has a sponsor! Cool!