Excerpted from the never-to-be-released book, “I Thought You Packed The Pacifier! And Where The Hell Is The Butt Paste!: A father’s guide to having it all while smelling slightly of soured milk.”
CHAPTER 10: When Tailgating and Naps Collide.
A quick checklist to what you need before you pregame feed
Are you ready for some Mountaineer football!!! Great! Now, are you ready for some Mountaineer football, with the kids!!! That’s what I thought. But time out, pops. Put away the challenge flag! Tailgating with the lil ones can be more fun than a Robin Williams standup. You just have to plan ahead. And I ain’t talkin’ days ahead. Weeks ahead! But that’s no sweat at t’al. You’ve already spent most of early August planning your tailgate menus (turkey for Georgia Southern game, chili for Western Carolina) and you started marinating steaks for Homecoming two weeks ago (secret ingredients – pepper jack cheese and beer).
Just add these five easy steps to your personal 24-item Tailgate “Honey Will” List (No. 15. pre-order 25,000 BTU heater for playoffs), and the kids will blend in to the scenery as naturally as a ‘Where’s Ann Arbor’ t-shirt.
So here we are tailgating before the big Appalachian State home opener Saturday. The tailgating crew was pulling down the tents and packing away the leftovers when a WXII TV van pulled up on the curb. I was sitting in a chair feeding Big G a bottle as the news hounds came sniffing my way. They were looking for a story, and time was short.
It was five minutes before kickoff. Traffic from Winston must have been manic. What other excuse could there be? Before I could say “Cold off the presses!” a microphone was pointed my way with a camera staring after it. I played my role – Go ASU! – with a gentle dig at the school in Winston-Salem scared to play Appalachian in football.
After speaking with me, the camera guy nabbed some footage of Gabby and her friend Carter playing with a football. They also interviewed our man Blue, and a sadsack Lenoir-Ryhne fan nearby.
All that said, it made for GRIPPING television, let me tell you. (Yes, you have to suffer through a commercial before the fun starts.)
My only complaint – no Big G. If that camera had just dipped an inch lower, he’d have had his big television debut. I guess he’ll just have to wait until 2026, when he’s scheduled to make his first career start at linebacker for ASU. Here’s hoping it’s at the Big House!
Forget the pony
Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas this year is the above delivered to my mailbox. Do it, and I promise I won’t ask for anything else. If that’s too much to ask, how about a nice t-shirt?
Gone in 90 seconds
Appalachian’s first possession since December 15, 2006 went 74 yards in three plays, caped by a stunning 68-yard pass to a “sweet Dexter Coakley how did I get this open!” Dexter Jackson. And it lasted 90 seconds.
Paris Hilton isn’t that easy (though she does have considerably more rust). In the time it took the lil’ National Champion That Could to prove that It Would, you could watch three Mastercard commercials back-to-back-to-back. (I like that sound of that, back-to-back-to-back).
He had the power
One of my first half highlights – spotting a player on the Michigan sideline named Zoltan Mesko. My buddy Japs elbows me asking, “Didn’t he used to fight He-Man?”
My mighty, mighty Mountaineers of Appalachian State tangle with big boy Michigan tomorrow in Ann Arbor. It’s a matchup of David versus Goliath’s older, larger big brother. Conventional wisdom has the Apps winning the Powerball before coming within three TDs of a 30-point first-half margin. But what if CV is wrong. What if … Appalachian wins. What would happen within that first hour?
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
3:35 p.m. – Scoreboard – ASU 24, Michigan 21.
3:35.01 p.m. – The joyous screams of 2,000 Black and Gold echo through the eeirily silent and stunned 107,000-packed stadium.
3:35.05 p.m. – Local authorities issue immediate suicide watch for surrounding counties, Bristol, Conn.
3:35.10 p.m. – “Bo” Schembechler’s body begins spinning, quickly hits 158 rpms.
3:35.40 p.m. – In attempt to flee further abuse, Chancellor Ken Peacock’s larynx leaps from his throat. Refuses reattachment for three weeks.
3:37 p.m. – ESPN calls stadium press box for 16th time in past five minutes, asking “Are you sure you have that score right?”
3:37.30 p.m. – GoASU.com blows up.
3:37.40 p.m. – Phone lines to ASU ticket office catch fire, melt.
I finally found some time to put some beach photos online. And by time, I mean precious seconds of life not spent either working, minding a child, or doing household chores. I knew a new child would bring extra demands, but I had no idea just how extra.
Some kernels from the beach:
– It was love at first splash for Gabby. Within an hour of arriving at our accommodations we were on the sands. Gabby made a beeline (crabline?) for the water and seemed determined never to leave. By the time we left, she would stand in hip deep water, take a wave full force in the face, shake her head and laugh. LAUGH, I said. Then would hit another. SPLASH! HAHAHAH … that the best you got Poseidon!?
As I mentioned, Gabby recently had her big wedding debut. I only got a few shots of her in her official flower girl getup. She briefly – oh, so briefly – agreed to sit on a log with the ringbearer, who was the son of the bridegroom. Something about the photo whispered Little House, so off to Duotone Dream I went. Nice effect, really.
Two paths which ran parallel for years finally crossed Friday. I have known Jon for several months thanks to our respective roles as Appalachian alumni. He’s vice president of the alumni council. I work in the alumni office.
He was in town for a council meeting. I last saw him a few days ago during a trip to Raleigh for a Yosef Club event. We were discussing the event when I mentioned I had dinner afterwards with my old college roommate, Jeff. Jon’s eyes lit up at the name. Turns out he and Jeff were/are fraternity brothers and close friends. He started naming off names of people he hung with, and most of them I knew.
Odds are we met back in college, but only in passing. A decade later a friendship is born. Small world.
Jon’s a huge Carolina Hurricanes fan. I’m betting money he was the only motorist in Boone Saturday with a Canes flag waving from the back seat.
One day shy of the 11-month mark, Gabby looms larger than Appalachian's I-AA title.