Where Smart Picks Go to Die
To begin, I’m an amazing husband. Knowing what day one of the biggest games in all of college football is being played I agreed to take my wife, her brother, and his girlfriend to Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, TN. We stayed with the girls for the first few hours, but at 2:00 her brother and I headed straight for Dave and Busters.
I don’t know if you have ever been to a Dave and Busters, but if you haven’t you need to experience a game in this football haven. Giant projector screens have games on everywhere, there is a dining hall, there are arcade games, and they even have a bowling alley where the game is on a TV directly above your lane.
There was one slight problem. We weren’t really there to play games or to eat, we were there to watch a game. Dave and Buster employees were walking around and asking idle watchers to please play a game or order some food if they wanted to continue to watch the game. So we came up with a master plan. For 15 minutes, we would sit in front of a game and pretend to press buttons as we watched the first quarter. When a commercial came on, we walked back to the waiting area for the restaurant and pretended we were waiting to be seated. Meanwhile, we continued our viewing on a monster TV they had for customers. It was the perfect setup through almost all of the first two quarters.
Sadly, we had to leave this haven and were left trying to catch glimpses of the game on random store’s TV sets as we walked by doing our shopping. We walked up to the Dell kiosk just in time to see Eddie Lacy break a 41 yard touchdown run with 1:59 to go before half-time.
We left the mall on our way back about halfway through the third quarter. After a media blackout while we ate at Jack In The Box, we get back in the car at the start of the fourth quarter. Just 3 seconds later Eddie Lacy scored again and our car went crazy. Everyone felt great…until Georgia marched it right down the field and scored about 2 minutes later.
The game see-sawed and our conversation within the car had picked up, so the radio got turned down. I tried to listen off and on to keep up with major events in the game. When Alabama got the ball back down 3 with about 5 minutes to go I politely told the car that, while I appreciated our conversation, the radio was going to be turned up to hear the rest of this game.
We were all on the edge of our seat; all of us hanging in painful anticipation for what Eli Gold would relay to us next. Alabama ran only 4 plays. Amari Cooper’s touchdown pass brought ecstasy into our vehicle. Part of the reason I am writing this post is to apologize to all of the other vehicles around us on I-65. My wife’s brother and girlfriend screamed, they beat the roof of the car, and my wife honked our horn several times (while I’m driving).
I tried to warn them, Georgia still has time. Georgia got the ball with 3:15 to go and 2 timeouts. But Alabama’s defense held and Georgia had to punt. There was a great debate as to whether or not that represented the end of the game. But as I predicted, Alabama was forced to give Georgia 1 more shot with 1:08 on the clock.
The only two noises in our car was the sound of our tires as we raced down I-65, desperately trying to get back into Alabama territory before the game ended (my wife thought this would bring us some type of luck) and the voice of Eli Gold.
The first pass is tipped and falls to the ground and a few quick shouts are released. But no one celebrates for long because Georgia is on the ball and running the next play.
All I heard was interception Alabama, and then I was truly concerned for our safety. Everyone was yelling, our horn was being honked from the passenger seat, and our car was literally rocking from all of the excitement. It took 20 seconds of my shouting to get everyone to calm down because the play was under review. Several of our passengers agreed that it was definitely an interception, no question about it (once again we were listening to it on the radio. I’ll let you think about that one for a while).
When it was ruled an incomplete pass, everyone knew the danger. The Alabama defense was just on an emotional high after thinking they won the game. Now they have to take the field and stop a very talented offense who just got a second chance.
As Georgia began driving, the car got more quiet. When they completed a pass down to the 8 with only 12 seconds to go, the only noise to be heard was the static in the radio. Was this how Alabama’s year would end? Would it come down to a last second drive and an overturned call?
But it was Eli’s voice that reassured us all. A pass to the sideline, tipped to a player at the 5, and then a countdown. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1. And Alabama is going to the National Championship game.”
I didn’t think anything could top the celebration after the “interception”. I was wrong. The car exploded with bliss. Windows were rolled down, people were screaming, the car rocked. As all this is happening, we pass the sign “Welcome to Alabama”. It was an emotionally draining car ride, and we were all exhausted when we got out, but it was a great experience.
But I must reiterate, the biggest reason I wrote this post is to say I’m sorry. If you were on I-65, this things you saw can’t be un-seen. The raucous in our car was excessive and I apologize.
But it’s Alabama football.
(Note. You’ve heard from me on how I experienced the game, now is your chance to tell everyone about your experience. Were you rooting for Georgia and devastated about the time management, were you an Alabama fan and delighted as the clock ran out, or were you an Florida fan too consumed by your hate of both teams to even watch? Let us know in the comment section)