Full Immersion Football

For the next two weeks I am following a football team. It’s not unlike the people who “toured” with the Grateful Dead or Phish, going from concert to concert, forgetting where they were as they hunted down a communal experience. I doubt it involved a lot of punts.

I joined the local Missouri alumni group for a bus ride to Athens, about an hour to our east, for the Missouri/Georgia game. When the season began there were high hopes, Missouri for a divisional threepeat and Georgia for a return to glory that always seems just out of reach. By kickoff, both were dashed. The winner would keep narrow hopes for a division title and the loser would float away to an obscure bowl.

When I was upgraded from the “B” to the “A” bus, I knew there was trouble. The bus was packed and nearly every person onboard had their own cooler. I packed my go-to low booze style, the Gose, with plenty of Anderson Valley’s Blood Orange variety. It’s not surprising that there were plenty of TV people on the bus as Missouri is J-school U, having more recently turned toward #dlu and #qbu. There were vodka-soaked gummy bears. I suppose it’s a natural thing for people to take a childhood candy and make it into a tool of destruction.

We arrived in Athens in mid-afternoon and it wasn’t long before I ditched the group and headed to the Trappeze Pub. They have a great beer list, and no TVs in the front so I had to actually talk to strangers. I suggested half pours as that meant more beer.

I did eventually get to the game. I’ve never been to the upper deck at the Titans’ stadium, and that’s section 300. My seat was in section 600. We were below where they shot off the fireworks. The view was great and I thought we were in for a fun ride when the Tigers intercepted the first Georgia pass and returned it to the one-yard line. Alas, that was as far as either offense would progress this evening. It was a punt fest. Missouri’s offense didn’t even get going, and Georgia kept pushing slightly further downfield all day. Eventually Missouri succumbed 9-6, their second game this year in which both teams failed to get ten points and the third time Missouri didn’t reach double digits.

Next week I’ll be in Nashville for Missouri/Vandy, which has the lowest over/under (34) of the season for college football. It’s like there’s an over/under for my local keeper league.

For the second week in a row in my local keeper league, my team was “projected” to finish about even with my opponent and got blasted. Last week my team gave up the most points and was in the top half in scoring. This week, nothing close. I gave up 143, scored 96, and just about all my players underperformed. At 1-5, the season’s circling the drain and my only hope is Dez Bryant returning early.

I had a great “fantasy moment” as the minutes counted down to the 1 p.m. kickoffs. I decided to start Travis Benjamin over Chris Johnson, went on a walk, and during the walk decided to ask Twitter. My one response was to put CJ back in, I went with it, and the rest is low-scoring history. Had I kept that substitution, I would have lost by 33 instead of 47, so no biggie. Screwed over by Chris Johnson again. I thought it would never happen.

The Titans were crushed as Ken Whisenhunt’s one-week early season magic again failed to dazzle past September. I’ll be attending Missouri-Vanderbilt, Nashville Predators-Pittsburgh Penguins and Titans/Falcons next weekend. Might that push me away from football for good?

Beer of the weekend? I had Delirium Tremens before but when I saw “Delirium Red”, a version of their beer with cherries, I had to try it. I had three. It’s the best cherry beer I’ve tried, and I’m loving Ommeganga’s Rosetta which is another good example of the style. I won’t be a loser when it comes to beer choices.

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