Sports

OLIU’S OUTLOOK: TIS THE SEASON

Tis the season

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Oooooooweeeeeeeeee! It’s “It’s decorative gourd season, motherfuckers” season, motherfuckers! Which also means that El TIDE are preparing to roll into your goddamn living rooms ONCE AGAIN LIKE IT NEVER LEFT.

It really does seem like it never left! Part of this is that Alabama played until the last possible moment because we won ANOTHER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! It’s our fifty-second! Wow! That is a record of some sort! I am so proud of all of us! Great work everyone! Remember when you hauled the back up television that you barely use and has been sitting in a closet somewhere out onto the back porch so you could freeze your ass off to watch us smoke Georgia with approximately one to two friends because being indoors was a bad idea because there is a pandemic going on!? I sure do! It was okay! It was fine! I’m glad we won the championship because otherwise the whole goddamn thing would’ve been super pointless! Do y’all watch LOVE ISLAND UK? Are you familiar with BAD FOOTBALLER TOBY? He is a very dumb human who keeps screwing things up massively but everything winds up FINE. He is a DEFLON DON or whatever nonstick surface they use in Essex! I don’t even know! I assume it’s a weird British brand like LOLLYFLUFFERS. LOLLYFLUFFERS DON

toby, pickle

Anyway, he has this one line after he totally breaks someone’s heart like “you are just a part of my journey and I don’t regret anything because it got me to where I am today” which is a very dumb thing to actually SAY to someone! You save lines like that for Instagram stories when you KNOW that your ex is still scoping out your stories & you want to prove to them that you don’t love them anymore & aren’t thinking about them anymore so you obviously post something meant for that very specific audience to show how much you don’t care! Anyway, that was Alabama Football last season! All of the massive hardship that all of the other teams undertook, including wild scheduling shifts, extensive invasive PCR testing for athletes, and mandatory quarantines was all so that Alabama could realize its journey to get us to where they are today! Sure, there were small victories from lesser teams, like winning the Advocare Bowl or whatever, but we are truly the star of this show! Toby, of course, is a massively stupid villain to the point where they are kind of endearing in their audacity—the same way that when Alabama does something ridiculous to another team (or, like when Smitty would glide past a poor cornerback who converted from safety because a team needed the help), many folks just have to laugh to keep them from weeping. It is Alabama’s world and you are just living it!

Speaking of that, Miami, huh! YIKES. I know that South Florida is NFL Country who are all transplants who are all actually Giants fans but keep randomly getting Miami Dolphins tickets by listening to radio promotion giveaways (I just assume that every single radio station in South Florida is called GATOR 101.8 SOUTH FLORIDA’S HOTTEST COUNTRY or GATOR 98.1 SOUTH FLORIDA’S HOTTEST ADULT CONTEMPORARY HITS OF THE 1960S) & I understand that in an NFL Season we are dealing with professional football players which typically means that there is some semblance of parity where any given Sunday (they should name a movie after this!) a team can defeat another team (I am a colts fan, we will lose to Jacksonville at least once just as a social experiment), but wow y’all were not prepared for the thunderfunking y’all got! What I really enjoyed about “the discourse” was Miami fans insisting that Alabama fans had never been “trash talked like this before” which has big “look out Nashville, you haven’t seen anything like this before” & by anything like this before we mean “girls in khaki Kung Lao hats running up a 128 dollar tab at Luke Bryan’s bar before vomiting in a Lyft and tanking your passenger rating” vibes.

Anyway, the greatest trick that Miami ever pulled was positioning themselves as the antithesis of Notre Dame in the Catholics vs. Convicts battle. As someone who just watched (Florida-based!) AEW All Out last night, it reminds me of when boring ass (but great!) Dean Malenko got injured & written off of WCW Television & in the meantime Chris Jericho just kept bringing him up & clowning him over and over, and then all of a sudden DEAN MALENKO pretends to be Ciclope, unmasks, & everyone GOES APESHIT! IT’S THE ICE MAN! Miami wasn’t even a part of their own origin story! Look fam, I am from New Jersey, the greatest state in the nation (patent pending) & I grew up Catholic. Every kid just like me applied to Boston College, Notre Dame, and Miami because they’re the same exact school. You could either go to a major city, the beach, or make your grandpa happy. This guy’s a gangster? His real name’s Clarence.

(NB: this does not go for the players, who were some absolutely wild dudes. I once saw Ed Reed block two punts in a preseason game & he should’ve blocked two more. There’s a scene in the Blank Space music video where there is “Sean + Taylor” carved into a tree & I believe that in the greater folkloreevermore universe Sean Taylor is still alive, we just need to follow the CLUES swifties!)

Our defense is going to be very good & I will never get over that 1. Will Anderson Jr is as fast as Jaylen Waddle when it comes to explosiveness 2. Will Anderson Jr’s nickname is The Terminator & he has never seen The Terminator, which is the greatest venn diagram between teachers & sportswriters where we make references to things that we assume are common knowledge but the folks that we are dealing with are tiny roll tide embryos to whom 2 years is 11% of their lives up until this point, which means that they experience time incredibly differently than us old heads. 3. Will Anderson Jr. is an old soul, singing 90s R&B as he puts the fear of god into everyone that lines up across from him. Imagine Will Anderson Jr trying to KILL YOU while singing Next’s Too Close. The man is singing about getting a boner from grinding while he grabs you by the shoulderpad & throws you into the next century. What a blessing. What a terrifying thought. That’s some Omar whistling Farmer In The Dell shit. (RIP Michael K. Williams)

sorry to this man

It’s our home opener next week! Is this a good idea!? Fuck if I know! The messaging about superspreader events have been super suspect! The messaging about everything has been suspect! I go to a superspreader event every single day! It is called “my job!” Why do I feel comfortable going to a tailgate but do not feel comfortable going into the stadium? Is it because it’s the MERCER BEARS? Is it because I gauge seeing friends as more important to me than sitting in the sun-side of Bryant-Denny Stadium while we obliterate a SoCon team? Would I show up for UT-Chattanooga? Why am I comfortable doing stuff that I am forced to do but uncomfortable doing fun shit? Oh wait it was capitalism all along wasn’t it

How are you? Are you feeling this way too? Did you see the images of Enter Sandman at VaTech & were like “wow that rules” & then saw the images of the Iowa fans waving to the children’s hospital & were like “wow that’s fucked up?” Do you find yourself in a permanent state of both inertia and velocity? Do you feel like a Crimson-clad Zeno’s Arrow, stuck in one duration-less instant of time, not moving to where it is, nor moving to where it is not? HARD SAME Does this also work as a metaphor for Florida State Football, except instead of an arrow we are talking about a helmet spear? YOU BETCHA

It sucks because there is no leadership & we fucking LOVE being told what to do to the point where people who are like “don’t tell me what to do” are being told what to do by other people who say “don’t tell me what to do”. Don’t give into fear! Give into me telling you not to give into fear! Just stop eating the medicine that I use for my rosacea. These flare ups ain’t going to unflare themselves!

I don’t know how many posts I will make this season! Again, this is something that I love to do, though I have become disinterested in the content machine of which I am very much a part of! We have all been inside for way too fucking long & so we just created as much content as possible! I do not want to be one of those terrible social media posts that are like “unplug from your life, this is what fortune 500 ceos do” but maybe it is okay to just VIBE?

What is it to write about football—to create content based off of a nebulous thing that floats & looms above us like Big Al crowd surfing his way through the students’ section (I miss crowd surfing). I know so many people in sports media who get burnt out & they put in 6000X times the amount of work and effort that I do. There are a million podcasts (please invite me onto yours). There are countless tweets, shitposts, memes, YouTube videos. I just participated in a GODDAMN RAP BATTLE with Trina’s accountant’s neighbor. I’m tired, man. Sometimes I just want to watch Bryce Young (who I saw eating a fruit salad the other day by himself, shout out to fruit salad) DDR pad his way around the pocket before hitting a favorite former student in the back of the endzone & revel in that joy rather than thinking about how I am going to interpret said joy. This is very Alabama fan—a spoiled place to be; the same way that we find ourselves worrying about the next game while in the current game—how we need to clean up our penalties or else Florida is going to take advantage of this, rather than appreciating the company that we are with (shoutout to my friend Matt & my cool wife Tasha, it was so nice to watch a game indoors!) & those that are still here with us. There is a balance there though—on Friday morning, I met an old friend for coffee at Babe’s Donuts at the corner of Greensboro & University. We talked about our classes, our families, about football. Before I left, I took a photo of the old AmSouth Building because it captured that perfect Tuscaloosa Friday Feeling & posted it to Twitter, not thinking much of it. But it hit for some people—I heard stories of folks walking through their Friday rituals; going to the ABC Store & running into your buddies in line. Going to that Friday morning class where your teacher lets you out a few minutes early because it’s Friday and the sun is shining. Telling yourself that you have a big day tomorrow so you’re going to call it an early night, but still finding yourself at Quick Grill at 3am. A moment frozen in time, but still here with us—inside us; the arrow be damned. I hope that we cherish our group chats, our texts from friends, our shared moments with our families. Our gameday photos from the last time we all got together. Our pictures of friends we’ve lost & the memories they took with them. Because those are the moments that are going to get us moving forward. Football is wonderful. Football helps. But football alone isn’t going to get us unstuck.

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