Football Trick or Treating
I feel the need to explain myself. I love Vanderbilt football, as many of you know. But after their most recent loss, as I recovered my shoe from inside the television set, it occurred to me that many of you don't understand why I get so worked up. What a better time to clarify things than now…during Halloween season.
Q. Why is Halloween season an appropriate time to talk about Vandy football, Keith?
A. Because the Vanderbilt program has mastered the art of teasing. Very much like a girl in a slutty vampire costume.
Q. That's a bit of a stretch, don't you think?
A. Hear me out and quit interrupting. With both Vandy and the vixen vamps, you can't help but get excited at the possibilities upon first sight. You drink a ton of beer, you wait eagerly, and then you find yourself disappointed, wondering why the hell nobody can score. It's not long before you realize that "sure things" can be deceiving, whether they come with bulging cleavage or four non-conference games. And the longer you stick around, the sooner you learn that other teams are waiting to play too, just like the girl's 250-pound boyfriend dressed as the Incredibly Drunk Hulk. Next thing you know, it's a year later, and you're in the same situation, trying to convince yourself that this time, somehow, it's going to be different.
Q. Different how? What do you expect from them?
A. Vandy hasn't been to a bowl game since 1982. And every year they tease the fans with thoughts of ending that slump. But it never works out, and we're left talking about basketball season, which in the case of the vampire analogy, is our reliable booty call.
Q. Okay, back up. If Vanderbilt football routinely disappoints you, why are you so obsessed with them?
A. I grew up around Vanderbilt, went to school there, and worked in their athletic department for four years after graduating. The amount of words it would take to describe my fanaticism is equal only to the amount of spackle it would take to fill the holes I've made after countless losses. By the way, my landlord will not send a repair bill to Vandy's offensive coordinator, but it was worth a try.
Q. I don't follow college football that much, Keith. Why is this year so much more dramatic than the previous ones?
A. Vandy started this year 5-0 and have since rattled off three straight losses, including one to lowly Duke on Homecoming weekend. It was as if the team said in one collective voice, "Welcome back, alumni! By the way, can any of you zone block?"
Q. Well starting the year 5-0 must have been exciting. Isn't that good enough?
A. I will punch you in the face. Okay sure, that was a fun run. My beloved Vanderbilt Commodores were undefeated just a month ago. Ranked in the top 15 for the first time since the days when the mascot wasn't confused for a Lionel Richie band. But six is the magic number of wins needed, preferably seven. Six wins makes us eligible for a bowl game, but seven makes a bowl game a definite. Getting there, however, apparently isn't Easy Like Sunday Morning.
Q. Still, don't you think your attitude is immature?
A. I never said it wasn't immature. I'm a grown man, for crying out loud. But you have to take into consideration that I'm a grown man who owns breakable things. And that's why this situation is so dire. For the sake of my sanity and my major appliances, Vandy must get over the hump and stop haunting me.
Q. Well is there a chance this could still be the year?
A. Absolutely. I say that with the feeling that I'm going to turn the corner into my bedroom only to see a circle of my family and friends sitting me down for an intervention. Yes, I have a problem. But it has a cure. And it's within reach. All we have to do is win two out of the four remaining games. Sweet, sweet cleavage.