Game? What Game?

by Rich on January 8, 2018

Due to deadlines and publishing requirements, one of the peculiarities of this column is that I must file it to the editor before any of the big sports stories for the weekend have actually occurred. That’s a little peek behind the curtain, perhaps, but maybe you have wondered why, in a Sunday column in the sports section, I don’t specifically address the games that were played the day before. Well, now you know. It can be a challenge, because often that’s exactly what I want to write about. Let me be clear, though, that for you the reader, this is probably a good thing. I’m no expert when it comes to sports. These pages are full of writers who are, and those are writers you rightly turn to for game analysis. I’m the average fan. The casual observer. The “man on the street”, if you will. Life is bigger than sports, and I try to incorporate all of it, within a sports themed column. It’s not always easy, but I do love it.

This week is different. Why? Because the biggest game of the week doesn’t happen until Monday night! That’s right, I get to write a column about the biggest story in sports that you will read BEFORE IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS!

Tremble, sports writing gods…tremble.

But here’s the thing… I’m not actually going to right about the game, per se. I’m not going to break down Alabama’s secondary or tell you why Georgia should be able to effectively run the ball. Again, plenty of people in this very section doing that very thing at a much higher level. No, I want to talk about what this game means for those not actually playing in it. There are a lot of very invested stakeholders and I find this match-up fascinating for what it means to them.

If you are a fan of the Crimson Tide, how much does this game mean to you? Do you need it to avenge the loss against Clemson in the same game last year? Or did the playoff game last week do that? You already believe that your coach and his program are the greatest in college football history. I doubt a loss at this level would change that conviction. So what, exactly, is on the line? Asking for a friend.

For Bulldog fans, I think I have a much clearer picture of what’s at stake. This is a program that has underachieved for so long that it’s fans have become almost bitter. From the outside, at least, it often appears that Georgia fans feel as if they should have won multiple national championships over the last 30 years, and that it has only been the cruel hand of fate and an undiscovered but somehow disturbed Indian burial ground that has kept them from reaching the mountaintop. For them, this game means everything.

As for the rest of the conference, there seems to be a significant split between pride that the game is an entirely SEC endeavor, and horror that the two teams playing in the game are hated enemies. Not of each other, necessarily, but of the rest of the teams in the conference. The big question for most SEC fans is not who to root for, but what can be done Monday night to pretend that there’s not actually a game being played?

What will I be doing, you ask? I’ll be doing what I normally do on a Monday night…writing next week’s column. Can’t wait to tell you why I think all basketball games should be played outdoors, on dirt.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Beverly Perkins January 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm

I’m actually very curious to know why you think basketball should be played outside…..and on dirt?

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