Monday, November 26, 2007

Scenes from a Grandmother / Grandaughter Weekend

OK, so this post is also about football. But here in the South - or at least in my family - you better know your football regardless of your gender or else you're going to be pretty lonely come Saturdays in the fall. And even if you're one or two of the four people who read this blog and DON'T like football (and you know who you are!), you might still enjoy a window into the weirdness that is my family tree.

This past Saturday, Tennessee played Kentucky and it went into QUADRUPLE FREAKIN' OVERTIME. I watched the game with my Grandmother, who I will just say, is one of the greatest and most unique grandmothers around. She is many of the traditional grandmothery things - a good cook, a good hostess, spoils her grandchildren, etc. So, it wasn't until I was in my late teens/early twenties that I figured out that she also enjoyed a lot of what, it turns out, are actually non-traditional grandmothery things, like smoking and cussing and drinking and gambling and watching sports. Who knew? But I digress...
The game: it was all kinds of exciting with unexpected and wacky things happening. Thinking about all of them now, I'm sure they're no longer as accurate or in quite the right order any more, but for the rest of eternity, here's how it will replay in my mind:

First Half
Tennessee is off to a great start. Touchdown on the first play.

Woo hoo! I'm enjoying this. Let's peruse one of the "Better Homes and Gardens" Granny has on the coffee table whilst we watch. Oh look, how to make your own Christmas stockings from dish towels...

Tennessee's touchdown is followed with another touchdown, a field goal and yet another touchdown. Half time.

My Grandmother and I discuss what we'll have for dinner after the game is over.

Second Half
On a long pass by Kentucky, their receiver and our defender simultaneously jump high in the air to try and catch the ball. With their arms interlocked, they both grab the ball at the same time. They both come down still holding onto the ball. They both fall to the ground, still with arms interlocked and death grips on the ball. Turns out that if two players simultaneously catch the ball and neither loses possession, the offense gets the ball.

Seriously?!?! Learn something new everyday, I suppose...

Then there are lots of other exciting events. Passes are intercepted, quarterbacks are sacked, penalties are called and the Wildcats eventually catch up. And before we know it, with less than a minute left in the game, Kentucky is about to score a touchdown and win.

How did this happen!?! Oh yeah, that's right, it's happened two other times this season.... I start to feel a bit nauseous and there's a throbbing in my head. It could be the game, or it could be my Grandmother's chain smoking or the fact that she keeps saying she's sure we're going to lose. OR it could be that I know my fate once the game is over is not to watch the Mizzou / Kansas game, but instead a Hallmark Channel movie, A Grandpa for Christmas. No. I'm not kidding.

On first down they throw to the end-zone. Incomplete, but with defensive pass interference, so they're moved closer to the goal line. We stop them on second down and on third down their quarterback drops the snap and is unable to get it together in time to score so they have to kick a field goal to tie and go to overtime.

Overtime. OK, I can handle a little overtime. Granny, however, says we should have just gone ahead and lost in regulation because we're just going to lose in overtime now so what's the point. I reminder her, with clinched teeth, that good Volunteers are faithful and positive Volunteers.

First overtime
Kentucky scores a touchdown and the extra point. Tennessee scores a touchdown via a reaching, twisting, diving catch in the corner, near the sideline which has to be reviewed because they're not sure he kept control of the ball. He did. And they make the extra point. Tied again.

I've now chewed part of my bottom lip off and can feel several hairs on my head turning white. Again, it could be the game, or it could be that my Grandmother has announced that, again, we are going to lose so she's just not going to watch the game any more and then goes about checking her numbers for the various football pools she has money on. I take a glance at the end table that separates us to make sure I can get to the remote if she decides to make a break for the Hallmark Channel.

Second overtime
We fail to score on our possession and Kentucky is unable to score a touchdown so they try to win the game with what looks to be an easy a field goal.

Darkness descends upon the land.

I've taken to chewing on the cuff of my sweatshirt so as not to chew completely through my bottom lip. Granny declares "they're going to kick that field goal and beat us." I finally lose my patience and (lovingly) yell "WELL MAYBE THEY'LL BLOCK IT, GRANNY! DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT THAT?!?"

And then, as if the heavens were listening, one of the shortest defensive lineman on our team jumps in the air AND BLOCKS THE KICK!!!!

I think one of my lungs just collapsed. But I manage to pull together enough oxygen to yell "WHAT'D I TELL YOU!!! NEVER GIVE UP, GRANNY, NEVER GIVE UP!!!" She's seems very happy, but I have a feeling I'm out of the will.

Eric Berry catches the blocked kick and is off and running toward our end zone for the touchdown, but is immediately - and brutally - yanked to the ground by his face mask. HOWEVER, because the heinous action occurred during change of possession in overtime, blah, blah, blah, and Jupiter is aligned with Mars, blah, blah, blah no penalty is assessed.

WTF!!! Fine. Whatever. I'm too exhausted to yell expletives at the referees. Bring on OT#3...

Third overtime
Kentucky scores a touchdown and has to try for the two-point conversion, but they miss. Tennessee scores a touchdown. They try for the two points and almost make it but Arian Foster can't hold onto the ball inbounds, and after the play, flings the football into the air out of frustration.

I'm with you, buddy, flingin' the TV Guide.

Unfortunately, that is considered unsportsmanlike conduct. But wait, the flagrant and vicious face mask take-down from earlier isn't a penalty, so we're good to go, the penalty won't be assessed, right!?! NO!?! Apparently dead ball fouls in overtime, blah, blah, blah, the square root of pi times the area of an isosceles triangle, blah, blah, blah, the penalty IS ASSESSED 15 YARDS!!

WTF2!!! I was still trying to figure out the whole, "when two players catch the ball at the same time and maintain control...." from back in the second half, let alone the previous bit of nonsense about the non-face-mask-penalty (which, have I MENTIONED, was flagrant?!?). I then place a pillow over my head so that I may either muffle my own screams of frustration or smother myself in a few seconds.

Good Gravy, I'm exhausted. Bring on A Grandpa for Christmas. I can't take any more...

I realize though that I need to just suck it up because my Boys in Orange are now into their fifth hour of playing and to add insult to injury, have to start on the 40 yard line instead of the 25 because of the penalty.

OH BUT WAIT... the first play and our quarterback throws an unexpected long pass to some guy I've never heard of - who we find out later, RAN THE WRONG ROUTE - but still manages to catch the ball and run it in for a touchdown. And they get the two point conversion.

Sweet Fancy Moses. I think I might pass out.

Kentucky drives down to the half-yard line and then barely gets in for a touchdown. But best they can do now is tie and extend our agony to a fifth overtime.

However, we all know what color God wears on Saturday, don't we? If not, I'll give you a hint. It ain't blue.

On the two point attempt, Kentucky's quarterback can't find a guy open and starts to run it in himself, but is sacked and fumbles the ball. Tennessee recovers. Game over. We're going to Atlanta. Let the mayhem begin.

I high-five Granny who yells,"I knew they would win!"

Some images from after the game, courtesy of, and

Philly and Coach Trooper Taylor when we won.

Lucas Taylor, after the game, with a tear of exhaustion
and/or elation streaming down his cheek.

One of our players who went to celebrate with the
UT fans after the game and was pulled into the crowd.

Players celebrating with the fans after the game.

More celebration. But please note Eric Berry on the left with Smokey.
Is there a better example of school and state pride than a
great big football player with his arm around some guy wearing a dog suit?
I don't think so.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Again, I would like to point out that your mother's side of the family tree is perfectly normal. Thanks.

I'm still laughing and I read it several days ago. It put me in such a great mood that I was able to ignore the East Nashville Kroger employees who were doing there best to upset me.
Gert's Maw