Back when I was in junior high school in Tennessee -- yes, I lived in Tennessee from age 7 to right before I started high school, no, I'm not proud of it, make your "hillbilly" jabs and let's move on -- I was . . . well, how to put this charitably? I was a total dork. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Doug, you? A dork? You have tons of friends, you're out almost every night of the week, you hobnob with the cream of the political crop, you recently went out with a stone cold Eastern European fox hot enough to make you throw rocks at Angelina Jolie -- how could you ever have been a dork?" Well, dear reader, I appreciate the sentiment, but it's true. I was pasty (OK, pastier), skinny, barely five feet tall, frequently acne-smattered, and interested in the kind of shit no self-respecting seventh-grader, at least at the time, would've ever found cool. The one time I mustered the balls to let a girl know I liked her (which I did through a friend of hers -- that's what a pussy I was), the response I got was the kind of nose-wrinkling facial expression you get when you find some mold-covered food item at the back of the fridge and you're like, "Jeez, what the crap did this use to be?" And my only friends were the people in junior high just as dorky as I, a very select group indeed.
Anyway, when you're Archduke Nerdinand of the Austro-Geektarian Empire and you have no self-esteem, you reach out for someone, anyone, who might bear the dubious distinction of being even dorkier than you are so you have someone to make fun of as bad as people are making fun of you. Amazingly, when I was in junior high I found one. For the purposes of this story, I'll call him "Eric," because his name was Eric; I remember him as being somewhat overweight, very pasty, with braces and a pair of glasses approximately as thick as Joe Paterno's. I can only imagine how horrible this guy's life must've been to be even dorkier than I was at the time, but I made fun of him unmercifully every chance I got, and if he ended up in therapy at any point in the subsequent 16 years, I'm probably as likely to be the cause as anything else.
If I ever run into Eric again, I'm going to fall on my knees and ask him to forgive me, and probably cry like a little girl with a skinned knee when I do so. It may sound strange for me to be bringing this up now, 16 years after the fact, because I guess a lot of people would've forgotten all about it, but let me tell you something -- God doesn't forget. Oh, no. You may think you're leading a good life, you're going back to church, you're donating lots of money to hurricane relief and whatnot, you're not even taking advantage of your newfound non-dork status to pick up random women in bars by telling them you're a movie producer or that the Red Sox just called you up to The Show -- but God still remembers about that poor bastard whose life you ruined in junior high, because He does stuff like this.
Just so You know, though, God, the next time You want to punish me for something, You can focus it all on me and me alone -- like letting my car get broken into (again) or giving me a horrible case of diarrhea or something. You don't have to take it out on someone like D.J. Shockley, who waited patiently for three years for his chance to start for the Bulldogs, was having a stellar season leading the Dawgs to a potential SEC title, and was just about to head into the biggest game of the season before sustaining a freaking MCL sprain. Not trying to tell You how to do Your job, Lord, knowing that You're all-powerful and all that. Just saying, You didn't have to take it out on The Deej. Spare him, take me, knamean?
So anyway. Unless it turns out that Pat Robertson is not in fact batshit crazy and he decides to perform a laying of hands on Shock's knee that somehow magically rehabilitates him in time for the Georgia-Florida game this weekend, we're probably going to have to go with our second-stringer for this year's installment of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The good news is, we can lose that game and still be one game ahead of Flawda in the SEC East standings. The bad news is, we will have lost to Florida, we will no longer be undefeated, and any outside chance we had at going to the Rose Bowl will pretty much have gone bye-bye.
At least our second-stringer, Joe Tereshinski III, has acquitted himself pretty decently so far this season. He doesn't present the Shockley scrambling threat that has forced opposing D-coordinators to guzzle Pepto cocktails all season long, but he does apparently have an arm, and plus he comes from a long line of Bulldogs -- his father and grandfather both played for UGA -- so you know the dude's gonna be motivated. In case any of you don't understand what this is like, it's like if you followed your father and his father before him into the legal profession, you graduate from law school, toil in mostly undistinguished anonymity for years, and then all of a sudden get nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. In other words, it's like being Harriet Miers, only I'm a lot more confident in Tereshinski's qualifications for his job than I am in Miers's for hers.
Plus, Tereshinski. I know I've gotta be related to this kid somewhere down the line, because my mom's side of the family is a bunch of eastern Europeans who came off the boat in the mid-1910s and all brought with them last names that have like 14 syllables and maybe one vowel, if they're lucky. Seriously, you go up into Caroline County, Virginia, and you run into cats that got last names spelled like Zczyvrkswncvenski yet are somehow pronounced "Schmidt." Anyways, point is I can get behind a cat named Tereshinski, and I will be rooting my silly red-and-black Polack ass off for him (actually Slovak ass, but who's counting?) on Saturday.
If you're in the Birmingham area this coming weekend and you feel like stopping by the crib to watch the game, whether you're Slavic or not, c'mon by. I'ma be makin' some potato pancakes, kielbasa and cabbage to celebrate the Polish Powerhouse's (hopefully) triumphant march into Jacksonville. Moms, if you're reading this, I need those old family recipes, yo.
Anyways, while I'm on the subject of sports, I want to take this opportunity to give shout-outs to some more folks who are doing this sports-blogging thing way better than I am: The Drizzle, a fellow Bulldog whose own why-God-why Shockley soliloquy will probably be going up any minute now; Sexy Results, the staggeringly well-written product of a dude who's a Virginia alum just like my mom and dad; and Every Day Should Be Saturday, which is both hilariously insightful and insightfully hilarious, and I say this even though it is written by a couple Florida fans. I can only hope that God will take note of my charity toward the enemy, recognize that I'm really trying not to be complete scum, and thus refrain from any further indirect punishments like, say, Mark Richt being fatally struck by lightning or Quentin Moses dying of a cerebral hemorrhage after having his skull crushed in a horrible freak Whack-a-Mole accident.
Please, Lord. I'm begging You. Look, I'm even going to church this evening! I'm so trying!