Life is full of fairly obvious, easy-to-explain pleasures -- booze, fine European automobiles, big boobs, "Chappelle's Show," bacon. But each of us carries around a list of things that are much more specific and personal, yet bring that little adrenaline rush of happiness in ways we can't quite explain. I'm not even talking about personal taste here, as in a preference for a particularly pricey brand of Scotch or a certain cut of suit; I'm talking about something even deeper and more personal than that, more obscure, those things that maybe 99 percent of the population would be unable to appreciate but in you brings about that little tingle of excitement and anticipation reminding you that, as fucked-up as life may seem sometimes, some things about it are just plain awesome.
Every person has their own list of these, and each one is as unique as a fingerprint, not to mention really eclectic. I know mine is, as it includes, but is not exclusive to, the "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketches from "Saturday Night Live"; the last two minutes of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"; opening up the menu at a new restaurant and finding that they serve fried green tomatoes; the Citroën 2CV; getting waved at by the amazingly, stupefyingly, gouge-your-eyes-out-now-cause-it's-never-gonna-get-better-than-this hot Ukrainian waitress at the restaurant around the corner when I'm out walking my dog; the 5-4 downshift in my car; driving down I-85 by the Atlanta airport and watching a plane come in and land right over my head. Stuff like that.
To that list you may now add the below picture, as well as Georgia Sports Blog, the place where I saw it today.
To most people this probably just looks like a screenshot of some horrified and/or stunned people, but when I saw it today, it took me all of 0.0005 seconds to figure out what it was, and when I did, I almost jumped up and did a little Snoopy dance right there in my cubicle.
OK. It was October 11, 2003, and Georgia was playing Tennessee up in Knoxville. And I went up to Big Orange Country with a few friends of mine from college to see the game -- amazingly enough, the first game I'd ever seen at Neyland Stadium. Georgia had a three-year winning streak over the Vols, but I was still nervous; Tennessee doesn't take kindly to getting beat by anybody three years straight, and they were pissed. We went downtown, paid a scalper $500 total for four tickets within loogie-hocking distance of the field, and marched into the lions' den.
Georgia played a very solid first half. The offense put together some very nice, consistent drives against the UT defense, and the Bulldog defense looked almost uniformly fantastic -- Tennessee's one big play was a 90-yard run-and-catch for a TD in which the UT receiver all but snatched the ball out of Decory Bryant's hands before they hit the ground. Still, that meant the score was just 13-7, Georgia, with Tennessee driving furiously right before the end of the first half.
Tennessee got all the way down to the Georgia 1 yard line with just seven seconds left in the half. I figured Jabari Davis would pop it in, or at the very least Tennessee would kick a field goal and go into halftime trailing Georgia by only three. But what happened was the center snapped the ball, Casey Clausen took it, and before he could hand off, bumped into his fullback. He fumbled the ball, and Georgia safety Sean Jones took it, and ran. And ran. And ran.
Ninety-two yards. Ninety-two freaking yards. Touchdown, Georgia.
Instead of 14-13, Vols, it's 20-7, Bulldogs, and Tennessee basically packed it in after that. Georgia scored 21 more points in the third quarter -- 14 of them off of Clausen interceptions chucked deep in his own territory -- and when the smoke had cleared, Georgia fans were pretty much the only people left in that massive stadium to marvel at the final score: 41-14, Georgia, the second-worst defeat ever suffered by the Vols at home.
So that screen shot, you'll note, was captured with :00 left on the clock in the second quarter. Those Tennessee fans are sitting there in shock having just witnessed Sean Jones's stupefying sprint to paydirt. The ESPN producers haven't even had time to change the score yet. Oh, God, what a beautiful, beautiful thing.
So anyway. This is partly my long-winded way of calling attention to what an awesome blog Paul Westerdawg is running over there, and apologizing for not having linked it before now. Even if you're not a Dawg fan, you have to admit Paul is one funny guy, with big-time extra credit for having made a Bill Brasky reference in his analysis of the sheer apocalyptic awesomeness of Georgia tight end Leonard Pope. "I know Leonard Pope! He goes about nine-foot-seven, 845 pounds. You know, he jumped off the Empire State Building this one time and he only sprained his ankle. Leonard Pope once showed me a video of him making love to my wife, and it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw!" (Even Florida fans, who have a pretty kick-ass blog going on themselves, think he's awesome.)
It's also my way of bogarting a page from my friend Benjie's book (and his blog) by using a freewheelin' Friday to pose a question: Readers, what are some obscure, personal little things that bring a smile to your face from out of nowhere? A certain smell? A flavor of ice cream? A bass line? Whatever it is, put it in the comments so that we, too, may appreciate.
Finally, this post is my way of saying, as the Bulldogs prepare to march into the lions' den once more this Saturday, Hunker down, you hairy Dawgs. I have a feeling this game's going to be so close, so tense, that Larry Munson's going to be on life support by the time the fourth quarter starts, and I may be right there with him. But God willing, as we lie there doped-up, IV'ed, and respirator'ed, we will be watching the Dawgs march off that orange-and-white checkerboard an undefeated, SEC-East-leading team.
Sic 'em, boys.