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  • Writer's pictureStephen Palmer

It’s Game Day!

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

August 31, 2019

No, college football in the South isn’t a religion. It’s actually more important than that. And today is Game Day, the first of twelve high holy days on which Our Team--our tribe, our nation, our cult--will engage the mentally and morally weak Other Team in a contest for which the word “game” is simply too timid of a noun.

We refer to Our Team in the first person plural: we, us and our. We paid tuition and attended classes at Our University ten or twenty or fifty years ago. For this reason, our personal happiness and self-worth are now inextricably linked to what today’s players for Our Team--who may or may not attend classes or pay tuition at Our University--accomplish on the football field.

For nine long months, we’ve had no actual games to watch. We’ve been forced to follow recruiting and spring practice and summer workouts as pale substitutes for the excitement of Game Day. During this interminable period without actual college football, we have convinced ourselves of the following truths, which are as immutable as they are illogical:

  1. The incoming freshmen for Our Team are outstanding, much better than the ratings assigned to them by the biased recruiting services. They have each dreamed of playing for Our Team since infancy (despite almost attending the Other University to play for the Other Team) and will perform great deeds on the playing field this fall.

  2. The now-departed starters from last year’s team, while gallant warriors, were not as talented as the players who will replace them for this season. These former players will not be missed. Our Team is bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter across the board when compared to last year’s team.

  3. Our Former Head Coach who left to go to the Other Team was truly a disappointment and is probably the reason why more talented players sat on the bench behind lesser mortals, as described in Item 2 above. Our Current Head Coach is much more qualified and will rectify the mistakes of Our Former Head Coach posthaste.

  4. Our Team has made amazing progress in summer workouts. They have lifted more weights, run more sprints, and performed more drills than those losers on the Other Team. This Herculean offseason effort will translate into victory for us on the field this fall.

  5. The Other Team may have more talent on paper, but we play them at Our Stadium. Our home-field advantage will overwhelm the Other Team and result in an upset victory for Our Team. Of course, if the game is at the Other Stadium, this will also inure to our advantage because Our Team won when we last played there. The fact that this occurred way back in 1978 is completely irrelevant.

  6. Our Team consists of diligent, hard-working, polite, studious young men who are true scholar-athletes. In fact, Our Roster consists entirely of warrior-poets. The players on the Other Team, in contrast, are thugs, the dregs of society who would all be in prison if there were any justice in this world. In the event one of said criminals transfers to Our University to join Our Team, it is because he has seen the light and desperately desires to reform his character while donning the beautiful and virtuous colors of Our Team. Upon doing so, his past sins are immediately forgiven.

  7. Our Conference has been conspiring against Our Team for years in favor of the Other Team. This is evidenced by the horribly unjust penalties called against Our Team by the officials and yet overlooked when committed by the Other Team, not to mention the extremely difficult schedule imposed upon us by Our Conference. Sadly, said bias against Our Team is likely to continue, but we now have the talent and the coaching to win in spite of it.

  8. Our Star Player who was injured early last season is now completely recovered. His surgically-repaired knee is stronger than it was before his injury, and he will perform even greater heroics this fall. On the other hand, the outstanding player for the Other Team who suffered the same injury is not fully recovered. After all, he is an ill-mannered punk who has a poor work ethic and questionable table manners. The Other Team will suffer as a result.

  9. The fact that we have young, inexperienced, and poorly-rated players starting for Our Team on the offensive line is not a valid source of concern. We’ve always had a good offensive line in the past. Accordingly, the skills of our offensive linemen from, say, eight years ago will somehow be imputed to this years’ players. Our Team, therefore, will run the ball with authority and impose its will on the Other Team.

  10. Admittedly, Our Team’s new uniforms are horrendously ugly. But Our Players like the new look and will be inspired to rise to new heights as a result of these new polka-dotted jerseys.

Yes, this will be Our Team’s year, for the reasons above and many more. We tell ourselves this on Twitter, Facebook, sports message boards, and radio call-in shows. We bump fists with strangers in restaurants who are wearing the great and glorious logo of Our Team. And today is Game Day: the long-awaited day on which we reveal to the world the skill and sagacity of Our Team, something recognized only by Our Fans for the past nine months. We can’t possibly be wrong . . . can we?

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