I am doing pushups on my knuckles. I am doing pushups on my knuckles on a cold concrete floor. I am ready.
I will not be one of the fallen. I will not be the one you see ripped limb from limb by the Alabama fans in the lobby, three days from their last meal and cut off by the Auburn occupation of the Chick-Fil-A from the only source of food. I will not be the last meal of Phyllis from Mulga and her kin. I will survive.
I am doing burpee pullups with a fifty pound pack on and humming the ESPN college football theme. Three days killed lesser men and women. Four days in Hoover. FOUR. That's where we are now. Just when survival shows you the finish line, it drops back to the horizon and makes you run a whole other marathon. I survived for three days one year in the ceiling, licking the Dr. Pepper off the pipes and making trips at night to eat the last Golden Flake cheese curls off the carpet. Never again.
This time I fight. I will make it through the first day's tribal alignments, and then the initial skirmishes. I will endure the second day, and the reign of the talk radio overlords. Dammit I will see through the bloody coups of the second night, and live mostly intact to the third day when the ESPN stormtroopers seize control of the Wynfrey's escalators. I'll hold a corner of the ballroom with my compatriots until our cellphones finally die, and we can tweet the horrors no more.
I am running ten miles under cover of night with a homeless man on my shoulders just to prep for a scintilla of the horrors of a four-day-long SEC Media Days. The man's name? You knew him once as Mike Dubose, but that man is dead now. His name is Chang-El-Maray now, and he is my spirit guide and trainer. I do not allow him to sleep under my deck; no, he chooses to, in order to be closer to nature's cruel bosom.
When you see us enter the fourth day alive, you will know our preparations were not in vain.
See you in Hoover, or hell. Whichever one comes first.