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OPEN THREAD: FIRST SHIFT

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THEY'RE GOING TO EXPECT ONE OF US IN THE WRECKAGE, BROTHER

Good morning, Happy Holidays: I hate you and everything you stand for.

We could preview the games today, but there's only one you truly care about, and you know damn well what's at stake in that one. Maybe you're 11-0 today, maybe you're 5-6. There might be a playoff spot at stake, or a last shot at a fringe bowl bid. You could be playing for a division title, or your coach might be playing for his job.

It doesn't matter.

You could be happy with how this season's gone, or it could have been a disappointing tire fire, marked by injuries, bad coordinator hires and poor gameplans. You could be thrilled with how things have gone - everyone's healthy and everything's worked and, can you believe that one game you pulled out?

It doesn't matter.

Your mother who only watches five hours of sports a year knows what's at stake. Your kids were raised from birth to know what's at stake. No one's asking what your plans are today. The mall will be empty for three and a half hours today, and you're not getting any shopping done. You could be freezing on metal bleachers under a gunmetal-gray sky today, or under a blanket eating leftover mashed potatoes straight from the container.

It doesn't matter.

Today is about nothing more than ruining their season, proving to those [snobs/hilljacks] at [flagship/landgrant] exactly what you've always said about them: they're [ineffectual ivory tower ninnies/uncultured mouth-breathing rubes], their coach is a [loser/cheater/dangerously unhinged lunatic] and you've [always been better than them/finally eclipsed them]. You look stupid in [red/blue/green/crimson/orange].

Springfield sucks, maybe that's why we beat them nearly half the time.

It's going to be a long winter, and you're either going to be warmed by the soft glow of victory or freeze to death in the barren fields of missed chances. George at work is going to be a total asshole to you on Monday, unless you get to be a total asshole to George. You've really had it with George and his [flagship/landgrant] bullcrap.

The 2013 Iron Bowl will still be the funniest damn thing you've ever seen. Today, though, it doesn't matter.

The fire rises.