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CHOOSE YOUR CHAMPIONS: FLORIDA

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PLAYER ONE SELECT YOUR SQUAD

Channing Crowder deflects a pass
THIS WASN’T EVEN IN A GAME, CROWDER SOMETIMES SHOWED UP TO OTHER TEAMS’ PRACTICES AND WANTED TO GO

Trial by combat is a serious thing. It’s mostly fictional unless we’re talking about the South Carolina legal system, where trial by combat was a thing as recently as 2003. Don’t look that up, it’s on the secret menu of South Carolina legal code. Does it make sense that like South Carolina’s legal system works a lot like the menu at Hardees? You bet it does.

The most important option in trial by combat is the option of choosing a champion—i.e, someone who is not you, but is willing to fight for you in the ring. The odds are that an average person cannot fight, much less fight well enough to win or survive in the ring. This is good in a lot of ways! It means most people generally avoid useless, possibly injurious combat, the kind that sends people to hospitals, occasionally gets them killed, and results in expensive medical bills and legal fees. Fighting is bad, and dumb, and traumatic for everyone involved, and usually tends to ruin an otherwise fine outing.

This is also bad in a trial by combat situation. It means you probably go to jail and get your ass kicked in public. This asskicking will definitely be caught on video, too, which will definitely get on the internet in one form or another. If you are the loser, you will be BRUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH’d by 500 people on Twitter, LMAAOOOO’d by another 1000, and receive endless crying laughing emojis from everyone else. It will be bad.

If there were rules about fighting, this would be our first and most important: There should be an option to quit a fight and concede at any point. Look at our man on the right in the video. He should have quit the minute he saw his opponent’s neck and trapular area, because you never, ever fight someone with a thicker yoke than yours.

If that weren’t enough, the opponent squares up, makes a smaller target of himself, has his hands up, and is clearly a member of the Stay Ready All Stars. Our guy on the left is none of these. He should have respectfully conceded, exited the game, and gone back to the lobby to wait around for a better match. This wasn’t it.

The point is: Trial by combat takes a team. And in our case, we’ll select a team of five to represent us on the field of battle, and choose them by school. In our case, we select from the pool of athletes who attended the University of Florida, our alma mater. We are not limiting ourselves by sport, or even gender. If there’s someone who is a guaranteed universally applicable badass you suspect would defend your honor in the court of battle, put them in as you wish.

Representing us in trial by combat from the University of Florida:

  1. Channing Crowder. Linebacker for the Gators from 2003 to 2004, but that tells so little of the Channing Crowder story. Crowder grew up hunting and tackling hogs, and was quoted in the Alligator in 2003 saying “A boar is harder to tackle because a running back can’t bite you.” Crowder got into a barfight as a freshman, dared opponents to scrap throughout his Florida career, and was strong enough to bring down JaMarcus Russell twice in a game despite Russell having the size and strength of a very literal live oak. It is easy to find Channing Crowder in footage of the fight after the 2004 Florida State/Florida game. He’s the one in the middle of it fighting with his helmet off. He later went on to fight Matt Light in an NFL game and also walk away from a head-on car collision with a tree in Miami. An easy first choice for a Florida squad.
  2. Udonis Haslem. The baddest man to every play basketball for the Gators. A certified NBA bully with a long, long resume of quality shit-talking and the work to back it up. Told Kevin Garnett he wouldn’t “throw rice at a wedding”, challenged heavy-handed boxing fan David West in his prime in the playoffs, and would dive into a wood chipper for a rebound. The consistent, ruthless worker on the team. Bonus points: Has a full backpiece of the state of Florida, automatically making him 10% more dangerous in a fight.
  3. Abby Wambach. All headbutts and brutal kicks that could rupture a spleen. Has taken enough elbows to the head during matches to convince us that her pain tolerance lies somewhere north of “completely numb”. Only went down when sucker-punched in order to draw cards and the attention of referees. (Watch her here, seconds after getting walloped midfield, arguing forcefully despite just being punched in the damn face.) A gamer and a pace-pusher once the football guys get tired.
  4. Jack Youngblood. Florida defensive end who went on to the Rams and played in a playoff game against the Cowboys after breaking his left leg. And then played in the Super Bowl on that broken leg. And then played the next week on the broken leg in the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl didn’t count for jack in 1979 AND JACK YOUNGBLOOD STILL PLAYED IN IT WITH A BROKEN LEG. In 1981, prior to the season, doctors removed a “hot dog-sized” blood clot from under his left arm. He missed no playing time as a result. We really don’t know if Jack Youngblood could fight—but we’re also fairly certain that we don’t know this because no one, absolutely no one wanted a part of anyone that tough. We’ll take him, if only to watch others get winded trying to make him flinch.
  5. Both Pouncey twins wearing a very long trenchcoat and trying to fight as once person. This probably isn’t legal, but neither is trial by combat. Mike and Maurice threw people around for three years together and four years all told, and sometimes worked as a brutal tandem. You’d be fighting Lakeland’s six hundred pound version of Vincent Adultman. If that sentence doesn’t terrify someone into conceding instantly then they’re the kind of person too foolish to avoid trial by combat in the first place.