Sunday, October 23, 2005

rex in tuscaloosa

Things looked bleak in the fourth quarter. The Vols were dangerously close to the end zone as time ticked off the clock, and the sluggish Alabama offense had not given the Tide faithful much of a reason to believe that they could reciprocate a touchdown against a very stingy Tennessee defense. My heart sank, and I began to anticipate the gloating emails and phone calls from a handful of Vol fans. They would not be calling and writing to light a candle in my time of darkness. That is simply not the Volunteer way.

Still, it had been a great day so far.

I drove down early with my dad to meet some of his friends for beer and hotwings at the RV encampment before walking the mile and a half to the stadium nearly two hours before the game just to boo Philip Fulmer as he came out for pre-game drills. Heckling, much like Pabst Blue Ribbon, has long strengthened Alabama families.

Actually, PBR has probably done more to create Alabama families.

It is not unusual to pull up to any given traffic light in the state and catch the driver or passenger of the car next to you cracking open and tilting back a tall boy. It is not unusual to see this before noon. We are a jovial lot.

We got pumped up by the montage of great Alabama plays on the jumbo screen and the repeated playing of “Sweet Home Alabama” over the loudspeakers and then had the surreal experience of Alabama native Condoleezza Rice coming out for the coin toss just before kickoff. That was followed by a nail-biting and scoreless first half and a half time in which we booed the Tennessee marching band as they played “Rocky Top”.

It may seem a little tasteless, but I see nothing wrong in booing any band that knows only one song.

The second half was a repeat performance of the first until the two teams traded field goals and thus eliminated the possibility of going into a scoreless overtime. Then the Vol offense found their rhythm and began a steady matriculation down the field and appeared to be well on their way to eliminating any overtime. Mudville was on the verge of joylessness, and Tide fans everywhere began to quietly contemplate the very real possibility of another year of taunting from Volunteers.

Then it happened.

Safety Roman Harper dislodged the ball from Tennessee’s Cory Anderson just outside the goal line and thus caused the ball to cross the end zone without him. This rendered the Vol drive fruitless and gave Alabama the ball on their own twenty yard line. An energized Tide offense marched the ball to within field goal range, and I began to mentally compose the cruelest of emails for a number of Vol fans.

That is the Rex L. Camino way.

But it was not over until Jamie Christenson actually made that field goal. He did, and I watched him do it through spaces in the hands covering my face. They were my own hands, luckily, and they smelled of sweat and hotwings. When it became official I balled them into tight fists and pumped them in the air while screaming like a little bitch.

I am certainly happy for the Tide making it to 7-0, but I am most happy that Tennessee is among the seven. They could be 1-6 and I would be overjoyed—so long as that 1 was big and orange.

It is that kind of rivalry.

In honor of the Tide’s success I’ll present you with a picture of former coach Bill Curry and me taken at the 1989 football camp. I was fourteen years old and weighed some sixty pounds more than I do now. I cannot speak for Coach Curry’s current weight, but I imagine that he is still in much better shape than myself.

camino and curry (1989)
I should also point out that he is over six feet tall.
Curry is still my favorite Alabama coach not nicknamed “Bear”. He played for Bryant and then went on to a great NFL career with the Packers and Colts, and he did a hell of a job in his all too short tenure heading the Tide. He was very genuine and accessible, and he made it a point to talk to each of the kids at the photo op.

Coach Curry: What in the hell are you doing with that mask on, son?
Rex L. Camino: I’d like to be able to post this on my blog someday, coach.
Curry: Blog?
Rex: It will be the Internet’s version of pussyfooting around and playing grab-ass.
Curry: What the hell is the Internet?
Rex: Look, the future is a very complex time, coach, and we really don’t have time to go into it now. However, I will leave you with a couple of sobering words: Governor Schwarzenegger.
Curry: Son, maybe you need to put down that martini and just smile for the camera.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Who told that kid who caught the interception in the final seconds to lay down in the middle of the field? The point spread was three. Running it back for a TD as time runs out is perfectly acceptable.

This kind of shit is why I root for Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Powell said...

I admit it - I do enjoy seeing UT lose. Especially to Bama. I mean, just the dang traffic on gameday is a momentous wankfest.

I will now run fer cover.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

You have a valid point, Sarcastro. One of the few drawbacks of college football is the fact that coaches all too often feel like they've done their jobs win they win on the scoreboard. Few, if any, take their point spread duties seriously.

Still, it is no reason to root for Auburn. You are better than that.

Mrs. Camino doesn't care much for football and never cared one way or the other about the Vols, Joe. However, she grew to share my hatred for all things big and orange while in grad school at UT.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous sethro said...

although my uncle was a star running back for the Vols during the '60s (and this makes me a Vols fan by default...he had a school record for most yards rushed in a single season by the way)i will not take issue with 'bama's victory this weekend. clearly they deserved to win. (although they barely made it out with thier asses in tact).
i will take issue with any critique of our beloved fight song "Rocky Top". particularly when compared with a tune like "sweet home alabama". first off, rocky top is a unique fight song in that it contains more than 3 chords (it has a stunning 5). this tune also tells a heart warming story if you know all the verses, rather than just waxing nostalgic and blasting neil young for calling attention to your state's racist past (we have our own racist past, thank you very much!)
i will also say that our mascott is much cooler than 'bama's ....come on...an elephant? ...how you gonna parade an elephant out on the field? and where will you find one? is there even a zoo in alabama? i doubt it.

far better is our beloved Smokey...an indigenous life form of Tennessee....lovable, trust worthy, easy to transport, a breeze to clean up after, this dogs got it all. try walkin' the backwoods with your elephant and see how much dinner you bring home.

congratulations 'bama, you finally won one....go Vols.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

Rex, that was a truly excellent post.

Sarcastro, I thought about that 1/2 point too. They never cover. I agree with Rex though. Never root for Auburn. You have more class than that.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Pappy Sarcastro is an Auburn grad. So it is out filial obligation than anything else. You know how people are Catholics because their parents are, even though they don't believe anything in the Catholic Creed? Same with me being an Auburn fan.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Ah. So it is a case of child abuse.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did they do all this? Last I checked was a week ago. Payday Loans Cash Advance

4:28 AM  

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