January 10, 2018

‘So close, so close and yet so far’

     Well, what?
     Well, Dawggone!
     We waited for 37 years for another national college-football championship, but Alabama did what great teams do.  The Crimson Tide found our weak spot and passed a pigskin right through our Red and Black hearts—in overtime, no less.
     My friend Dorsey Hill, who was dubbed by the late Lewis Grizzard as “Georgia’s greatest Bulldog fan,” texted me Tuesday morning: “Not ready to talk about it yet.”  But we both agreed that it’s been a magical season for Coach Kirby Smart and the University of Georgia team.  That’s why few, if any, could find a soft spot in his or her pillow after the midnight heartbreaker in Atlanta’s ritzy Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
     Well, I certainly couldn’t.  My brain kept spinning.  I darted from one what-if scenario to the other.  I had to stop myself from mumbling about muffed calls by the officials. Stuff happens, but what if Georgia hadn’t been wrongly flagged for offsides on that blocked punt? 
     I finally put that out of my mind, but sleep was impossible.  I alternated staring at the shadows on the ceiling and to watching the red numerals on the bedside clock advance from 2 a.m. until I finally hit the shower at 6.
     Do you ever have a “glue song” get stuck in your head, so that the lyrics keep rolling over and over? The Four Seasons have nothing to do with football, particularly their falsetto voices.  Nonetheless, Frankie Valli kept serenading me nonstop with this one line: “So close, so close and yet so far” (away.)  
The 1974 love song “My Eyes Adored You” is never played at pep rallies or on pre-game locker rooms, but that “so close, so close” analogy haunted me through the sleepless night.
     Now, 12 hours after the grim reality of the 26-23 loss, I thought about another analogy.  If you miss your flight at the airport, you can fuss and cuss all you want.  But no matter how big a hissy fit you pitch, that pilot ain’t coming back for you.  You are left behind to catch the next flight.
     Welllllll, that explains how our Bulldogs missed the confetti celebration.  In the clash of the SEC and national football titans, somebody had to lose.  As bitter as that reality tastes, we must swallow and go on.
     Look how far we’ve come in the past two years.  The Bulldog bite is back.  There are only 234 days until our Dawgs sink their teeth into the 2018 season.
      Sic ’em!
     Woof, woof!