Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I wouldn’t bet on it.

Florida State’s Thursday night game at N.C. State taught me a valuable lesson in life: It’s not whether you win or lose, just don’t bet against Chuck Amato. Amato, despite embarrassing losses against Akron (17-20) and Southern Miss (17-37), came out the victor of ESPN’s televised game against my Noles. He may not win games against unranked teams, but has had Bobby’s number four out of seven times the two teams have met over the past 7 years. Even if he did debo’ his FSU playbook upon his departure from Florida State in 2000, Amato’s Wolfpack won, fair and square, courtesy of an interception thrown by Drew Weatherford late in the fourth quarter. So, if you heard a girl screaming all kinds of obscenities and throwing chicken wings at her television set on Thursday night, it was probably me. Sorry about that. I wasn’t cursing at my offensive coordinator, or my team, but at myself. Because that night, the Noles and I had something in common besides our preference for garnet and gold: We had both lost.

The final score of that night’s game left a bad taste in my mouth, and a sick feeling in my stomach, worse than that time I ate a Hot Pocket. Sure, my Noles had fallen, and while that alone is enough to make one ill, my stomach illness was a prelude more from what I knew was to come. My fate was to be nearly as bad as those public tar and feathering sessions from back in the day: I had to return to the Swamp.

Before Seminole loyals go about chastising me, or saying I have fallen to the “dark side” of Florida football, I don’t exactly enjoy visiting this town, but did so because of my job assignment. In case you didn’t read last week's SI article, I spent last Saturday’s college gameday in Gainesville, or as most Seminole fans affectionately refer to it as.. Hogtown. While, most fans treated me pretty kindly, some definitely were asking for a swift kick in the ass courtesy of my cowboy boots. Still, I didn’t bash them, or resort to the typical gator jokes (ie. Mullets, jean shorts, and the like). Instead of sinking to their level, I simply stated the facts: The Gators are pretty good this year.. No, actually, they might be the best. ;) (Right, CJ?)

This trip to Gainesville, however, was not for an assignment. It was because I lost a bet. Given the fact I write about sports, and what not, I am not the type of girl to be going around placing money on my “picks.” Public humiliation however… is a different story.  Usually, my picks are pretty solid, but this time however, I was off. While I had picked the spread pretty accurately, I simply chose the wrong team.
So my Friday night was spent in what Gator fans consider their sanctuary, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Surrounded by Orange and Blue, I witnessed the event that takes place every year during Florida homecoming called “Gator Growl.” My friends that I had lost the bet to had tried their best to get me to wear blue and orange that night as a part of the terms, but I told them the only way that would happen is if I was wearing a blue shirt, and happened to throw up the cheese covered nachos I had eaten earlier. So I went incognito instead, mourning my Seminoles loss in the traditional fashion, or perhaps preparing for Boston College in a few weeks: ALL BLACK.

The night began with a huge University of Florida Sports lovefest: call out the teams, introduce the seniors, and brag about their National Championship basketball team (more to come in my assessment of this years college tourney). Let’s see if their bragging credentials hold up this time around.

Then came the first of two comedians, Gabriel Iglesias. I’ll call this guy the fat guy in the Hawaiian shirt. He was actually pretty funny, as he assessed the college night life almost to the tee, and ripped sorority girls at UF a new one. But he was my fave for another reason. Fluffy man was just as good at sound effects as the guy from Police academy (can’t remember name). Mad props to Fluffy.. he was great.
Then came some musical numbers that still have me going.. WTF was THAT? Any one else heard a country solo rendition of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me?” When he asked, “If you wanna go and take a ride with me”… I was like.. “yeah.. in a tractor.”

The skits that followed were a bad attempt at SNL’s Nightly News. While the guy’s punch line delivery was pretty solid, the girl’s to say the least… needed more work than a Nip Tuck patient. The crowd even booed her once or twice. Needless to say, I am glad she is a smart girl, because I don’t see her replacing Tina Fey anytime soon.
The final act was comedian, Jim Gaffigan. Funny guy, but I had already heard most of his skits on XM Comedy channel. So, I was like.. feed me something other than a hot pocket?..

Needless to say, I apparently wasn’t the only one kinda bummed by the Gator Growl experience. Many of their fans left there saying they felt gypped.’ There were countless shots on FSU, Miami, and other rivals schools, some of which even I laughed at. I was even half waiting for the token joke of Mr. two bits versus FSU’s version called.. (well there are two and they rhyme with bits). But it never came. No knocks on the cowgirl, and I escaped pretty unscathed.

I did find one element of the night’s festivities pretty interesting. Hell, even I stood and applauded. Urban Meyer came out and introduced this year’s seniors, including Quarterback Chris Leak. Even I stood up and clapped for this one, because despite the nasty hits he has taken, both on and off the field, Leak has been nothing but a modest team player from the beginning of his career at UF. And even a Nole can appreciate good sportsmanship like that, regardless of what team he plays for. It was nice to see the GatorNation give the kid the love he deserves. Though fellow quarterback Tim Tebow was featured in the majority of the prerecorded skits, it was Leak that stole the spotlight that night. The players then lead the crowd in “We Are the Boys from Old Florida,” something of which they have never been able to do. And while sure, part of me laughed watching grown ass men hug on each other and sway to music, the other part looked around the stadium as they entire crowd moved with the lyrics.. and I must say, its pretty impressive. I’m sure someone, somewhere saw the black speck that was me, not swaying and said.. “yeah.. she lost a bet allright.”
So, I made it out of the Swamp alive twice in as many weeks, and without being recognized except for my walk of shame to the car. Hopefully, this will be my last journey into enemy territory for a while… or at least until basketball season.
One thing is for sure though: I am not betting on any more college football games this year, especially against Amato. The events that unfolded in Raleigh are testament to the fact that anything can happen, and that underdogs can in fact rule the day. So maybe Chuck Amato isn’t “The Man,” like he claims, but at least he can keep his job for next year, and not have to take his little dogs and Ruby Slippers back to Kansas. And as for me after my visit to Gainesville.. well.. there’s really no place like home.

4 comments:

thirdstringjd said...

Jenn - take it from a degenerate your problem wasn't betting on college football it was betting on FSU when Amato was in town.

First of all you can't bet on your heart - it'll drive you insane and you'll wind up in the Swamp at the biggest family reunion ever. But more importantly Chuck Amato can only be guaranteed one good game a season and he has a soft spot in his heart for the Seminoles.

Don't give up so easily though.

BOBBYMAGNUM said...

great si article

BOBBYMAGNUM said...

thanks for the pic w/ u on sat!ud never believe how many guys have emailed me since posting it on my blog! u rock!

Paul said...

Hey Jenn...

Don't want to be one of those scary stalker type guys..so I'll make this brief. My readers and I are big fans. Feel free to check out my humble blog, you are referenced from time to time as a friend of the site.

Best.
Schmitty.

Schmidtonsports.com