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Two Thursdays and Really Big News

What a difference a week makes. Seven days after fans of Virginia Tech were sent into the depths of despair and after 100+ years of football, Boston College finally produced a second highlight, the tables were turned. It was fans of the ACC’s other Tech leaping from the roof of the Coca-Cola building. Oh, and I have a major announcement.

The Two Thursdays offered compelling evidence of all message boards being exactly alike and so much of their useful value seems to be providing comic relief for me and serving as havens for those who seem to be their happiest when they are miserable.

Beginning in the early morning hours of the Friday following the Comeback, the loon element of Virginia Tech’s ‘fan’ base had gone into a frenzy with their denunciations of those sorry and no-good Tech coaches. By last Friday, all of the same loons had taken to posting the exact same shrill bleatings on Georgia Tech message boards. They used the exact same words and phrases; what they lacked in originality they certainly made up for with enthusiastic venom. It made for another terrific Friday in my ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ method of self-treatment.

Sunday was another great day for a comic tonic as the loons had adopted a northern migration pattern and were posting the exact same messages on a Notre Dame board. It would seem that it is either the same group of people posting to all message boards claiming to be disaffected fans of all schools, perhaps charging Webmasters to bulk up their site usage statistics, or there are an awfully lot of people locked away in Daddy’s basement.

There were even the same ‘Things have been decided’ posts that teach me that while I never seem to get invited to any high-level meetings of any football staff or athletic department, there apparently is an Open Door policy when it comes to message board loons. Or maybe not.

Tech Offensive Coordinator Bryan Stinespring seemed to have not followed the advice of the loons and fling himself from the top row of the SEZ and instead spent his week scheming a game plan that successfully attacked John Tenuta’s attacking defense.

Defensive Coordinator Bud ‘Ounce of Prevention’ Foster chose to not deliver any ultimatums to Frank, instead concentrating on throttling another offense, this time for the full sixty minutes specified by NCAA rules. Bud did find the time to sound off in the newspapers, calling Tech fans idiots for assuming that if it looked like a duck and quacked like a duck it must have been a Prevent. Bud’s claim that Tech’s fan base was entirely too stupid to recognize the difference between a Prevent and his Cover 8 again offered evidence that while the identity of Frank’s eventual replacement has yet to be determined, in all likelihood it won’t be Mr. Preventive Personality.

Even Frank got into the act, adding another wrinkle to his Special Teams repertoire. Perhaps the game hasn’t yet passed him completely by.

Tech now prepares for Florida State and its coach, ‘The Guy Frank Can’t Beat.’ This would be a most opportune time for Frank to rid himself of the ‘Curse of St. Bobby,’ as the Hokies find themselves needing to beat FSU to continue that most unlikeliest of scenarios, keeping pace with the Hoos at the top of the Coastal Division. It sure looks a lot like algroh will wring another big raise out of Craig ‘Even Tubby Doesn’t Win This Many Close Ones’ Littlepage after the Great NFL Legend wins the ACC Coach of the Year award by one vote.

But enough about that. Now, on to ME.

I did not attend Thursday’s game or make the trip [events dictate that a distinction now needs to be made between ‘making the trip’ and ‘attending the game’]. It was the fourth straight I had missed, about the longest stretch of missed Virginia Tech football games since before I could walk.

I had been repeatedly assured that the tailgates were flowing smoothly in my enforced absence and that I had scarcely been missed. Comments such as, “Things are great. We haven’t missed you,” “We haven’t even noticed you were not there” and “You need to take the rest of the season to make sure you are completely well and, BTW, can I have your tickets?” had convinced me that the rest of the tailgate was carrying on and that I could go through my extended convalescence and recovery secure in the knowledge that things were going well. I have now discovered that has not been the case.

I got an inkling Wednesday afternoon when I fielded a phone call placed from an Interstate rest stop somewhere in South Carolina. For the next ten minutes I listened to a drunken Russian blubbering semi-coherently about how much I was missed and how necessary it was for me to return to the tailgate group. It turned out he was right. . It seems this was only the tip of the iceberg, or half-gallon bottle of Wild Turkey, as it were.

I am reliably informed that later that night, as the group continued our [now their] usual habit of spending Atlanta Gameday Eve night at the nearest Jocks and Jills, another tailgate traveler, who had also been imbibing across the Carolinas and North Georgia like a camel at an oasis [I’m sure the designated driver, apparently drawing the only sober breaths on the entire trip, was thrilled at the amount of alcohol being consumed in his van], became quite agitated at the slow rate of speed at which multiple shots of tequila were being placed onto the bar and threatened the bartender with castration unless the pace was picked up. Having tailgaters almost thrown out of an Atlanta bar was certainly further solid evidence that things had become a bit amiss.

The piece de resistance came, however, the next night. I had just done a satellite Communion by phone with another tailgater unable to make the trip due to illness. The Sick Man of the RTP had obviously become so distraught at my pneumonia-induced absence that he had developed a sympathy bug.

Following this upholding of a sacred tailgate tradition, I had settled into my recliner for the kickoff when my phone rang. This call was being placed from just outside the gates of Grant Field. Yet another tailgater had apparently attempted to compensate for my not being at the afternoon’s tailgate by consuming enough various adult beverages for the two of us. This Herculean effort had resulted in him passing out just before entering the stadium.

I would point out that in my 50+ years of attending Virginia Tech football games, I might have overindulged before kickoff maybe a time or two, certainly no more than that. However, I have never once failed to at least make it into the stadium.

Two fellow tailgaters had, rather than leave him lying in a heap, decided to miss the game and attend to their stricken tailgate warrior, eventually shepherding him back to the Clubhouse and into bed. A call was placed to me and I spend the next 3 ½ hours providing by phone a running commentary of the game. I’m told that it was of such excellent quality that jimmy will be receiving a recommendation that I replace Bill Roth in the Tech radio booth.

All of these events have convinced me that the wheels have come off the tailgating cart. It is obvious that the tailgate is in desperate need of the leadership provided by my calming and sobering influence and example. I have concluded that there is only one thing to do, cast aside concerns for my own health, rouse myself from my sick bed and go to another game. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I am planning on attending this Saturday’s Tech- FSU game. My tailgate needs me.

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