Much like the euro-to-dollar rate, my thought processes since Signing Day in February featured a long inevitable exponential: a steadily rising exchange rate of anticipation leading up to September 13, with a single blip on August 30 representing both the University of Virginia and the NYSE spike caused by the dollar-boosting announcement that we’d be converting our national currency to the euro.
Essentially: yesterday’s 52-7 tune up can now be safely described as what it was, a tune up. One game at a time, we have a tough opponent ahead of us, they won an NCAA record five games by two points last year, Chris Long has a sandwich named after him, blah blah blah.
This game was pretty much decided the moment Jemell Sewell bowed out of that whole school thing. Everything since then has been lip service to Al Groh and Virginia, two institutions that have a long history of being serviceable but not the kind of specters that make an entire off season tingly in all the right places.
For that, you need Ohio State in a night game at the Coliseum. I am indeed all-a-tingle, and take that how you will. (Given that the vast majority of people reading this site arrive through Google searches involving “Kirk Herbstreit wife cheater” and “Mark Richt ass lover” I can assume all interpretations will involve BDSM of some kind.) (And God bless you all.)
So. For approximately half a year I’ve been going through the motions of life, doing things like waking up and showering and working and occasionally imbibing delicious alcoholic beverages and pretending to myself that this is normality. But is it possible to pretend to yourself when that very same self is sitting quietly in a corner hunched over Phil Steele’s 2008 College Football Preview, gently rocking back and forth humming Tribute to Troy and mouthing the same words Robert Oppenheimer spoke at Trinity, New Mexico, “Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds”? Oppenheimer needed a 2,500 year old Sanskrit text to describe the awful majesty of mankind’s mastery of the atom, but the old warhorse never had to go through an off season thinking about the second ranked Buckeyes and their Heisman candidate showing up in Los Angeles for the game of the year. This is actually important stuff, and it irks me that someone else got to quote that Bhagavad Gita passage for something as inconsequential as the first detonation of a nuclear device in the last year of the greatest war humanity has ever inflicted upon itself.
The son of Animal is coming, people, and I need deeply religious visions of Apocalypse to reference.
Which is why no one ought to speak to me for two weeks. I will still be going through those motions: wake, shower, work, drink. That will not change. But my interiors will be harnessed for something other, something greater, something necessary. I’m thinking now of a certain kind of ascetic that’s found in almost every major religion. Some mysterious inclination leads men to spend years sequestered and bent over paper, papyrus, brass or keyboard, writing out the many names of God in the belief that a summation of the totality of the Word will one day lead to revelation. Some chant it, some inscribe it on their own flesh with whip and blade, and some merely think it over and over but their effect is the same: a wholesale dedication to a monumental task. This isn’t exactly a bad approach in that it has the same probability of success as anything else. It’s certainly illustrative of one thing: men are capable of commiting their lives and energy to any venture so long as they can believe their work will affect the universe.
So you may see me going about my business as normal for the next fortnight, but be not fooled: inside, I am chanting – in all the languages of life – the myriad names of Winged Victory. They are legion, and they are always sweet. Bring on The Ohio State University.
And don’t mention a thing about Beanie Wells’ foot. If you’ve ever seen this guy run you understand, like I do, he’ll play two Saturdays from now. No. 28 knows you only get two shots at Ragnarok, and he isn’t waiting for the second half of the home-and-home to show up.