Saturday, December 8, 2007

Football and more football

For more than a decade, I've been meeting friends from back home for the Georgia High School Association football semifinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Here are some scenes from 2007:

From left: Thad Green, David Green, me and Danny Blizzard

The cavernous Georgia Dome dwarfs the crowds for the first game: Class A Wilcox County's win over Athens Academy.

Carver-Columbus and Chamblee meet on the field after Carver's amazing 26-24 come-from-behind win in Class AAA on Friday. Carver scored three touchdowns in the last six minutes to rally from a 24-6 deficit. One of the best finishes I've seen in the Dome.

Worst thing about 2 full days of football? The food, such as Thad's Box-O-Cholesterol that cost him roughly $100 and future heart problems. I like to call this photo "Cause & effect."

This man robbed me by charging more than $4 for a fountain drink, and he seemed proud of it.

Not to reinforce any racial stereotypes or anything, but I definitely enjoy watching predominantly black high school and college marching bands. They're just more fun. Carver and Tucker rocked the Dome.

Northside-Warner Robins gets ready to charge the field en route to its 29th straight win. Right after Carver's thrilling comeback, the Eagles rallied from a 28-7 halftime deficit to earn a third straight trip to the Class AAAA title game. Four of my cousins graduated from there, so I've got to root for them. I'm convinced they're the best team in any of the state's classifications.

David and Thad were happy that I made sure the entire fourth floor of our hotel was vacant except for us. We stayed at this same hotel three years ago, and a "party girl" named Peaches had a big ol' party in the next room, keeping us awake all night. David and I spent the next day calling and asking for Peaches' room to make sure she didn't get a good morning and afternoon of sleep. These boys are just over a year apart in age and were my next-door-neighbors for much of my childhood. We played backyard football and basketball roughly 300 days a year way back when.

I told these security guards to look mean after they searched my bags.

Unfortunately, they had a hard time keeping their "mean" faces.

I didn't quite make it through all 10 games. I drove back Saturday night and watched Lowndes (I had the Lowndes beat as a sports writer in Valdosta) blank Camden County for their third trip to the Class AAAAA title game in four years. I traded my 40-and-over friends for a lighter one from the under-8 crowd and a more comfortable seat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Waaay-back Wednesday: Here comes Bubba Claus

Note: This column was orginally published in 1998. There are now a gazillion plagiarized version on the Internet. I didn't think it was that great, but I reckon a lot of folks disagreed.


An open letter to the citizens of the Bi-City area from Santa Claus:

Dear ya'll:

I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer be able to serve your area on Christmas Eve. Due to recent changes in my union contract renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local 209, I now serve only certain areas of northern Wisconsin and west Michigan. I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies.

However, I'm certain that your children will be in good hands with my replacement, my third cousin from the South Pole, Bubba Claus. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls, but there are a few differences between us, such as:

• There is no danger of a Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus, who has a gun rack in his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: "These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."

• Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave an RC and pork skins on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn't smoke a pipe. He does dip a little snuff, though, so please have a spit can handy.

• Bubba Claus' sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin' coon dogs instead of reindeer. I loaned him my reindeer one time, and Rudolph's head now rests over Bubba's fireplace.

• You won't hear "On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen ..." when Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you'll hear, "On Earnhardt, on Wallace, on Martin and Labonte. On Rudd, on Jarrett, on Elliott and Petty."

• "Ho, ho, ho!" has been replaced by "Yeehaw!" And you also are likely to hear Bubba's elves respond, "I heard that!"

• As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus' sleigh does have a decal depicting "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip character Calvin relieving himself ... but not on a Ford or Chevy logo. His decal shows Calvin going wee wee on the Tooth Fairy.

• The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Ernest Saves Christmas" will not be shown in your area. Instead, you'll see some lesser-known movies about Bubba Claus made in the late 1970s. Many feature Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus, Jackie Gleason as a Grinch who says "You scumbum!" a lot and dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.

• Bubba Claus doesn't wear a belt. I'd turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.

• Lovely Christmas songs have been sung about me, including Elvis' "Here Comes Santa Claus" and Madonna's remake of "Santa Baby." Until this year, songs about Bubba Claus have been played only on AM radio stations in Mississippi. They include such classics as Mark Chesnutt's "Bubba Claus Shot the Jukebox," David Allan Coe's "Willie, Waylon, Bubba Claus and Me," and Hank Williams Jr.'s "If You Don't Like Bubba Claus, You Can Kiss My Icicle."