by Brian Oliu
Week Six: Alabama 48 – Kentucky 7
All’s well that ends well, & when it ends it is us, it is always us: a constant in a world of long shots & sure bets–on a wet track bet on a heavy horse, in this case, the largest mammal you can find. We speak of the elephant as something exotic: gray & rough to the touch, trunks up, tusks out. However, there is a familiarity here–the belief that slow starts bring corrections in gait, that past ugliness will be brushed over with the scrapes of our hooves. A cat, no matter how wild, is no match for what we have become, no matter how well it blends into the blue grass. If we believe that the world we live in resembles something like a jungle, then we are foolish in our comfort yet strong in our conviction: if we are to believe this, we must believe that we are worthy of a kingdom where we are the odds on favorite to survive–that the smart money is on us. The eye of the elephant sees all: it remembers every map it has never drawn, every race it has won by stomping holes in the track.
Week Seven: Arkansas at Alabama
It takes a lot to fear a hog around these parts: rumor has it that soldiers fighting for the southland were allowed three pounds of the stuff before & after battles instead of one pound of the beef cut from the shoulders of cows they’ve never seen. That one time, it jumped up & bit us after too many mistakes–too many wide rights, wide lefts, just shorts, but even a blind pig finds a truffle every now & again. We know the animal as more majestic than it deserves: belly aches after burnt ends, white strands pulled apart by metal forks for the dinner hour. It is a noble sacrifice: an excuse to stick an apple into a mouth because that’s how we saw it done in the movies, to slice a pineapple ring that glistens like a diamond, to lay it out on the green felt like it was slain in the wild–we pretend to knock a cue ball into its underbelly to prove that we know the angles, that all of our kicks will be true this time. This is a ritual that we are accustomed to despite how much fire the other boys in red bring to the table–we have set the silverware in bunches. We are going through the motions, as our grandfather’s grandfathers did: one slab at a time.