This isn’t the best way to kick off today’s journey into the mind of someone who used-to-could.
Golf, cigars, playing baseball are just a few used-to-coulds. The longer I’m around, there will undoubtedly be more.
But I have to apologize for the last column’s transgressions.
I had told you I was not going to Athens last Saturday. Nope, I was going to barricade myself in the man cave and keep my head under the covers. I’d turn off the phone and not bother with friends who were having a blast at my (and Notre Dame’s) expense.
I was convinced the Bulldogs would make a Milk Bone out of my team. Best for you folks to avoid me for awhile. A lack of faith like that makes me a prime target for a flood, lightning strike, or a tussle with a copperhead.
You know me: For the most part, I avoid writing about any game or concert I didn’t attend.
And I swear to Touchdown Jesus I was sitting this one out. That’s until AJ Kazimi, the CEO of Cumberland Pharma, where I’ve worked for the past 10 years, got me a pair of tickets.
AJ is a prince of a guy and a ND graduate. I couldn’t say “No thanks.” Besides, Greg would have stapled my lip shut before I could say “no.”
As Saturday approached, I had a premonition: Notre Dame was going to win. I was positive I rehearsed doling out post-game commiseration with Dawg fans. “Tough loss. Great game,” I planned to say.
Notre Dame led 10-7 at halftime. In a moment of misplaced intelligence, I had visions of making a living as a prognosticator. I could get clients to take my predictions and bet the other way.
Surely you’ve heard of Notre Dame’s third-quarter nap and fourth quarter comeback.
I stuck with the Irish, even when they looked like a soccer team, hitting the deck after a teammate’s love tap.
“No, that was an awful hit. A concussion is a terrible thing to waste.” I’m ashamed I said it with a straight face.
We walked through the door at 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m still tired.
I can’t imagine how the other 92,246 fans felt. I was hurting until Thursday.
Not only did those screaming F-16s do their best to shatter my eardrums, I was able to experience a din like I’ve never experienced at a game. Or a ZZ Top concert.
It was “come early, stay late,” in Athens. Fans arrived at 6 a.m. to experience ESPN Game Day’s 9 a.m. start. For an 8 p.m. game! Now that’s tenacity.
It was a treat to get with the Callahan family — Shaun, Kathy, Bobby and Michael. Picture a tailgate bash with fine champagne and caviar. Now go to the other end of the tailgating spectrum and was Shaun’s bash.
It was a treat to reconnect. I enjoyed Bobby and Michael looking at Greg and shaking their heads. Buckle up boys, seeing the once-toddlers towering over you will happen more frequently. They babysat a few times and Greg would use a few aforementioned Ric Flair tactics.
In fact, the “Nature Boy” was in attendance, strutting and “wooing” all day, as if in a continuous loop. No figure-four locks or eye gouges or going downstairs, it looked like the Champ had employed his elbow-bend since early morning.
Apparently a new touch at Sanford Stadium was the fourth quarter light show. It was the inaugural display and Dawg fans will be clamoring for all that flash becoming a regular home-game feature.
Those who were able to walk through the turnstiles experienced a “happening,” one that will be remembered, albeit foggily, for most.
Oldest son Chris missed the game completely. He was in Athens and saved his money, watching the game in the confines of a local hangout.
After going to Game Day, he relaxed and was able to pace himself. A safe bet that we beat him to bed, if he ever hit the pillow.
My 2:45 a.m. bed check made me a lightweight. But believe me son: “I used-to-could.”
Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. What a gift the game was! Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Facebook.