For OTP, the Natty took place over three days, 95% of which was awesome. Here is day three of The Natty Diaries, cobbled together from the sober brain cells that control my memory.
Monday, January 10, 2011: If nothing else, there was a moment
9:37 a.m. How do you follow up a late night trip to In ‘n Out? Go for breakfast at Waffle House, of course. Mostly, this is a southern thing, so it should be no surprise we were outnumbered by Auburn fans at a 10:1 ratio. Of course, Auburn outnumbered Oregon everywhere you went. These people love their football.
12:00 p.m. We. Are. Headed. To. The. Game. Finally.
1:03 p.m. We have our tailgate set up. I hang a National ChampionChip shirt over a car window. You know, just in case someone likes it. With that, I take off with my snoring friend to see if we can find him a ticket.
1:11 p.m. I have a missed call. Wonder what that could be about.
1:23 p.m. We find the designated area for ticket brokers to sell to fans. They should just call it what it is. Sleazeville. These are not people I would readily trust. Let’s face it, if a grown man is in public and conducting business in a full body sweat suit, we’re off to a bad start. Low price at this point: $1,800. That’s probably a fake. Most tickets are well over $2k right now and one is at $6k.
1:53 p.m. We’re back at the tailgate. That missed call? It was to inform me that the Glendale police confiscated the t-shirts. For what, I’m still not sure. We probably had to have a permit. We never even sold one. Hell, we weren’t even advertising it as an item for sale. I generally find Arizona to be the kind of place where they like to carry guns and enforce laws during the downtime between breaths. I hope Africa appreciates the shirts.
2:25 p.m. We’re just chillin’ and enjoying the sun when over strolls this big black guy pushing a paint bucket and mini DJ system. No, no, no. We don’t have any mon—
2:26 p.m. “That’s what I’m saying, do you know what I mean, coming all the way from ooh Eugene. That’s why we gon’ be the BCS champs, I’m just sittin’ here settin’ up camp.”
2:27 p.m. Oh, this guy’s got some freestyle talent. No one’s going to hire me for a film shoot anytime soon. Enjoy my thumb, shaky hand and vertical shot.
3:30 p.m. or so: I have consumed the all-important Ninkasi Total Domination IPA. It flew with me from San Diego. Tradition is not to be trifled with. But we’re antsy. This game is drawing close. We are so very ready to go in.
3:39 p.m. Some Auburn fans start interacting with us. These people are very nice. One even has a cooler full of orange and green Jell-o shots to share. I just can’t. The hospitality is great, but I intend to remember every bit of this game.
3:41: This nice Auburn lady with Jell-o shots is telling us about some pair of her lucky underwear that was featured in an Alabama newspaper. Really glad I didn’t take that Jell-o shot.
Around 4:00 p.m. Ah, there it is. Auburn and Oregon fan arguing over Obama. You only get one guess which side of the argument each took.
After 5:00 p.m. We are in the stadium. It is electric. People are shouting, chanting, singing, bouncing. It has the big game feel you would imagine exists for something of this magnitude.
5:28 p.m. Random war eagle shouting continues.
Pregame ceremony, around 6:15 ish: The Fiesta Bowl committee is literally letting a freaking eagle circle the stadium and the PA guy is trying to tell us it’s for both teams. Bullshit. Thanks for the slap in the face BCS. You can war eagle my ass.
6:30 p.m. Kickoff. All the buzz and electricity is reaching a crescendo. 78,000 people are ready to jump out of their skin.
To this point, I’m at least close on the time of day, if not entirely accurate. At the game, I have lost track.
End of first quarter: This game isn’t shaping up to be an offensive battle. Momentous turnovers for both teams are the story. Outside, my snoring friend from New York is still battling 40,000 other fans for a last-minute ticket. Low price? $1,700. He brought a lot of cash, but not that much.
End of half: Down 16-11, this game doesn’t feel anything like the other slow starts. Oregon is being controlled, but the defense is getting stops. You get the sense there won’t be an explosion of points by either team. We are in a battle.
End of third quarter: Oregon is down 19-11, and nerves are finally settling in. I had previously told my brother’s fiance (Beaver believers, the both of them) that she can talk trash to me as much as she wants. And so she is via text.
“Doesn’t look like you drank your pre game domination bitch.”
“Yeah!!! How does it feel to get stopped at the one yard line….try and win the day now!!!”
“How many pushups did puddles do today?”
Ouch. I wanted to respond, but then I realized I’m at the Natty and the Beavers are not. Words couldn’t say it any better.
Late in the 4th quarter, under 5 minutes to go, down 19-11: Fumble! Oregon has it! Oregon has the ball!!!
3rd and goal from the two yard line: There’s a timeout and I say to myself, “If nothing else, let us just have this one moment.” At the time, I didn’t realize who could possibly let us have the moment. After listening to Auburn coach Gene Chizik’s postgame speech, I realized it was God, because He strikes down Obama-loving, hippy-commune-living Ducks with the vengeance of 1,000 tea partiers at a “Let’s Raise Taxes!” convention.
Back from timeout, there’s a shovel pass to LaMichael James and he walks in for….A OH MY GOD TOUCHDOWN WE’RE IN IT BABY!!!!
[LOTS OF JUMPING AND SCREAMING AND HIGH FIVING.]
I swear even the man behind me with the cane has a 42″ vertical.
Two point conversion attempt: The crowd is still frenzied as Darron Thomas takes a severely angled snap, runs to the right, throws it back across the end zone to Jeff MAN CRUSH Maehl and the two point conversion…IS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD OH YES WE ARE GOING TO STRIP NAKED AND RUN THROUGH ALL OF GODDAMN ARIZONA TONIGHT!!!!!!
[STILL JUMPING. STILL SCREAMING]
Auburn ball, two minute drill in effect: Okay, so we got the moment. Can we have a little more?
Nope. That was it. Without Kyle Brotzman, this is going to be the soul crushingest of soul crushing defeats. No need to HE rehash WAS the DOWN events !!! of such a bitter moment in Duck history.
Postgame: We sit as most Duck fans file out. I figure you get this far, you might as well suffer the hell out of it. We watch as Chizik takes a slam dunk question to give a little praise to Oregon and turns it into Sunday school. Church was yesterday, pal.
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!!! I can’t take the war eagle anymore. Say hello, say goodbye, just tell me you have something else in your vocabulary besides fricking war freaking eagle!!
Outside the game, the yellow and green people are auditioning for the Walking Dead while the rest resemble a cult of delirious humans who have been duped into believing what they just witnessed is real and not some temporary moment in time destined to be taken away in a blaze of NCAA sanctioned glory.
Me <– little bitter
Perhaps after 11 p.m., sulking through the parking lot: Auburn fans are gracious. Too nice, in fact. I, for one, do not want to be told we played a good game, that we should be proud of the effort. This is all true, but Auburn fans, kind and gracious as you are, I just don’t want to hear it right now. Please leave me alone.
Son of a bitch.