The Union Recorder


December 7, 2013

ROWLAND: Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good

MILLEDGEVILLE — I ran into my good friend Lyn Chandler earlier this week, and he asked me if I had written my column for the newspaper. At the moment he asked the question, I hadn’t even started. In fact, my little brain was struggling for the ooze of any creative juices.

Now I hate to give away my creative secrets, but here is how this whole opinion column thing works, for me at least. I try to begin writing on Wednesday. That just happens to be the day I don’t have much else to do, and a little quiet time is usually all it takes to meet my weekly obligation.

Most of the time, ideas are not my problem. After all, there are usually enough crazy things going on in the world to create good fodder of which to opine.

The hardest part for any storyteller is the ending. Space is limited, my goofy ideas are not, so tying these thoughts into knots at the end of my rope can get a little tricky.

Consequently, I do a lot of idea writing on Wednesday, sleep on my storyline, and write the ending on Thursday. I know. It all sounds a little eccentric, but you know we creative types.

By the way, I recently read some brain/sleep research that found that one thing the brain needs in order to rejuvenate is sleep. Apparently, that is a scientific fact. I thought it was just my dad’s way of stalling for a decision when he said, “Let me sleep on it.” Little did I know he was using the science of brain research to put himself in the best position for making a good decision.

I had to admit to Lyn that I wasn’t even close to a spin for the weekend newspaper. He proceeded to let me know that he was waiting on a column about Auburn’s silver spoon football season. He was just dying to know what I was thinking.

I always try to give credit for my sources of inspiration so here goes.

In case you did not know, the Auburn Tigers/War Eagles … what’s up with that anyway? How hard could it be to make up one’s mind about a mascot? Is it Tiger or War Eagle? And by the way, what the heck is a War Eagle? An eagle is a bird. I know that. The whole war thing confuses me. I digress.

In case you didn’t know, Auburn’s football team - whatever the mascot is - finished the 2012 season with a 3 win, 9 loss season record. In the Southeastern Conference, they didn’t even win a game. Let me say that again: Not a single win in the SEC!

The dismal season cost head coach Gene Chizik his job. For the record, in 2010 Auburn posted a perfect unbeaten season and defeated the Oregon Ducks for the national championship. If my memory is correct, that was also the year Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.

Chizik was a hero. Auburn was a resurrected program, and all of us diehard Georgia and SEC fans were kept away from sharp objects because the thought of a resurrected Auburn program made us think of self-inflicted bodily harm.

The 2012 season was like salve on a festering wound.

So in spite of the bad luck that befell my beloved Dawgs this year, I just knew we would not stoop to the curse of an Auburn defeat. I was wrong.

The Saturday that Georgia played Auburn, I left my home at 4:15 a.m. headed to Virginia. My plan was to arrive in time for the UGA-Auburn game, see the Dawgs win, and bring a new grandson into the world.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Did you see the end of that game? Georgia is getting creamed, but Murray brings us back for what looks like an epic Georgia win - 38-37, Dawgs on top!  

Auburn’s late game, desperation pass is in the air; I held my breath but the ball looked short, and the UGA defender is in position to break up the pass. But because of some freak of football god nature, the ball is tipped up instead of knocked down, it falls into the hands of an Auburn receiver that looks as surprised as the winner of a big lottery jackpot, and the undeserving receiver waltzes into the end zone.

I have never seen the air sucked out of a room faster. Stunned. Shocked. From his grave, Larry Munson is begging Old Lady Luck for just one more chance.

Curse the defender, curse the 37 points Auburn scored that put us in that position in the first place, but when you lose a game like that … well, you just have to figure it isn’t your day.

That’s OK. Alabama will exact revenge.

Are you kidding me? Did you see that game?  

Get the picture, now (another Munsonism). The game is tied at 28. The battle is epic. No. 5 Auburn has given No. 1 Alabama all it can handle, but an overtime duel has to favor the more seasoned and disciplined Crimson Tide.

By the way, what kind of mascot is a Crimson Tide?

Alabama attempts a 57-yard field goal that will win the game. Miss the kick, and we go to overtime. The kick is short, and an Auburn return man uses the rules of football to carry the kick nearly 110 yards for a touchdown and an Auburn win while a lethargic Alabama field goal team looks on in stunned amazement.

I still get chill bumps just thinking about it.

I tried to block the whole Auburn-Cinderella story out of my mind until Lyn reminded me. Some memories are just too painful. It’s not that I have any lost love for Alabama; it’s just that the striped felines from the Auburn plains have again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and the nasty memories of two weeks prior came rushing back to mind.

There is a saying I grew up with you may have heard: Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

I’m not sure if Auburn is lucky or good. Let me sleep on it and I’ll get back to you on that one.

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