#ItMightMeanTooMuch: The peak offseason question that was asked by an Athens radio station
I’ll be honest. I took a brief break from #ItMightMeanTooMuch.
It wasn’t for any one reason specifically, rather a combination of a couple things.
For one, it’s June. The #ItMightMeanTooMuch stories were in offseason mode. I’m not saying there weren’t any because we did talk about a couple on The SDS Podcast, which you should totally subscribe to if you haven’t already.
The other reason was that we’re in the process of putting together a summer series for a week in July. As someone who is doing a lot of the writing for that series, my time has been spent elsewhere.
If there had been something so perfect for #ItMightMeanTooMuch, I would have stepped in. But to be honest, there wasn’t.
On Wednesday, you might have weighed in on an oh-so-perfect offseason question that was asked by 960 The Ref in Athens.
Per a (strange) conversation we are having on the Morning Show…
Would you take a NON LETHAL gunshot to the thigh in exchange for a UGA Football National Championship?
— 960 The Ref (@960theref) June 18, 2019
Wow. Just wow.
I’m just surprised that “yes” didn’t get the majority of the votes. I saw it did about an hour into the process, but the more reasonable Georgia fans stepped in.
I would have liked to have seen an age breakdown of this because I feel like fans who were 45 and up had a much different response from the younger generation. After all, they got to witness Herschel Walker in 1980. You’d probably have to be born in about 1974 or 1975 to have an actual memory of that.
As for my generation — the 30-and-under crowd — I get it. It’s one thing to be bad and not win a national title for 38 years. It’s another to be as good as Georgia has been (17 seasons of double-digit wins, 6 top 5 finishes, 29 first-round picks, etc.) and still not reach the top of the college football mountain. Between the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship and the 2012/2018 SEC Championships, it always seems to end in crushing fashion.
Let’s bring that into the current context. Georgia returns a battle-tested quarterback who will likely be one of the top prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. In each of the past 2 seasons, the Dawgs’ national title hopes come to an end because of a blown fourth quarter lead against Alabama.
So is that non-lethal gunshot levels of desperation? I don’t know. That obviously depends on who you ask. Given the talent that Georgia returns, some believe this is the year in which that title finally comes back to Athens with no gunshot sacrifice needed. Then again, we’ve heard that plenty of times before.
I get the rationalization of this, though. Before 2016, I too would have thought long and hard about taking a non-lethal gunshot to watch my beloved Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years. I know that if you told me I needed to go back in time to get a non-lethal gunshot in order to make that happen, I would have because of what I know now. My dad was diagnosed with cancer a month before the 2016 MLB Playoffs and that was the last postseason that my 95-year-old grandpa got to see. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
Besides, what’s the old saying … pain is temporary, pride lasts forever. I don’t know, man. Gunshot pain might last forever, too. Fortunately, I don’t know.
As I thought about that question (can you tell it’s mid-June?), the more I wondered which fan bases would even respond to something so absurd. Let’s wipe out anybody with a national title in the 21st century because you aren’t that desperate yet. And if you’re a 14-year-old Oklahoma fan, just have a little patience.
So eliminate these teams:
- Florida State
- Ohio State
This is where the conversation gets interesting.
A team that won multiple titles in the 1990s like Nebraska, in my opinion, doesn’t even have the right to be gunshot desperate. Sure, they’d have plenty of fans willing to do it, but they should be exempt from consideration because there are much longer, more painful droughts.
But what about someone like Michigan or Tennessee? They got their title 20+ years ago. It’s been varying degrees of pain ever since those seasons for a pair of diehard fans. Obviously it’s not a Georgia-level drought, but 20+ years is still a long time. You’d probably get some varying answers to the gunshot question.
(As someone who grew up a fan of the Chicago Bulls, I don’t get to complain about a lack of success even though it was 20 years ago because I experienced titles in 6 of my first 8 years on Earth.)
I’d argue that teams that haven’t won titles since the 1980s like Penn State and Notre Dame would fall in the Georgia category. Even those who were alive are 30+ years removed from watching their team celebrate a title. They could have gone from young adult to grandparent during time.
And look, I get some of the thinking. If you could substitute the intense emotional pain with some extraordinary physical pain, it might be worth it depending on what point you’re at in your life.
If I were an 83-year-old Mississippi State fan and I was banging cowbells on every fall Saturday for the past 65 years, yeah, I probably wouldn’t have a problem taking a non-lethal bullet to see my first title. But if I were a 19-year-old LSU student, there’s no way I’d pull the trigger.
What this question got me thinking about was how different fandom can be for each person. It also got me thinking about how when I started writing #ItMightMeanTooMuch columns nearly a year ago, I thought a man dying his dog’s hair to look like the Auburn mascot was extreme, and now here I am justifying getting shot in order to win a title.
This column has definitely changed me. I don’t know if it’s for better or for worse, but it’s safe to say I’m definitely more SEC than ever.