#ItMightMeanTooMuch: A mailbag edition from you, the readers
I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.
When I started writing #ItMightMeanTooMuch columns a year and a half ago, the goal was to tell as many stories as possible about over-the-top SEC behavior from fans of the conference where it does just mean more.
So for awhile, I kicked around the idea of doing a mailbag edition of #ItMightMeanTooMuch. I’ve had people reach out over the years via email or Twitter with great stories that I’ve written about, but never enough at once to make an entire mailbag version.
To be 100% honest, I’ve never really had the right platform for that until we established our Saturday Down South Podcast Facebook group.
(If you haven’t joined yet, you should. It seriously is the best way to interact with other SEC fans. There are meme wars, game threads, trash talk and interesting discussion topics that’ll enhance your knowledge as a college football fan. True story, my aunt who lives in the Midwest and doesn’t watch college football is in the group and she can’t get enough of it. She tells me that she has no idea what’s going on but that she finds herself so interested in all the activity. If that’s not the ultimate endorsement, I don’t know what is.)
What that group allowed me to do was get people to share, in an easy social media platform, their best #ItMightMeanTooMuch stories. And believe me, they’re good. Due to the fact that I didn’t want to make this a 10,000-word column, I wasn’t able to share all of them. I decided to do 14 total, which is obviously the amount of teams in the SEC.
But let this serve as a reminder that if you ever want to share your best #ItMightMeanTooMuch story with me, email me at email@example.com. I’d love to shine a light on SEC chaos throughout the offseason.
OK. Let’s get into it.
(Everything within the quotes is from the person telling the story and everything outside of it is my commentary.)
1. From: Nick Halaby, LSU fan
“My top story happened last year, the 2018 LSU-Georgia game in Death Valley. I was in the student section with my friends and girlfriend, who was next to me.
Being a day game in Death Valley in the first half of the season, it was unbearably hot. In the second quarter, as LSU was beginning to go on a run, a big play occurred and we all got up to celebrate. As I was cheering, I felt frantic pats on my shoulder, and I turned around to see my friends holding my girlfriend who had passed out from heat exhaustion. I quickly rushed her from our seats to the concourse, where she cooled off and woke up.
I was going to take her home, but she wouldn’t let me leave the game. She knew how much the game meant and how big it was. She would not let me miss it. We spent the entire second quarter and halftime in the concourse, where she cooled off and drank about 3 liters of water. We went back to our seats for the second half, where LSU would cap off the 36-16 upset.
Me and my girlfriend, who keep in mind was passed out from heat exhaustion just 2 quarters before, rushed the field with the rest of the student section, and it remains one of our best memories.”
I met Nick when we took a trip to Baton Rouge for the Auburn game this past year. Seeing how diehard he is, it comes as zero surprise to see the line “but she wouldn’t let me leave the game. She knew how much the game meant and how big it was. She would not let me miss it.”
What a trooper. Nick probably should’ve proposed to her right then and there.
2. From: Karina Baum, not a Texas A&M fan
“I was dancing with a guy in a Texas A&M pullover at a bar in New York. He probably thought when I leaned over and whispered in his ear that I was gonna ask him to take me home. But instead I leaned in and whispered ‘Jimbo Fisher wasn’t worth $75 million.’ He never talked to me again after that.”
3. From: Will Keethler, LSU fan
“I called my best friend and his family trash to their faces after drinking way too much tequila and watching my Tigers lose to his Gators in 2018. I had a lot to apologize for the next day.”
That’s the worst kind of loss. It checks all the boxes. Did your team lose to a rival? Yep. Did you make a fool of yourself in public? It sounds like it. Did you have a wicked hangover the next day? I can’t imagine drinking way too much tequila didn’t yield that, but who am I to judge?
Basically the only way this could’ve been worse would’ve been some combination of vomiting on your buddy and turning into The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
4. From: Emry Picker, Georgia fan
“My sister was dating a tattoo artist when I was in high school so I got a UGA tattoo at 16 somewhere I could hide it from my parents until I was 18.”
I’m not going to ask where the tattoo was. I imagine there are only so many spots you can assume that your parents won’t see for 2 years.
But I think there should be a new rule with tattoos. As long as you’re above the age of, I don’t know, 6? Let’s say that you should be able to get a tattoo of Uga without any shame. I’m not a Georgia fan, but even I wouldn’t be able to argue if my future child came home from middle school rocking a tattoo of the world’s greatest mascot.
Maybe just no face tattoos. You’ve gotta draw the line somewhere.
5. From: Bobby Burchins, Florida fan
“My wife and I are rivals and watch the (Florida-Georgia) game in separate rooms. I only speak to her in pleasant tones but will scream the most profane things imaginable, like creative combinations of curses that don’t seem to go together but do, all within earshot. But there’s a wall.
This year I woke her up every morning of the cocktail party week with a different Florida cheer or fight song, culminating in an awful dance routine to ‘You Can Call Me Al.'”
Poor Bobby. Having met he and his wife multiple times, I can confirm that this is every bit of “a house divided.” How their relationship survives post-Cocktail Party is beyond me.
It’s the type of of dynamic that instead of going through counseling or some sort of marriage boot camp to see if your relationship can survive, all they have to do is not break up after 1 football game every year. It sounds easy, but I imagine it isn’t.
6. From: Kevin Thompson, Alabama fan
“I was stationed with a guy in New Orleans who I found out later was a Bama fan. Hung out with him a bit and eventually got introduced to his family. Including their human children. I want to make this extremely clear: their kids were human, not pets. Their names? Son’s name was ‘Bear’ and daughter’s name was ‘Ally Bama,’ and I honestly wish I was lying to you right now.”
I laughed out loud at “human children.” You never know these days.
I’ll say this, though. “Bear” is an awesome name for anything. Like, I’d name a cat “Bear.” Nobody is messing with anyone or anything with the name “Bear.”
We had ESPN’s Chris “Bear” Fallica on the podcast before the start of the season and I expressed to him how jealous that he got that nickname. Funny enough, he told us that Lee Corso gave it to him after an instance in which he and Kirk Herbstreit were eating a big hotel breakfast. Corso told Fallica that he looked like a big bear wolfing down food, and thus, the “Bear” nickname was born.
That’s totally the same thing as what Kevin’s story. Probably.
7. From: Jessi Fawley, Georgia fan
“I do not own anything orange.
Half of Georgia’s rivals are orange: Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Clemson. So since the day I started my freshman year, I have not owned anything orange. When I lived in Houston, they gave away orange Astros shirts at a game. I took it home, tore it up, and used it for cleaning rags.”
Leigh Anne Tuohy called. She said “yup.”
8. From: John Houston Whitworth, Auburn fan
“I scheduled my wedding for Sept 24, 2011 because Auburn was playing Florida Atlantic that week. My aunt and uncle (who I am very close with) still picked the game over my wedding.”
Man, that hurts. I know, I know. Fall weddings are even worse than targeting calls for SEC fans. I get it. But John even made sure to schedule his wedding for a dud game and they still were like, “Nah, no such thing as a dud game on The Plains.”
I tend to think that technology has made it easier for us to deal with fall weddings. This isn’t a plug, but the Watch ESPN app has been busted open at countless fall weddings during its brief existence. I tend to think that if we were talking about this in 2020, John’s aunt and uncle would’ve been there for his special day, albeit a bit distracted for some of it.
Speaking of a great fall wedding story …
9. From: Cameron Camp, Georgia fan
“The year was 2008. I was attending the wedding of my sister, and now brother-in-law who shall not be named. It was on a college football Saturday. It wasn’t a big game for Georgia. We were playing Central Michigan. I watch every game regardless of who is getting married, and who we are playing. My uncle and I found a TV, and then this happened.
We cheered so loudly that we interrupted the father-daughter dance at my sister’s wedding.”
And that, my friends, is how family members go without speaking for 30 years.
10. From: Kyle Perkins, Georgia fan
“I was on deployment during the 2012 SEC Championship game (I was in the Navy) and our ship was doing pirate ops off the coast of Africa. We had a box to operate in, but if you turn the ship on a certain baring, we could get the Armed Forces channel. So in theory if we could drift in our box and keep the ship pointed in the right direction we could get the game.
For those who don’t know, the Armed Forces channel has a game of the week that they show live and obviously SEC Championship was the best game on. I convinced, with the help of my division officer, the officer of the deck to keep the ship at the baring to get the channel. I switched my watch with another guy and I stayed up until 3 am local time to watch the game.
Of course Georgia lost and I was heartbroken, but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. GO DAWGS!”
First, thank you for your service. You’re the reason that we have the freedom to care so much about this goofy game with the oddly-shaped ball.
Second, that game was gut-wrenching for Georgia fans in so many ways. That team, with Jarvis Jones, Todd Gurley and Aaron Murray, was special (it would’ve throttled Notre Dame). I rewatched that game a few months ago for our “It Just Meant More” series that we do on The SDS Podcast, and I often thought about what that would have been like as a UGA fan to experience those closing moments. Up until that tipped pass was caught in bounds, it felt like this epic UGA comeback.
I can’t begin to imagine how deflating that would’ve been to experience in a slap-happy, 3 a.m. state of mind.
The good news is that at least Kyle could probably escape the media coverage surrounding it. And hey, he said he’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I’m sure plenty of Georgia fans would like to pretend that game never happened.
11. From: Mickey Cheramie, LSU fan
“First 11:00 am kickoff in college resulted in my roommate and I deciding to spike a whole pineapple in order to fully intoxicate ourselves in the short amount of time to drink before the game. I forgot how much I love pineapple and proceeded to eat the whole pineapple.
Needless to say, the whole pineapple ending up finding its way back out while standing in the student line entrance into the game. I then proceeded to boot and rally and watch the Honey Badger single-handily defeat the Kentucky Wildcats. LSU fans and 11 a.m. kickoffs do not go well together…”
And this, college football scheduling gods, is why we cannot put any more LSU home games at 11 a.m. Innocent lives are at stake!
12. From: Zach Permenter, Florida fan
“I went to the Florida vs Auburn game this year and while my girlfriend and I were waiting in line to enter the stadium, I noticed this guy’s leg tattoos next to me. He had jorts on and UF jersey, but he also had the logo of every SEC team tattooed on both of his calves.”
That’s not made up. We got visual confirmation of this human from Zach:
If you ever wondered who starts the “S-E-C! S-E-C!” chants at every bowl game, it’s this guy. It’s always this guy.
13. From: John W. Peterson, Auburn fan
“It was 2013. I was serving at Dyess Air Force base in Abilene, Texas. But this particular November night was a little different.
I was in Fort Worth meeting my would-be in-laws for the first time. Also. it was Iron Bowl night. My future father-in-law, Jerry, was pulling for Bama (he’s a Longhorns fan) because he’s golfing buddies with George Teague. So he turned on the TV and I cheered for Auburn as best I could.
Then it happened — the Kick Six. I jumped up and down and roared so loud that everyone in the house ran into the living room to see what was happening. I mean I acted a damn fool in front of all these people I had just met hours prior. My mother-in-law shook her head, 2 of my young brother-in-laws ran and hid behind the couch, and then Jerry looked over at my now-wife and said, “Yeah he’ll fit in just fine around here.”
My wife and I have been married almost 5 years now. War Damn Eagle.”
I think we need a name for that moment when your significant other’s parents learn just how much you care about sports. It’s such a defining time for so many people. If they do indeed have that look of “oh, (son/daughter), you’re with a crazy person,” best of luck. It’s often tough to explain why a team means so much.
But if you get the reaction that John got from his future father-in-law, count your blessings. It’s a special kind of acceptance. It’s as if to say, “we’re going to accept you into our world, despite the fact that I just witnessed you celebrate like you won the lottery.”
I suppose if that happens to you, you did win a certain kind of lottery.
14. From: Ryan Straughan, LSU fan
“Last year, my beautiful daughter was born. Her due date was Jan. 1.
As her due date approached, the bowl schedule was announced and both my team LSU and my wife’s team UGA were scheduled to play on that day. I begged and begged my wife’s OB-GYN to have the baby just a week early so we didn’t have to watch the games in the hospital.
Well, it turned out that my wife had a very, very minor complication that resulted in them deciding to induce her labor on Dec. 18. When the doctor told us that we would be having the baby, I let out a little bit of a whoop and got big laughs from the doctor and midwife because they knew part of why I was excited to meet our baby girl sooner.
The next day, my wife gave birth to our precious daughter and then I was able to watch LSU beat UCF with my baby girl at home for her first Tigers game ever. I tell her all the time how lucky she is and how she hasn’t lived in a world where LSU has lost to Bama or lost any game for that matter. My wife thinks I’m crazy but I just say I’m committed.”
For the last year, I’ve been saying that the cheap shot that Joe Burrow took on the pick-6 against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl was what turned everything around for LSU. Based on this story, I think Ryan’s daughter has been responsible for LSU’s run of dominance.
Sorry, non-LSU fans. I don’t think the Tigers are ever losing again.