The Christmas Eve feeling little kids get was always, and still is, my favorite feeling in the world. It’s the excitement before a big day that you know can’t possibly be anything but glorious. (Well, if you’re at least middle class, anyway. And even then if your mom, say, doesn’t know the different between PlayStation and N64 and buys the wrong one, then YOU RUINED EVERYTHING YOU IDIOT MY LIFE IS HORRIBLE JUST GIVE ME MY GLUTTONOUS MEAL AND NICE CLOTHES AND LEAVE ME ALONE THIS IS THE WORST CHRISTMAS IN THE WORLD!)
I don’t get that feeling on Christmas Eve anymore, because now Christmas morning involves me sitting around the tree way earlier than I want to be awake, half-drunk, chugging coffee, and eating bacon and cinnamon rolls to combat my crippling hangover–and also hoping my parents assume that minty smell is something Christmasy, and not all the Rumple Minze I festively drank the night before that’s trying to force its way up past the cinnamon roll dam I’m attempting to construct.
I may not get that Christmas Eve feeling on Christmas Eve anymore, but I do still get it. The day I flew to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, I had it. As a Missouri alumnus, I knew our chances to beat Alabama were thin and our playoff chances nonexistent (a TFM employee who graduated from Indiana is coming into town this weekend and my first order of business is to punch him in the dick).
Sure, I was optimistic, because I’m stupid, but my hopes weren’t especially high. They definitely weren’t 2007 Big 12 Championship Game high, which, of course, came crashing down and resulted in me telling my girlfriend, “leave me alone,” “it IS a big deal,” and “I don’t care if I’m ruining your formal for you right now JUST GET AWAY FROM ME but we’re still gonna bone later, right?” (Wrong.)
While I wasn’t expecting my Tigers to win the golden fiddle that I assume is your prize when you defeat Nick Saban in Georgia, I was still incredibly excited just to be there tailgating, tearing up Buckhead, and getting drunk with Mizzou people.
Naturally, because I was excited to get game-weekend drunk with fellow Mizzou Tigers, and because Missouri fans can’t ever have nice things, in some sick, dark twist of fate, the first bar I went to after I landed, which I was at to kill time until the people I was staying with got home, was full of kansas fans. Not only were there kU fans everywhere, they were there in an official capacity. It was an official kansas alumni basketball watch party. Of all the bars in the giant city of Atlanta, I walked into the Godforsaken kansas bar. This was a bad sign. So, like with a “No Trespassing” sign, I poured beer into my face until I was able to ignore it.
Friday night in Buckhead was fun if relatively uneventful. Unlike the Georgia Dome on Saturday, Buckhead on Friday was more black and gold than maroon Walmart shirt. The only real, sort of highlight from Friday was hitting a strip club called the Pink Pony (great strip club name, incidentally). Sadly, this was not the Atlanta strip club experience I had hoped for and dreamed of after a lifetime of watching ESPN, listening to Ludacris’s songs, and following Andruw Jones’s career. There were no NBA players, no rappers, no guns tucked into sweatpants, no champagne bottles broken on a pole and used as a weapon. Just tits and stuff. I might as well have been getting a boner in Indianapolis.
Saturday morning, everyone in my group woke up with a miserable hangover. Our hosts, being the incredible people they are, were nice enough to cook us biscuits and gravy, so we all shoveled that into our booze holes to sober up and make ourselves human for the day. This weekend really was a lot like Christmas.
Once we got down to the Georgia Dome, it was clear the Bammers outnumbered us about ten to one. Again, as with the strip club, I was disappointed. It wasn’t that we were outnumbered; I expected that, even if it was by more than I had assumed. The problem was that all these Alabama fans were…nice. I wanted to see the crazy-eyed Bama fans I had always heard about! Where was Harvey Updyke murdering a live Tiger? Where was some drunk guy in jorts and a maroon Starter jersey that sort of resembled a Bama uniform and only cost seventeen dollars throwing full beer cans at women and children wearing gold? I felt like I was in the first part of the tour in “Jurassic Park.” I kept waiting for these vicious, terrifying, legendary beasts to appear, but there was nothing. The only difference in that analogy was that I was never eventually assaulted in the bathroom, either.
So the Alabama fans were courteous and friendly, though maybe that’s just because a practically assured victory will make anyone pleasant. My group ended up pregaming at Dantanna’s in the CNN Center, where a few games of credit card roulette got us primed for disappointment. I met up with the kid I bought a ticket from, took down one more giant beer, and we all went into the game. There wasn’t much to the actual game, really. The highlights for the Missouri side were basically a few crazy Maty Mauk passes and YOU EJECTED SHANE FUCKING RAY ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?
By the fourth quarter, Mizzou was being pretty handily blown out, but the low point of the day actually came when I was passing my flask around and two of the kids next to me got into a minor argument as I handed it to them. The first kid took yet another pull, and the second one said to him, “Dude, what are you doing? You have a paper fucking stomach.” The first kid finished his pull, handed it to the second kid, and slurred, “whatever.” I didn’t think much of it at the time. Five minutes later, I was passing what was left of my flask around one last time, and, sure enough, as paper stomach kid took a pull, he stopped, gulped nervously, and yakked all over my flask and himself. Then he handed the flask back to me and exhaled “sorry” as he tried to catch his breath and recover. M-I-Z, buddy.
After the game, we eventually found ourselves back in Buckhead at the bar Big Sky, which, despite having opened only a few months ago, was the most popular bar in the area, because it was absolutely packed both on both Friday and Saturday. Georgia offensive lineman Watts Dantzler met us and took us upstairs, which turned out to be VIP for a Waka Flocka concert that was apparently taking place that night.
I wasn’t aware of any of this, and I wasn’t all that concerned, either (though Waka is the shit). I just wanted to drink away the memory of the game. Fortunately, of all people, Waka Flocka helped me out with that. Watts, my buddy Tyler, and I went into Waka’s little roped off section to hang out, and the rapper was nice enough to start pouring us Fireball shots and let us help ourselves to his drinks. So down to earth, that Waka guy. We chatted for a second but he had more pressing matters, so we moved on. (Those matters being the line of stupidly hot women hovering around him. I get it, Wak–can I call you Wak? I feel like I can. I get it, bro.)
The rest of the night was a blur, but from what I remember:
- Big Sky’s owner bought us a few rounds, because he’s a good dude and also possibly, like, 24 years old, which made me feel bad about myself.
- Watts introduced me to Atlanta Braves pitcher Alex Wood, who bought us a round and chatted with us for a little bit. I don’t remember what we talked about, so I’m assuming there’s a decent chance Alex Wood regrets meeting me.
- Waka Flocka concert, which was sick.
- Presumably a ride home.
The night ended with me having to climb a wall to get back into the apartment complex where I was staying, because my phone was dead and I didn’t know the gate code. The first attempt to scale the wall was wildly unsuccessful. I was like a baby pony trying to stand, but not knowing how to use its limbs yet. I sadly slid down the wall and crumpled to the wet ground. I took a step back, resolved to concentrate as hard as I could, and then stared at the wall super intensely, because I guess that’s what concentration meant to me at that point. The second attempt, which totally unnecessarily began with a running start, was successful-ish. I mean, I got over the wall, but it was about as graceful as an old woman getting into a bathtub. Whatever, I would’ve taken a Mizzou win uglier than that minor victory.
All in all, it was a quality weekend. 10/10 would recommend attending the SEC Championship. It would have been nice to win, but then again it was nice to leave Atlanta alive, which would have been a questionable proposition had Mizzou won that fiddle. Drowning in a Waffle House toilet is no way to leave this earth..