My Volunteer buddy, who I’m still blaming for all of this, saw me "catching up" with my old neighborhood crowd and cut himself off after only two beers, realizing that I would probably not be a good choice to drive us home after the game.
That was a wise choice as I slept (medically referred to as "experienced a coma") from Tuscaloosa, Alabama all the way to Augusta, Georgia.
I regained consciousness as the Georgia State Patrolman asked the Volunteer to step to the back of the vehicle for a field sobriety test. It seems he smelled (my previously consumed) bourbon in the vehicle.
After demonstrating his sobriety and blowing a 0.00 in the breathalyzamagig, my buddy told me he was pulled over for swerving when he was trying to wrest his iPod from my grasp—not sure why I started clutching it, but everything was fine once we got back on the road.
As he had been driving for over five hours and I was suddenly (after a large waffle house coffee) bright-eyed and—pardon the future pun—bushy-tailed, we decided it was my turn to drive.
About 50 miles west of Columbia, SC and one mile from the last exit for about 25 miles, Bambi—more likely Bambi’s huge older brother with at least eight point antlers—bounded from the median directly in front of our vehicle.
I had less than a split second to react, and all I could do was tighten my grip on the steering wheel as we plowed into the animal.
The speed limit on that particular stretch of highway is 70 miles an hour, so of course I was only doing 69, though it felt like 80 to 85.
Really my only other option would have been to try to ditch the vehicle, which more than likely would have killed us all, including the deer. (So please, no PETA march—I chose human life over an animal, but the deer was a goner either way.)
In retrospect, the Volunteer and I are fortunate it wasn’t a lot worse, and for whatever reason the air bag did not deploy, even though the indicator light proclaiming its use did.
When the wrecker service showed up to claim the vehicle, we met "Freakshow" (pictured) from Harold and Kumar’s trip to White Castle.
Instead of hitching a ride with the demolished deer destroyer and Freakshow, we hiked down the road to yet another seedy motel.
I thank God we finally were able to finish the long ride home when the Volunteer’s wife (she wanted me to describe her as toned, tanned, and incredibly hot—for having two kids and pushing 40, it’s not a stretch) picked us up on Sunday.
In the end, let this be a cautionary tale: While any good college football game is worth a trip, no matter what the final score is—friends just don’t let friends mix their fanhood!
I apologize to the football gods and Tiger Nation for allowing a Volunteer to don the purple and gold. It’ll never happen again—at least not on my watch!
By Henry Ball (a.k.a. Southern Man, CFB Czar), Featured Columnist and Syndicated Writer