all VOL, y'all.

Vols lose to Mizzou, Dooley loses his job and a random car loses its bumper. I blame the walk-in clinic.

Saturday was the first time the triplets got to witness this: our beloved Vols running through the T.

This is the longest post I’ve ever written in my life for any site and I’m so sorry for that. I promise to never write one this long again! I just wanted to keep busy, I suppose, so as to keep that horrible loss off my mind. Well, that and the bumper-less car deal which you’ll read about if you (somehow) make it to the end.

Before you read, I want to point out that in this piece, I employ an over-the-top brand of humor that some might find offensive. Please rest assured that most every single thing in this post is to be taken with a grain of salt.

******

Tennessee lost to Missouri in Knoxville on Saturday, and as a result, the Derek Dooley decision officially made itself. I mean, no — no one’s made any formal announcement. But trust me. Dooley officially lost his job by falling to Mizzou. There’s zero chance that our beleaguered coach will don the orange pants next year. Hell, I have my doubts he’ll be donning them next week.

It was a game we dominated. One that, midway through the third period, I felt great about. The kind of game that’s hard to lose, yet lose we did. And, just so you know, I’m kinda blaming it on the walk-in clinic. Allow me to hit reset, will you?

Friday

1:30 pm: Having been under the weather for the past nine days, I finally decide to see a doctor. After all, Mizzou will be the triplets’ first ever Tennessee football game, and I don’t want a pesky cough to ruin it. Only, I can’t get in to see my guy. So I go to a walk-in clinic (gasp) .

1:45 pm: The man sitting next me smells worse than any other living human in the United States. Possibly Europe, too. This is most disruptive, as I’m in the middle of writing my weekly pick-em post, so I contemplate moving. Only (a) there’s not another seat and (b) even if there were, I fear standing in such a stench could cause one to faint.

2:00 pm: I take a little break from my post to survey the room and discover that the walk-in clinic is a wonderful place to visit should you ever be in need of a little confidence booster. I’m like George Clooney up in here.

3:00 pm: George Clooney is getting impatient. And my post is done, so there’s nothing to keep my mind off of my neighbor’s stench. Except for maybe the pathetic, moaning noises that this morbidly obese woman across the room is sporadically making. What a gem.

3:45 pm: I reach the conclusion that this place is a mere film crew away from becoming reality-TV gold.

4:15 pm: I finally get called back and am surprised to learn that what I have is just a virus. No antibiotics for me. Even so, I make a plea for the super-powerful cough medicine — the one with like crack, or whatever, in it, because one my symptoms is this awful cough.

The nurse practitioner assures me that what she’s prescribed will do the trick, but warns that it’ll make me “drowsy.” I hope “drowsy” is code for high on codeine.

7:30 pm: My wife and I get the baby and the triplets down for the night at which point she and my stepdaughter join another mother-daughter duo at Bravo for dinner.

8:00 pm: I go big on the cough medicine and alternate between Vols’ basketball and the West-Powell high school playoff game on TV. There’s no codeine in my cough medicine. Or crack.

8:50 pm: The baby starts going off, but I decide to let him go for a bit. If he’s still chirping in 10 minutes, then it’s time to see what’s up.

8:57 pm: The baby is quiet. All is good.

9:30 pm: My wife and daughter get home. We all turn in early.

10-12:30 am: I set the in-state record for number of coughs in a 150-minute span. I’m not certain, but I believe I’ve broken a rib. I go hard on the cough medicine again.

12:45 amI’m not only still coughing, but I’m also livid at the stupid woman who prescribed this pussy cough medicine. What an asshole. I contemplate my revenge.

1:30 am: I traipse into the kitchen, open the pantry door, then squeeze a shit-ton of Tennessee Mountain Honey into my mouth, then return to bed.

1:45 am: The good news is my cough has stopped. The bad news? It’s clear I wasted four hours of my life suffering through the most ungodly of stenches all for a brand of cough syrup that’s nowhere near as effective as the bear-shaped bottle of honey that’s been sitting in my pantry for the past four fucking years.

I will get that bitch.

Saturday morning:

8:00 am: I’ve slept in (decadent!) only to be woken up by one of the triplets who informs me the baby has thrown up.

8:10 am: I walk into the kitchen where my wife tells me that the baby must have thrown up the night before as he was literally sleeping in a pile of it when she got him up. “But I just can’t figure out when it could have happened.”

Now’s a good time to invite you to scroll back up to the 8:50 pm time update. Father of the year over here apparently let his kid cry through a puking episode, then left him to sleep in it. I take a chance and come clean with my wife, and she’s surprisingly cool about it. Probably because she knows damn well that I learned the ten-minute rule from her.

I go over to love on the poor, little fella. Were it not for my adventures at the walk-in clinic, he would have easily been the worst smelling human I’d ever encountered, even after the bath he’d just received. As it is, he’s a close second.

11:15 amOur babysitter arrives to take care of our little one and we set off to the game.

11:35 am: We pull into G5 and we’re in my wife’s car, a Denali, which means we practically need a tub of vaseline and a shoe horn just to park, but we get ‘er done because I’m money like that. Note that it only took us 20 minutes. There was almost no traffic whatsoever.

Noon: We divide and conquer. I go low with the boys and our oldest child and my wife is a few rows up with our triplet girl.

12:21 pm: Kickoff. I’m optimistic. And coughing.

12:22 pm: The boys wanna go for concessions, this despite the fact that (a) they insisted we wait just minutes prior and (b) the game started 60 seconds ago. I scold myself for being such a rookie for not making us get snacks pre-kick.

I assign blame to the woman at the walk-in clinic.

I hold the boys off for as long as I can before embarking upon a popcorn / cotton candy / water run and while we’re gone, Cordarrelle scores. At least I caught it on a small screen. We return just in time for Mizzou’s kick off return that went for a touchdown.

“What was that Daddy?”

“Tennessee being Tennessee, son.”

Second quarter:

The Vols play great and our defense is a particularly pleasant surprise. Our offense is also playing well. We’ve scored two touchdowns and are moving the ball effortlessly against a team that is clearly outmatched. This beautiful fall day is beyond comparison. I’m reveling at the sight of my boys enjoying their first ever Tennessee Vols game — reveling, too, at my how much fun my oldest is making this experience for them.

And, best of all, my team is totally in command, up 21-7.

Halftime: We navigate the concourse as a family and when we’re finished, I’m armed with a pizza, some skittles and the same three kids I started with, unable to believe that we’re actually going to make it through at least part of the third quarter. I had set the over/under at halftime.

Nothing, it seemed, could possibly make the situation better. Everything was going my way.

Third quarter: Till we got back to our seats and everything went to hell, starting with the play we’d just missed — Mizzou’s 77-yard touchdown run. 21-14.

My oldest goes up to give her mom the rest of the sandwich she’d bought at halftime, which was apparently decided when the sandwich was purchased, a decision I wasn’t in on, and one that would NOT have been made had I been. Everyone knows you don’t create the illusion of intra-game, seat flexibility, for if you do, you’re setting the table for seat anarchy.

Predictably, the boys start making noises that they, like their older sister, want to go see Mommy, too.

Their sister returns hand-in-hand with our triplet girl. Again, another poor decision I wasn’t a part of. Because this has left an open seat next to my wife — a seat which all the triplets soon start begging for. In a stadium that’s only 60% filled, it quickly becomes the hottest one in the entire house.

Well, aside from Dooley’s.

My kids, who’ve been phenomenal all game, are now out-and-out train wrecks. I’m having a hard time containing the four of them. What’s worse, I now have a headache I’m coughing so hard. I stand up and look over my left shoulder toward my wife. She’s eating a pretzel and laughing at something her mother just said.

This, of course, is the fault of the nurse practitioner. Seriously. What a bitch. Could things possibly be going any worse right now?

Touchdown, Missouri. 21-14. The lopsided game is now inexplicably close.

My kids are chirping ever louder for their mama. Even the cute college girls sitting behind us who were loving on my boys the entire first half are annoyed. I make an executive decision. “We can go see her, but if we do, we’re going to go ahead and go home.” A reluctant understanding is reached.

We get to my wife and the wheels officially come off. One of our boys has flat-out come undone. My wife and I exchange looks. We wonder if he’s sick. Our triplet girl, who we’re certain is just fine, is also going nuts.

Walking to the car: The meltdowns get so bad that a stop is required, which is when we decide that I should scurry ahead and get the car started so that we can leave as quickly possible. I’ve parked such that I’d have to back out, so I decide to turn the car around such that we can pull straight out once the walking train wrecks get there.

Looking back, there’s absolutely no reason to have done this. Not sure what I was thinking. I was obviously flustered by the recent turn of events.

And the whole cough medicine thing.

It’s super tight, but everything’s good — I back out, then drive a few feet toward the stadium so I can back into the space, but once I do, I realize I’m a bit too close to the car on my right, so I put the car in drive and ease out, but very slowly. Space is a factor.

I’m surprised to feel the very slightest of bumps. It seems my back right quarter panel has given the very front of the car to my right a “love tap.” I back up ever so slightly, adjust the wheel and then resume my forward advance. Slowly. Very slowly.

Inexplicably, my careful maneuvers have pulled off the front bumper of the car to my right. I’m in a state of shock. Typically, I leave the shitty driving to my wife. None of us can believe what has happened. Weirder still? There was virtually zero noise. It’s as if the bumper had been attached by velcro.

I secure the bumper as best I can and examine the car’s front quarter panel. There are no marks whatsoever. Our back quarter panel has but a single scratch that is so faint that it almost disappears when I rub my finger over it. I’m despondent.

And virtually certain that the car in question belongs to the woman at the fucking walk-in clinic.

We’re on the road and not only am I coughing my head off, but I’m also coming to grips with the fact that I’m a decidedly worse driver than I was just hours before. Oh. And our son is, indeed, sick. He looks awful and it’s clear to the touch that he has a fever. Just 20 minutes ago things couldn’t have been better. Now they couldn’t be worse.

Back home: I try to block everything out and focus on the game. Sitting on the table to my immediate left is the bottle of impotent cough syrup, mocking me with its ineffective stare.

If that doesn’t prove to you that the walk-in clinic is behind this entire fiasco, I don’t know what will. A high price to pay for feeling like George Clooney for a few smelly hours.

I turn my attention back to the TV. At least a stop on 4th and 12 will get us an ugly W.

Touchdown, Missouri. 28-28.

We’re headed to overtime. You know what’s key for overtime? A strong defense and a competent kicking game. For that reason, I’m certain we’re doomed. Four OTs later, my pessimism is well founded. Again, reasonably sure this all boils down to down to the walk-in clinic. Well, that and poor coaching.

Much has been made of Dooley’s decision to sit on the ball with 30 seconds left in the game, and rightfully so. It showed no confidence. The fake field goal in the second overtime that went for a touchdown? That was a gutsy call. One, it should be pointed out, that showed great confidence and was in direct opposition to the overly conservative decision at the end of regulation. In his presser, Dooley explained that he feared we’d not be able to pick up that last 3rd and 10. Too much to ask, apparently, of his quarterback, so he bled the clock down to zero.

Yet, in overtime, we threw 19 consecutive passes (or was it 21? I heard the stat, but forget which…) and attempted no rushes (except for the fake field goal that went for a touchdown), which seems like even more to ask of your quarterback. The decision to forgo the field goal in the final OT and go for it on 4th and 3? More, still, to ask of your quarterback.

All of which brings me to my ultimate point on Dooley. His coaching style is all over the board. It always has been. He seems so overwhelmed in the heat of battle. So often his decisions counter the philosophy behind a decision he’d made just a series or two before.

It’s almost like he’s not been doing this long enough to have firm, resolute convictions upon which to fall back. And every coach needs that. Especially an SEC coach. He’s tried his hardest since he’s been here. He seems like a nice man.

I wish him well in the future.

15 minutes after the game: The phone rings. It’s my bumper-less friend, and she couldn’t be nicer. She’s grateful that we’re good folks (albeit shitty drivers) who left a note, and I’m grateful she’s handling the situation so graciously.

“Wanna hear a funny story?” she asks before we hang up.

I do.

Her car wouldn’t start. It had to be jumped off, and through the process, the bumper fell completely to the ground.

We both agreed that there was a metaphor in there somewhere for the 2012 version of our beloved team.

Here’s to getting that piece of shit fixed.

And here’s to the damn walk-in clinic. At least it helped make a decision that needed to be made.

GO VOLS!

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facebook comments:

  • NorthKnoxVol

    Let’s get our kids together and head down there in a couple weeks! (the stadium, not the clinic)

    • http://twitter.com/all_VOL_yall all VOL, y’all.

      we’ll be there. (as sick as the kids are right now? possibly both.)