Every once in a while I will find myself fixated with a team.  And not for positive, rooting-for reasons but for just the opposite.  I find myself fixated on how much I detest a team and I can’t get it out of my head.  I complain, I whine like a dog in need some Alpo, and I generally repeat myself over and over again with a litany of “Damn, I hate these guys!”  It’s happened before. 

I raged against Bill Belichik and the Patriots for a long time.  His sleeveless hooded sweatshirts made him look like a homeless man, trying desperately to salvage his favorite winter/summer shirt.  The only thing missing from his “look” was cut-off jean shorts.  His media responses made Bo Pelini seem effusive and eloquent and his permanent scowl gave mother’s everywhere a perfect example of a guy who’d kept making “that” face and it had, indeed, stayed that way. 

 I have found a new white whale to chase after with an F-Bomb laden harpoon: Boise State.

This past Friday, after gorging myself on gravy and football for two days straight I sat in a cholesterol-induced stupor on my Girlfriend’s parents’ couch watching Boise State take on Nevada.  I had little idea what I was in for.

What I did know was that I hate Boise State.  I’ve posted about it.  Hell, I very nearly wrote Bill Callahan to ask him to come back and help them lose miserably as a volunteer coach.  So I was definitely rooting for Nevada.  Perhaps more than any born-and-bred-Nebraskan has ever rooted for the Wolfpack.

And then the Wolfpack went down 3.  Then they went down 10.  Then 17.  My girlfriend, long ago worn out by my swearing and ranting fell asleep on my lap.  I was now in stealth hater-mode.  Whispering F-bombs and attempting not to terrify her with wild yells of rage. 

(*Author’s Note: I terrified her awake once, by screaming like an extra from a shitty horror movie.  When LeBron hit this game winning jumper in the ’08-’09 playoffs, my wild howler-monkey-in-heat screams led her to believe we were in the process of getting murdered.  I have since learned to cheer more quietly so I avoid almost-getting-dumped-for-being-too-big-a-fan syndrome.)

As Boise State stormed out to another big lead over a seemingly overmatched opponent, I admit, I changed the channel.  I flipped to “Rocky III,” to let Carl Weathers’ soothing, baritone voice ease my pain; to watch Sly Stallone sprint down a beach in shorts that covered less than a stripper’s outfit.  But, after a brief stint wallowing in trash T.V. timeout, I flipped back. 

Vai Taua scored to bring the Wolfpack within 10 points.  Taua, whose name looks like it belongs to a Buddhist priest not a smashmouth, bruising athlete ended up having a massive impact on the game. 

As the 3rd quarter began I nearly changed the channel again.  After all, it was late and the sale of Busch Lite at the local gas station had doomed me to a level of drowsiness that only cheap liquor can bring.  Then suddenly something miraculous began occurring.  Nevada started playing great defense.

Boise State’s offense, used to gorging themselves on lesser opponents’ defenses like some famished wild beast, suddenly faced a resolute, determined team.  Suddenly Kellen Moore’s horse-face and Mr. Ed sized gums weren’t smiling.  In fact, he kept his jumbo-sized mouthguard in his helmet, jamming it down in disgust more often than not in the third quarter.

Colin Kaepernick, joining Taua on the “how-the-hell-do-you-spell-that” All-American team, scored on an electrifying 18 yard TD run as the 3rd quarter drew to a close.  I silently fist-pumped, triumphantly holding my hand in the air like that tool from “The Breakfast Club” that looked to be 27-years-old even though he was playing a high schooler.

The Nevada fans were foaming at the collective mouth.  They were rabidly, feverishly willing their team towards an almost inconceivable goal.  My heart was ripping off machine-gun bursts in my chest, hammering like an anti-tank gun.  I very nearly raised the roof.  A move that long ago, after seeing my mother do it while driving the family minivan, I had sworn to retire.

Then Nevada scored again; a 44-yard sprinting TD that nearly ruptured my spleen as I attempted to hold in a lung-bursting scream.  “Holy shit. . .” I whispered, feeling certain that my palpable shock was being mirrored on the Boise State sideline.  By this time in most of their previous games, they were up by 2 trillion points and were kicking their heels up and laughing as their 4th stringers curbstomped the opponents.

Boise State lead by 3.  I drew in a ragged breath, watched as Nevada’s defense held firm.  Watched as a 5’reallyshort” kicker from Nevada canned a 23 yarder.  Tie game.  I allowed myself a moment to think, “This is going to OT.” 

No sooner had the though skittered across my reeling mind then Boise State did what Boise Stat does: they came up with an asinine, back-breaking 79-yard TD screen pass.  My girlfriend woke up and I breathlessly related the entire game to her without pausing for oxygen or for the sake of her sanity once.

She smiled, humoring my one-man pandemonium and said sleepily, “That’s really close.”

Nevada, to their credit, never abandoned their gameplan.  They handed it off, as the clock continued ticking.  Unhurriedly they ran and ran and ran, eating up yardage and clock alike.  I was nervous.  No, that doesn’t quite cover it.  I was pacing while seated, sweating while un-moving.  I felt like a hero in a clichéd action-movie trying to decide whether I should cut the red wire or the blue wire.

Colin Kaepernick dropped back and made a perfect throw into the corner of the endzone.  Touchdown.  I threw both hands skyward like a old-maid trying to catch a wedding bouquet.  I remember breathing out for what felt like 4 minutes straight.  Then Boise State got the ball back.

With 9 seconds left to go Kellen Moore dropped back, looked exactly like Secretariat, and throws a perfect strike 59 yards downfield to a wide-open Titus Young.  I began speaking in tongues; just began stringing swear words together in no particular order.  Out stepped Kyle Brotzman, as good a kicker in the country not named Alex Henery.

Inexplicably, Brotzman shanked it.  I was acutely aware that I might be swallowing my own tongue.  “Gaccckk?!?!” I said to no one.  My girlfriend stirred.  “Gackkkckc. . .ugh,” I stammered.  “Overtime.”  I said it like I had just done a shot of peanut butter.

 It was somewhere around 1:30 AM as the overtime period started.  In my world it was firmly, I-Want-Boise-To-Lose-So-Bad-I-May-Have-An-Aneurysm:45.  Boise had the ball first and Nevada’s stirling defensive performance continued.  They held.  Out trotted Kyle Brotzman, a shot at redemption squarely on his shoulders.

He lined up for a 26 yard, been-making-100%-of-these-since-8th-grade field goal.  Two things happened simultaneously at this point: Brotzman, impossibly, botched another kick.  And I, impossibly, fumbled the remote and almost accidentally ordered “Eat, Pray, Love” on Pay-Per-View.  I had seen the kick begin to hook left, towards the “no good” area of the goal posts, and in my excitement had pushed some random button on the remote. 

“AHHH!”  I screamed.  Suddenly unconcerned with trivial things like the fact that it was almost 2 A.M. and I was a guest in someone’s house.  My girlfriend wrested the remote from my hands and quickly flipped back to the game.  All hell was breaking loose in Reno.

Since this post is already way too long, I’ll summarize the rest.  Nevada’s kicker, a walk-on scrub with far inferior stats and pedigree to Brotzman, calmly hammered home a game-winning 34-yard field goal and instantly became my favorite player ever from the WAC.

Boise can suck it.  I no longer have to listen to their pandering, whining, or Kirk Herbstreit’s peroxide-loving ass talk about how “deserving” they are.  Thank you, Nevada.  You have saved us from the Evil Empire that is Boise State.  You were the Rebel Alliance and you blew up the death star just in the nick of time.

FIN

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Comments
  1. Sue Tolles says:

    thank you

  2. madhat says:

    Thanks for the heart-thumping, recounting of that night. I, too, was excited by the news, felt like raising the roof in the family minivan!

  3. […] “The Boise Botch-Job: A Semi-Memoir” Got Re-Posted on a Nevada Wolfpack Blog:  After Nevada became my new favorite football team […]

  4. […] zone read that reminded me of the first time I saw Kaepernick play in what was one of the best football games I’ve ever seen (*Author’s note: a post that somehow got discovered and became… Little by little.  Play by play.  The 49ers started coming […]

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