Sunday, December 02, 2007

Life, Death, and Football

An older friend passed away last Sunday. His son--my best friend from LSU--called me with the news. CG was a very successful ophthalmologist and a humble guy. Despite hiving piles of money, CG lived in a modest-but-comfortable home and bought his clothes at Sears. He shared my interest in 20th Century history, and he owned a fish camp at which I enjoyed spending weekends. The family moved to Florida several years ago, in part so CG and his DW could be closer to their Disneyworld. CG grew up impoverished, but he indulged his love of Disney animation later in life, and with ample money to do so. His own reproductions of Disney animation cells were gorgeous in and of themselves.

CG had what I thought was a fun habit of probing for weak points of pride and/or arrogance the first time he met somebody. If he found one, he would poke at it relentlessly for his own amusement. I just laughed as he tried this with me. He didn't find what he was looking for, and we got on just fine.

CG's son MG told me that he realized Friday before last that CG would not leave the hospital alive, in light of his vital signs. So MG prepped CG for the LSU/Arkansas football game by putting an LSU hat on him and dressing him the jersey of a former LSU linebacker/friend of the family (whom I also happened to know) who died at a tragically young age. MG also placed an LSU pennant in CG's hand, and the two watched the game together. CG's vitals would perk up whenever LSU scored, and MG said that his dad "redlined" at the end of the game, which Arkansas won, evidently knocking LSU out of the national title picture. At least he was able to watch his last LSU game in a grand style.

Ironically, LSU may still have a shot at the title. With no. 1 Missouri and no. 2 West Virginia both losing last night, the teams ranked between no. 3 Ohio State and no. 7 LSU all have defects that could see my alma mater leapfrog over them. No. 4 Georgia came in second in the SEC's eastern division, while LSU won the SEC championship game. No. 5 Kansas came in second in the Big 12 northern division, and therefore didn't play for its conference championship. No. 6 Virginia Tech lost to LSU 48-7 earlier in the season. I love the Bowl Championship Series, mostly because it seems to get thrown into chaos every year, despite however much the formula is tweaked to avoid whatever fiasco occurred the previous year.

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