The calendar’s finest month, October, has finally arrived in the South.
It has arrived, too, I’m told, in places like Massachusetts and Oregon, but those thankfully distant bastions of liberalism are of no concern to us here.
This is October in the SEC, when the conference schedule and fall’s colors peak, sweaters and knee-high boots triumphantly return, and four glorious Saturdays of Southern football present themselves to us in their prime.
The ideal month calls for dreaming of the ideal October Saturday. What would yours look like? Surely good friends, family, food and, of course, SEC football are on the docket.
I thought I’d share SEC Banter’s idyllic October Saturday. If you can beat my ideal itinerary, I’ll buy you an Old Timer’s Breakfast at Cracker Barrel (a $7.99 value, plus tip gets us to $10).
Here we go:
In a stroke of pure luck, our daughters let me sleep past 6:00 am. Knowing today’s caloric intake will be particularly high, I dominate an intense walk around the neighborhood and my Apple Watch validates the workout’s results: 43 calories burned. Boom.
I make a fresh pot of strong Community coffee (Signature Blend Dark Roast), and slip out to Henri’s bakery to honcho some donuts.
Returning home to a hero’s welcome, the girls devour their donuts while I enjoy a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit that somehow found its way into the bag of goodies procured from the bakery. A few dashes of Tabasco on top of the fluffy egg and a refill of coffee, and I’m all set.
I settle in to skim the Wall Street Journal and take in the day’s news, and am reminded how dearly I miss Ronald Reagan and the good old days he presided over, when Republicans and Democrats carried themselves with a sense of duty and patriotism to the country.
How disgusting is the state of politics in our country right now?
But this is an ideal SEC October Saturday, and so I turn my focus to that near-perfect escape from it all: the golf course for a mid-morning round with my buddies.
The slightly chilly temperatures arguably do not not call for an extra layer, however, I jump at the chance to don a Peter Millar quarter-zip pullover featuring the proud logo of a golf club to which I do not belong.
By mid-round, the sun finds its way across the bluest, sharpest sky you’ve ever seen, and I shed the pullover to reveal a golf shirt also displaying the logo of an exclusive golf club to which I do not belong, but aspire to one distant day. (It’s a left-sleeve logo, so somewhat subtle.)
The only thing crisper than the October air is my ball-striking, as I easily find more fairways and greens than the entire U.S. Ryder Cup team in Paris.
Irons are flushed, putts drop, soothing tunes from Steely Dan and Hall & Oates set the vibe with some Allman Brothers and Tom Petty thrown in for good measure, and I card a nice little 97. Boom.
Post-round, I take in a leisurely lunch and, though the menu isn’t definitively set, I’m positive it involves a ridiculously unhealthy helping of bacon. And probably too much mayonnaise.
To the soccer fields I go next and, in another stroke of pure luck, the money-grabbing/pyramid scheme girls’ soccer league in Buckhead that shall remain nameless has scheduled our daughters’ games in the same place and in back-to-back-to-back times. Boom!
We head home after victories on the pitch to catch the second half of the SEC on CBS marquee matchup, an instant Southeastern Conference classic that comes down to the wire.
My team, Louisiana State, is not a participant in the contest. The Bayou Bengals, in fact, don’t even play on this fine October Saturday.
That’s part of what makes it ideal, you see: I am liberated from the excruciating, near-debilitating stress that accompanies an LSU football game, left instead to observe SEC football with the interest of a lifelong fan.
I picture games like Georgia vs. Florida or Alabama vs. Tennessee back when the Vols fielded a college football team.
A quick check of my big-baller bets on the day reveals good news: N.C. State covered against Boston College, netting me $35. Boom.
The afternoon game wraps up and friends and extended family pop in for some pops or whatever else is pouring.
The friends are equipped with social graces to stay just the right amount of time — essentially, long enough to honcho a bowl of chili that’s been simmering on the stove for a couple hours, washed down by a few cold pops.
Mercifully, the family makes an even earlier exit. Boom.
The evening’s games kick off, the cool air turns cooler, and I fire up the outdoor fireplace with a new 75-inch QLED UHD HRD Smart 4K 2160p Q8F Series with HDR TV mounted above it. Note: I have neither an outdoor fireplace nor a 75-inch TV, but this is the ideal day, darn it, so humor me.
I casually watch the night games, maybe an Ole Miss vs. Auburn-type game on ESPN2 or even a West Coast affair with USC vs. some BS team.
The fire’s cracking, a glass of red wine’s sipping, all on a comfy couch with an arm wrapped around my wife, the end of an SEC October Saturday.
I have had just the right amount of fun. I have spent quality time with family and friends. I have enjoyed ideal weather, excellent food and drink, and have managed to glance at my phone only once (to confirm receipt of my $35 gambling earnings).
And somewhere, though the odds of him reading SEC Banter are admittedly slim, I have to imagine Ice Cube would be proud, as today I didn’t even have to use my A.K. I got to say it was a good day.