Thinking about that last post put me in mind of college football, obviously.
I can’t be the only person, seven or eight months on, who randomly goes back to edsbs.com and clicks to see if there’s any new content. There isn’t, of course, since Spencer Hall’s site got shut down to be reincarnated as Banner Society, a website that seems to be focused on trying to do snarky college football without any of the elements that made EDSBS indispensable for a decade or so. The community, such as it is, seems to have migrated to more millenial-friendly outlets like Twitch or Discord or Reddit. They started a Slack for weekdays while we all work from home, but the first day was the day I went for my steroid injection on Friday the 13th and I’ve forgotten about it every day since until I get the noon notifications that the channels are being archived. So much for being distracted by another social outlet.
College football sucks. Let’s start with that. Maybe it’s being a Vandy fan, maybe it’s being a Vandy fan and a Cal fan both, maybe it’s just the coming of the Playoff era and the open admission that only six or seven teams matter in college football, or maybe it’s just the best decade of Commodore football in my lifetime working out to roughly .500 ball – and realizing that for a certain type of Southerner, it’s a permanent reminder that you were lied to about what is important, what matters, and who is worthy and worthwhile.
EDSBS punctured that bubble for a little while. It took the piss out of everyone and everything, mocked the champions, shone a bright light on the avalanche of offseason malfeasance (until, irony of ironies, Vanderbilt players did something too horrible for it to continue), and generally said what we all knew in our heart: “look, you know and we know this is bullshit, but we care about it for some ungodly reason, so let’s treat it with all the respect it genuinely deserves: none.”
And for a little while, it was an outlet for people like me: smart, clever, witty folks who were willing to go along with the joke, and the joke after that one, and the creation of a subculture that was ostensibly based around this common interest but at heart was the validation of our own selves. It was fun for a while. Hell, it was fun for six or seven years. I actually met two or three real people and one dog through it, and the dog would become one of my best local guy friends before he emigrated to Norway. I shipped a bottle of whiskey and a box of fudge to a couple who acted as my agents at the 2014 College World Series. I virtually walked a savage rabid venomous platypus down the aisle on a leash as the ring bearer in a pretend online wedding. At a time when I’d changed jobs and the friends I’d made in the Bay Area were slowly starting to disappear, it allowed me to pretend I had more of a social life in a more real and interactive way than podcasts or Facebook permitted.
And then 2014 happened, and college football stopped being fun, and I stopped coming round as much, and so did many if not most of the old commentariat, and and and. And then one day Spencer closed up the shebeen and even though I could hardly claim to have been a participant for a long time, I felt the absence I’ve felt over and over as one piece of the past after another crumbles and tumbles into the darkness behind me.
I’ll give the last word, as always, to the Fearless Leader, Orson Swindle: “The horizon is always hungry for daylight, and takes it ray by ray. Run one way or the other. Stay still and your choice is made for you anyway.”