Saturday, November 3, 2018

Day 17

The bus lumbered forward, a familiar route across the beautiful landscapes of the South. I-20 to I-59 to I-12, plus a quick dash on I-10. That’s the way to the Promised Land. Behind the bus, Nick rode comfortably in a special vehicle. He had some business to handle before he put the Crimson Tide up against the Fighting Tigers, and he asked the driver to make a special stop before they rolled into Baton Rouge. 

“You know, they’re right,” he thought to himself, “We really haven’t played anybody.” This game was going to require some extra fuel. Something special. Something fried, for sure, but also something creamy, mayonnaisy, and vegetably. 

It’d been a long time since he held the reins in Tiger Stadium, and leading the Dynasty certainly had its rewards, yet separation from one’s true love might not have been worth the cost of love lost. Football championships are great, for sure, but the players might’ve won those with any coach. Heck, Les Miles could’ve probably led them to a championship. Nick smirked at the absurd thought, passing a slip of paper with GPS coordinates to the driver and attempting to nod off. He needed his rest, he knew that much, but he was too excited for what was to come. How could he possibly sleep with this much excitement and anticipation coursing through his veins?

Finally, they pulled into the forbidden drive thru. Nick felt relieved to be in a more discrete vehicle that the enormous “Roll Tide”-mobiles transporting the team and the rest of the coaching staff. The Alabama license plate wasn’t such a giveaway on a weekend like this. They couldn't know about this, and he couldn’t be seen. 

 “Chicken chicken chicken, which box are you pickin’?” said a bubbly voice on the other end of the speaker. 
“I’d like a box combo. No toast. Extra slaw.” he said, trying to disguise his voice. 
“NICK SABAN?? IS THAT YOU???” The guest was silent on the other end of the speaker. “NICK SABAN WE KNOW THAT’S YOU! NOBODY ELSE ORDERS EXTRA SLAW!!”
Nick sighed. “Yes, it’s me. The team is going to wonder where I am if I don’t make it to the stadium soon. Just get my order ready as fast as possible, please” he urged the employee, “I need this right now. Please.”

The employee honored his request, and at the next window, another crew member shoved a hot box of food out the window in Nick’s direction. “How could be show his face here again?” she wondered to herself. 

In the short trip from the original Raising Cane’s to LSU’s glorious campus, Saban devoured the box combo, wondering if he should have gotten a third order of slaw. It wouldn’t cost much extra, and it was so delicious. Is there anything better in life than this creamy slaw side? Anyone who prefers the carbs of toast to the slaw must be an ignoramus. 

After giving his best pregame speech and riling the team up to take the field, Nick’s mind flashed back to his days at LSU when Death Valley was his home turf. He certainly couldn’t go back now, but that wasn’t stopping his mind from wandering back to the Raising Cane’s. No matter what, that slaw will always be his One Love.

Full of nervous energy—the fate of the SEC West rested on this game—Nick sent a quick text to his driver:

Do you think we can go by Cane’s for more slaw on the way home?

Then, the fireworks went off, and Nick refocused his mind. “It’s Saturday night in Death Valley,” he reminded himself, “and I am the captain of this cruise ship,” he said, knees shaking as he saw Coach O across the field. It was going to be tough to think about footslaw—oops, football—for the next few hours. 

Something that made today great: sleeping in before an afternoon of tailgating
Time I woke up: 11:00-ish. 

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