I-Earn Bowl Week Is Upon Us!

Happier than a pig in slop... happier than a coondog on a bare leg... happier than a possum at pokeberry time…This is Iron Bowl week (If you do not know what the Iron Bowl is, I can't help you, go google it or something). This morning, my six-year-old Spence wrote that he was excited for the "I Earn Bol"- so he has either already attained the spelling proficiency of an Awbun grad, or is offering commentary on Cam Newton. Iron Bowl notwithstanding, this week's post is not about the future. I will, however,  offer my prediction: Alabama 35 Awbun 13.

What a weekend! The best analogy I can come up with is being in “the zone”. In earlier days when basketball was life, there was no better feeling than those fleeting moments where you know you can’t miss. Things are simply breaking your way. Of course, you can’t control when this happens, or for how long, you just appreciate it when it occurs.

The weekend looked innocent enough. I had a bunch of work to get done in advance of the holiday, Alabama and Auburn were both playing FCS opponents, and we happen to be in a lull in the youth sports schedule. I expected nothing more than a little work, a little playing in the park, a little cooking, and a little relaxation. Well friends, I got all that and more.

Going into this weekend of college football, my beloved Crimson Tide sat third in the BCS. Were we to have any chance of playing for a national championship we were going to need some help. #2 Oklahoma State needed to lose, and the best chance for that would be on the 27th when they face #5 Oklahoma. Were Oklahoma to win that game, however, a number of voters may have been convinced that they were a better one-loss team than ‘Bama. Out west, there was a great deal of hype surrounding #4 Oregon- like ‘Bama, a team with only one loss, and that to #1 LSU.

The weekend started with a bang on Friday. That morning I discovered that Noel (yes, that Noel) was playing the Tabernacle in Atlanta. I grabbed some tickets- 5th row center, thank you very much. (btw, I bought a few extra, if you want to roll with us, give me a shout). The next little jewel came at my Friday afternoon board meeting at the Cherry Street office. Bathed in a single golden beam of light ,front and center in the humidor, I found a box of the exceedingly rare Arturo Fuente Anejo. The #77, AKA “the Shark” was sublime. Content that I had a good day, I returned home and hit the bed. As a lark, I figured I would tune in to see just how good Oklahoma State was. Turns out, not very. The Iowa State Cyclones pulled the massive upset and cracked the door for an Alabama-LSU rematch.

Several weeks ago, on a trip to Iowa, after failing to find an
Ottumwa Bulldog shirt for the boy, I settled on an
Iowa State number. Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, the hits kept on coming. Corso got the day off to a rousing start by dropping an F-bomb on College GameDay. ‘Bama rolled GA Southern. Auburn edged Samford. USC held on to defeat Oregon (yes, I was actually rooting for Lane Kiffin), and finally, Baylor took down Oklahoma. Closer to home, Tennessee pulled a massive upset by nipping Vanderbilt in OT (not neccesarily a good thing, it’s just fun to note that the Vols were an underdog to the ‘Dores).

At midnight, I received what was by far the best news of all. The world has been blessed with another Rushing male. My nephew, Andrew Rushing, Jr., was born in Colorado at about 11pm. He surprised us all by arriving a couple of months early. The little guy is only about 3lbs, but his lungs are developed enough for him to breathe on his own. Both mother and son are recovering and doing well. We are all incredibly excited. Now, I have to figure out how to get them to move back down South. I’m sure Aspen is nice, but c’mon man…

The newest member of the clan. Welcome, little Drew.

Sunday was spent basking in the glow of good fortune. In the afternoon, I dipped out for another celebratory Anejo. When I got home, I came a across a forgotten pound of royal red shrimp in the freezer. I then settled in for the release of the BCS standings. Those standings showed that the stage is set for an LSU-Alabama rematch, and the top three teams in the nation are all from the Western Division of the SEC. What a life.

That all of this is occurring around Thanksgiving is not lost on me. I am very thankful for everything I have been blessed with in this life. I don’t deserve half of it. Along those lines, we should all be thankful for the things our city is blessed with. It is useful to critique and question, but every now and then it’s also useful to take a step back and appreciate the things we have. Toward that end, I am thankful for*:

-the mountains. We are blessed with one of the most beautiful and liveable physical settings in the South. The mountains are the pillars of this setting, I find them reassuring and inspiring.
-the connectivity our city has to the nation and region.
-the river. Our collective birthplace and the engine for a century of our growth.
-the portions of the downtown street grid that are still intact. This is our inherited footprint, the fine scale makes pedestrianism and human-scaled commerce possible.
-the quantity and quality of parks and plazas downtown.
-our buildings. Our forebears have blessed us with a number of rich historic structures that express our shared history. Our contemporaries have blessed us with modern works that express the technology and philosophy of our time. Our downtown has a number of sites that will be suitable for future generations to build, thereby expressing themselves and addressing their needs.
-the generosity of spirit exhibited by our public realm.
-Chattanoogans. We are all indebted to the generations that established and grew the city. We are indebted to the people who engineered and executed the revival of downtown. I am grateful for the crop of young people who appear to be actively engaged in making our city a better place. I am thankful for the Spencers, Sterns, and little Drews who will one day take up the mantle of civic stewardship.

It is one thing to be cognizant of the things we have been blessed with. It is quite another to respect those blessings by working to nurture and maintain them. The important thing to remember is that these things can be fragile and fleeting. If I don’t keep an eye on the mail, I might miss my tickets to see Noel. If Alabama doesn’t win the Iron Bowl this week, all of the serendipitous results of the weekend will be for naught. If I don’t go immediately back to CBC and buy the rest of the Anejos, I may never see one again. If the doctor’s don’t attend to the needs of little Drew, there may be long-term consequences. If we are not active stewards of the blessings our city has received, they will be lost to future generations.

In James, the Bible says that faith without deeds is dead. I suppose one could also say that blessings without stewardship are lost.

*I'm sure I will have missed something about the city that I'm thankful for. Please feel free to comment and point out anything that I let slip.

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