Casey Cregan: My Two Cents – Halloween Edition

I have a 3-year old.  Almost 4 actually.  But a child under school age nonetheless.  Before this year, Halloween was just another holiday where his mother could dress him in outfits and Slider would have no idea what he was being succumbed to.  It was cute, no question about it, but I was not going around the neighborhood toting him around to collect candy for my own personal gut…er…pleasure.  This is the first year that he sort of understands what is going on.  I have bought not one but two costumes for him, both superheroes and he is PUMPED.  Unfortunately, I am not a fan of Halloween, but I will tote him around this year (with blue cans) to collect too many malt balls.  Does anyone actually like malt balls?  I digress.

When I was 7 years old I went around the neighborhood with my parents and friends and loved dressing as a raccoon.  Rocky Raccoon, to be exact. Not sure what that was from, but at the end of the evening, after going through my wealth of candies.  TOO MANY MALT BALLS!  My neighbors had just gotten home and so my parents allowed me to walk literally next door and get my last prize of the night.  I reloaded my candy to my bag and trudged over.  There were two older kids/young men that were walking on my street and as a naive 7-year old I said hello with my big grin and before I could get to the door the two guys ran right at me, knocked me down and took my candy bag and ran off.  I cried.  I have not liked Halloween since.  Fortunately, that was the closest I have been to being jumped, but still a traumatizing experience, as you can tell being that I am still telling the story 37 years later. But I will be a good dad and will even wear a silly costume in years to come.  

This will be “smoothly transitioned” to a college football article where I rant about something profound, I promise.  Don’t know how really, if I’m being honest, but somehow it will.

To me, Halloween is the Southeastern Conference (SEC) of holidays in my opinion.  And to ruin the point completely, I am not a fan of football conferences, I love my school/team, could care less what the conference does. Now those with extreme bias and those that continue to ride an old, tired narrative probably should stop reading now.  But this will be my .02 correlating College Football teams and my opinions of holidays. 

All too often, sports outlets do these articles that compare ancillary things with sports teams.  I want to try too, especially as I try to get some clout so I can get credentialed at a Clemson home game.  Self-aggrandizing?  Absolutely!  

New Years Day – All of the teams that think that they’ll win “next year.”  Looking at you South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia (may fall off this list this year).  I have been on Twitter during the preseason reading about all of the hopes of otherwise also-ran teams of the past.  All of which believe that THIS IS THE YEAR, only to lose to someone they otherwise shouldn’t.  I have never really liked New Years Day other than watching bowl games, but my hangover really hasn’t allowed me to formally enjoy the day.

Valentine’s Day – Group of 5 undefeated teams – Valentine’s Day is what has been dubbed a “Hallmark Holiday” meaning that it was made up.  Personally, I am ok with Valentine’s Day and my wife does a great job with the presents and we usually have a wonderful night together.  It’s an excuse to enjoy a night with my love.  HOWEVER, it is not a real holiday.  There is no day off, the post office is still working on this “holiday.”  So it’s not real.  A la the Group of 5 tops teams.  This year, Cincinnati may change the narrative, but for all intents and purposes, they’ve not been given an opportunity to compete for a national championship, therefore a fake football team.

Memorial Day – Ohio State – This holiday is near and dear to my heart as a family member of many service men and women and understand the importance of remembering all that have served.  However, my personal thoughts about this wonderful day (there should be more days in my opinion, but this isn’t one of those columns) aside, I am using the wording of the holiday to equate it to Ohio State fans.  Ohio State fans have used 8>3 as a retort to Clemson fans when comparing the two programs.  Here is a list of the National Championship years that the Buckeyes have enjoyed. ‘42; ‘54; ‘57; ‘61; ‘68; ‘70; ‘02; ‘14.  Impressive to have 8.  However, if you’re 44, like myself, you’ve seen 2 in your lifetime.  If you’re the same age and a Clemson fan, you’ve theoretically seen 3.  I was told there would be no math, but I believe 3>2.  I don’t like Ohio State.

Flag Day – PAC XII – Flag Day, another holiday where there is no day off, and it happens to be my parents wedding anniversary, so I do celebrate this holiday more than most.  However, the holiday kind of gets lost in the mix.  Again, a tribute to our nation’s flag which garners a lot of feelings for folks.  Therefore, the Pac 12 is my choice for this holiday.  My experience with Pac 12 fans are minimal, having mentioned it in my previous edition of this mess, but it certainly wasn’t a positive one.  Therefore, they are my equivalent for this holiday.

July 4th – Notre Dame – The pinnacle of the holidays, in my opinion.  The celebration of our great country and remembrance of where we came from.  I put Notre Dame in here not because of their great history, that is not really arguable, however, I used the actual name of the holiday for this correlation.  Independence.  My .02 is that ND will never be what they were in the 80s and early 90s (and 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s for that matter) while they continue to claim that Independence is a good thing for them.  Congratulations Notre Dame fan, you are able to watch your games on NBC, something no other school can say, but hear me out here.  I believe hitching their wagon to a conference will actually help them.  Independence may have been cool when Miami was part of the group, but as long as New Mexico State, Army, UMass and Liberty are in that group, it’s not that cool.  Getting into a conference, whichever one it may be, would actually help lure more athletes to the school.  Say they went to the ACC, SEC or B1G, they would be able to recruit to win conference championships and compete with top notch schools in each.   Playing a national schedule is cool, I guess, but one loss drops this prestigious institution out of national contention, and then what?  What are the kids playing for?  

Labor Day – UCF – Labor Day is a day off from the grind of hard work.  My grandmother went into labor on Labor Day, a phrase that I will say for the rest of my days. But in my definition of the holiday, I’m going more towards the pregnant definition.  UCF was one of those cute babies in 2017.  They were running around the football field, beating everyone in their way including one of the SEC Giants Auburn on their way to an undefeated season.  They even claimed a National Championship as one outlet gave them a share of the title, even though Alabama won the CFP.  But as UCF grows up from that first year of infancy, it’s become a little bit of a terror.  Not a terror as in continuing their winning ways, but one that their fanbase continues to talk about that year but has not been paid attention to.  It is almost as if UCF’s parents had another baby and now UCF, being the older brother, is searching for attention.  

Halloween – SEC Conference Fan – Halloween, as discussed far too much up top, is not my favotire holiday, ergo, the SEC is not my favorite conference.  In fact, I hate conference talk, as I talk about ad nauseum on Sluggo each Wednesday night.  I also stated, or at least I hope I did, that I hate the SEC conference fan.  The guy or gal that thinks because their school is a part of the conference, that they add to it.  Yet, the narrative is shoved down college football fans throats every single year.  Sorry Halloween fans, I am not a part of that cult, and neither a part of the SEC also-ran cult.

Thanksgiving – Clemson – Thanksgiving is my personal favorite holiday.  It’s the most important one for me personally and that is why I am putting my beloved Clemson Tigers in this spot.  You knew they were going to be on this list somewhere.  Well, here they are.  Clemson is my second home.  I love it there. Every time I step foot on that campus, I feel a sense of family.  The people are nice, the sporting events warm my heart regardless of sport, and there really is “something in these hills.”  Thanksgiving to me is getting together with my real family, as many of the Beef clan descend upon my parents home to share a great meal with great company.  But also is a time that I reconnect with my “extended” family of friends with their families as well.  I could (and likely will) write a post about Thanksgiving as it gets closer.  But being my favorite holiday, mixed with Clemson being my favorite place in the world, it was too hard to not put them as my representation of Thanksgiving.

Christmas – Georgia – Christmas is a great holiday as well.  Very special to those with an affinity for religion.  For me, especially with having my son who will, for the first time, really get into the spirit of the holiday.  From the religious aspect to the story of Santa Claus, he is starting to get it.  And for him, at his age the most important part is the gifts that he will get.  And therein lies the correlation to the Georgia Bulldogs.  They are arguably the most talented team in the country this year from top to bottom, but is there a school that gets more gifts than Georgia?  Former five star recruits deciding to transfer to them, very talented recruits from Georgia deciding to attend the school.  They get more gifts than my 3 year old will get this year, especially from the transfer portal.  Now they’ve lost some as well in the past (see: Justin Fields) and even though we’ve yet to see him, extremely talented TE Arik Gilbert will eventually see the field in Athens as well.  And there’s rumors that disgruntled TCU Running back Zach Evans may find his way to Athens as well.  Only time will tell, but it’s good to be a Bulldog fan right now.

New Year’s Eve – South Carolina – kind of like New Years Day where teams think that this year will be the year, South Carolina ends the year as the New Year’s Day of college football teams.  Next year is always going to be the best year.  I equate this correlation to a school that has delusions of grandeur and lack a great deal of self-awareness.  South Carolina’s history is not very good.  They did have a tremendous run in the early 2010s and beat Clemson five straight years.  It was hard to stomach as a Clemson guy.  But outside of that, UofSC has been a complete also-ran in the SEC having close games with fellow bottom dwellers, Mizzou and Vandy.  However, next year is always the calling card of the fanbase.  A sad state of affairs for the boys in the Midlands.  But one that Clemson fans will relish until (if) it turns.

There you have my first attempt at relating things that have little to nothing to do with each other.  In this case, holidays to college football teams/conferences.  I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even laughed a little.  Maybe cringey at times as well, I don’t know.  But the one thing I do know is that I appreciate you reading my weekly rambles, diatribes really.  I enjoy doing them, and hope you enjoy the “short” reads.

With all of that being said.  Go Tigers.  Beat the Seminoles!  I hate Halloween, but hope you enjoy yours!  Be safe!  



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