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Something to Chew On
by Jim Alderson, 9/6/00

What a day last Saturday. By now, many, such as every last person parked in the RV section of the Cage last Saturday, are aware that I did indeed bite off more than I could chew in the form of a piece of rare roast beef and it became lodged in my throat, creating a rather embarrassing spectacle that, were it not for the quick thinking of someone I do not remember who is much better versed in the Heimlich Maneuver than I, would have me on ice somewhere rather than dictating these words into my computer. Whoever you were, I appreciate it more than any words my limited brain can come up with can express.

I also appreciate all of the people who came by to inquire as to my condition and offer encouragement (apparently I was heard for miles around), the quick response of the Blacksburg Rescue Squad who came by and looked me over very well before determining that although I had, for some reason, elevated blood pressure, I was in shape to head to the game, and a special thanks is given to Mr. Jeffersonís football team for showing their heart-felt sympathy to my plight by choking every bit as much as I.

Following the forced expulsion of the offending piece of meat, which one of our tailgating dogs Turbo caught as it flew through the air with the ease and aplomb of Andre Davis snatching a Vick bomb, my tailgating companions seemed nearly as relieved as I, especially my brother Tom, who had become quite concerned while observing me gagging and becoming blue in the face that as my next of kin the time necessary to process the attending paperwork to get me stashed away in the local morgue would cause him to miss the kickoff.

There are several lessons to be learned here, other than the obvious, of course, which is donít be such an idiot and attempt to swallow so much at one time. I would also recommend eating after the game so any choking death would not cause you to miss any of the action, although even now, twenty-four hours after the episode, I have not had the slightest desire to consume any more food and am contemplating being fed intravenously for the rest of my days. At the very least, I will be bringing a clear broth to the next game. I would also offer the handy tip that if you find yourself surviving this sort of thing, several belts of Wild Turkey, although it burns like a female dog on the way down a red and raw throat, does a fine job of quelling anxiety and panic and will create a convivial situation for heading on into the stadium. It worked like a charm for me.

I made it into the stadium with time to spare, and after seven days of being subjected to lightning, a torrential downpour, an inner ear infection and finally strangulation got to see some Tech football. Those still griping about the BCA game can take it from me that nearly making oneís exit from the stadium and everywhere else through the macabre method of choking to death on a piece of red meat at a Tech tailgate (a rather ironic way to check out, to be sure) sure makes last Sunday night seem like a hoot.

The game itself, although just a tad anti-climatic, to me, anyway, went pretty much as most suspected it would. We have an offense that will light up that new video board like the lights flashing on that rescue vehicle as it sped into the Cage, and a defense with a ton of new and very talented players that will develop into a very good unit over time, which, unfortunately, they donít have with the high-powered offense of ECU on the Thursday night horizon. It is highly doubtful a defense this young will be an Orange Bowl-contending one this year, but it should be a very good unit over the next couple of seasons. Most Saturday afternoons and evenings and the occasional Thursday night are going to be much more enjoyable than my most recent Saturday morning.

So we are into a new season, one that, barring a collapse of Hooian proportions will have us in an eight straight bowl. Which bowl remains to be seen, but the fun of playing the games to find out awaits us. Letís all cheer for Tech, take small bites, enjoy Vick's exploits and remember to chew your food thoroughly. And, at the next tailgate, Iíll be the guy with the soup.

Jim Alderson, best known for his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


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