Wide Right: "I Do"
by Jeff Cockey, 10/16/03

Last weekend could have very well been the greatest sports weekend of the year. Oklahoma played Texas. Ohio State was finally exposed as a Top 15 team (at best). Need I say anything about Fla. State vs. Miami and the implications that game had on VT's BCS hopes? Our Hokies played the Big Orange in a conference battle that had, as of late, made us look a little like the Chantilly Vikings (a youth association football team I played for in elementary school Ė we lost, a lot). And to top it all off, Pedro took the mound against Lucifer in game three of one of the most improbable Red Sox seasons ever. Being a Boston resident, I admittedly leaped onto, if not drove, the Beantown bandwagon Ė this game for the ages capped the best weekend of college football to date.

Could I have been more excited for this past Saturday? Could I have? Well, I will tell you a little story. Years ago, I was born, many things happened Ė yada yada yada Ė and then on October 11, 2003, I had to be at a family wedding in Michigan. Check your calendar, that was this past Saturday. To top it all off, the bride is a Yankees fan. I feel ill.

I have nothing against people getting married. Most everyone gets married. True sports fans, however, realize that September through the first week in January is off-limits. Itís like joking about a friendís sister. You can crack on dads and brothers, an occasional mom joke is even allowed if used appropriately, but under no circumstances are sisters to come into play. Itís just an unwritten rule . . . like the fact that you donít schedule weddings in the fall. That beautiful 60-75 degree weather, the bountiful colors so graciously provided by the surrounding trees, and the wonderful sounds and smells that float through the air Ė these things are not for us to enjoy . . . they are for the athletes playing the games to enjoy. And the games are for us to enjoy.

Scheduling a wedding on a great sports weekend upsets natureís balance. You canít do that. Nature is not to be messed with. Havenít you seen those Discovery Channel specials where tornados and hurricanes destroy peaceful trailer parks for what appears to be absolutely no reason? Itís because someone in that neighborhood got married during a great college football weekend. Nature knows!

So with the above in mind, I think that it is high time someone laid down some marriage ground rules. (Why have these not been put in writing yet? Someone dropped the ball on this one in a big way.) While these rules were not implemented in time to save me several phone calls to my buddy Bog this past weekend, all of which went something like this: "Dude, itís Cockey again, just tell me good news." Hopefully these rules will make our future, and those of our childrenís children, a better place to live. Treat them as any true fan of the game would and your neighborhood will be spared from Natureís wrath Ö of course unless, it is not.

If in fact you absolutely can not schedule your wedding during the summer and you are not able to get that oh-so-perfect reception hall the weekend that the Hokies are at rest, I give you the following working outline of things you must offer or keep in mind:

  • An open bar. Not a beer and wine bar. Not a bourbonĖless bar. Not a cash bar. But a completely stocked, top shelf, open bar. It is the only correct thing to do since you are ruining an otherwise perfect Saturday for those attending.
  • There is no need to drag out the reception. I have actually been to some that lasted over four hours. Completely unnecessary. It shows people that the only person you care about that day is yourself. What about the guys in the maroon and orange, and the sweat and tears they are exerting while you eat cake and sip champagne? At this point, you (the guest) should reconsider whether or not these people are close enough friends to even justify attending.
  • Finally, you must hold the reception somewhere that houses a television set. It should be color, cable-ready, and at least 27 inches. This would be a nice touch to show your appreciation to those in attendance for suffering through yet another off-key rendition of Ave Maria. You should expect the TV to be viewed on a pretty consistent basis throughout the reception with the occasional look away to raise glasses when you toast each other and to see the cake-in-the-face thing. But donít expect much more; really, you are already getting quite a bit.

As I am sure many of you can relate, Iíve attended quite a few weddings in my day. I have already lived through that year Ė you know, the year when it seems all of your good friends Ė and some people you donít really care about who met you at so and soís party and you happened to be "on" that day so they would just love for you to attend their wedding and be oh so charming and witty again Ė get married. Yeah, weíve all had that year already. That year, I missed nearly every televised Hokie game and donned more rented tuxedos than I care to remember.

So why, why on earth should I have to do it again? By the way, did I mention that that year happened to be when we beat the Cuse 62-0? Yep, the same year that Vick did his, "Hey look at me. I am so much better than you on every level" scrambling play down the sideline against WVU to secure our trip to the national championship. You got it, not only did my friends choose to get married during football season but they did it in í99 (or as I like to call it, the year God smiled on Hokie nation and kicked me right in the Chiclets).

So this past Saturday, as I relied on inter-ceremonial text messaging to keep me up to speed on the thrashing our Hokies were delivering, I found my mind wandering toward the coming reception and the drowning of my sorrows deep in a bottle of Makers. My wife, God bless her kind heart, hadnít found it in her to tell me that the reception I was so longing for, was dry. Dry?

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm just a Hokie fan. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your modern-day wedding reception terminology frightens and confuses me. I don't know! My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts.

So there I sat, trapped in a conversation about what they would have done differently if it were their wedding with four people I would never see again. In front of me, twelve-year-old girls jumping up and down to "Who Let the Dogs Out" and Justin Timberlake, while twelve-year-old boys huddled in one corner pointing and giggling like a collective hormonal Clearasil commercial.

I had no Bourbon. No BoSox, and worse, no Hokies. Not even a cameo from those crazy Rutgers cannon guys. But the saving grace came between contemplating which of my eyes to gouge first with my cake fork and how OJ and ginger ale, the closest thing I could get my hands on to the taste of anything alcoholic, just wasnít cutting it Ö the sweetest text message a Hokie fan can receive. It read simply this: 51-7.

I know that I am not the only one out there with stories like this . . . [email protected]


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