Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Akron Again

In a game that will slide well below the national radar, Kent will host Akron this afternoon.  This is no regular meaningless college football game friends.  No, The Wagon Wheel is at stake.  The Wagon Wheel is a poorly constructed trophy that looks like it came off the wall at a Bonanza Steak House and is given to the winner of this dubious contest.  I'm not sure why it is a wagon wheel, as I cannot confirm that any covered wagons lumbered into NE Ohio since Kent was formed as a teacher's college in 1910.  I don't even remember seeing any clumsy murals painted in the Kent/Akron area portraying rugged settlers bouncing across NE Ohio in wagons.  I always assumed that everyone arrived in the area in rusty midsized American automobiles.

The game is probably important to the guys playing it as the majority of them went to area schools and have probably played each other since their bygone "travel football" years.  I don't think it matters to the students.  Most of the students of these schools went home to their Mom's house and are going to watch the Ohio State game at BW-3 with the mooks they went to high school with instead of going to their actual school's game.  Those border wars like Ohio St v Michigan, West Vg v Pitt, Florida v Florida St have some teeth to them.  Kent v Akron is just a couple of second rate schools with little football tradition playing in a half empty stadium.  There's no real "Us V Them" at play.  In fact, we used to drive from Kent to the Akron bars when we were feeling rather stale with going to the same three bars in Kent.  We recognized these fellow C students as our own.

I am not sure why it seemed adventurous to travel to Akron to drink Bud Light draft from plastic cups.  There was a bar circuit there like any other campus.  You started at The Splash.  This horrible little dive couldn't be referred to as "refreshing" with a straight face, and I don't recall them having any beach decor.  If they did, it would have been sad little fishing nets and rum posters.  Maybe a Corona sign.  After you had finished looking for non existent exotic Akron girls, you would walk a block down the street to The Sun.  Also oddly named, The Sun was another bleak beer hall with more ugly people that looked pretty much like you did.  The Sun was always very dark inside as I recall, and the bathrooms were where hope went to die.

The way to finish up the evening was at The Townhouse.  This was always a mistake.  Frankly, the entire trip to Akron was usually a mistake.  I am not sure why I thought that I would appear debonair and sophisticated in Akron because I went to a commuter college twenty minutes up the road.  If the ladies at Kent didn't find me compelling, there was little reason to believe that the girls I was leering at in Akron would either.  By the time you threw in the towel and went to The Townhouse, you usually were intoxicated enough to believe that you would stumble into The One as she awkwardly danced to "Jungle Love" or some shitty Prince song.  Yes, your missing puzzle piece would look across the room and declare, "Ye Gods!  That sloppy boy in the stonewashed jeans and stained shirt!  Where has he been all my life!  Let me go engage with him and we will begin our life of bliss!"  Everyone finds their "one" somewhere, but nobody ever found them at The Townhouse in Akron.

What would actually happen is you would struggle to get a beer from the dismissive bartender, stand someplace where other desperate dudes would bump into you, and watch as an inevitable fight would start nearby.  I don't ever remember being in that place and not seeing a fight break out.  Of course, I was always in there at 1am and the room was filled with drunk guys that knew in their hearts that another evening had been squandered.   There would be no dream girl, only a punch in the face from a stranger.  Good times in Akron.

I still have that bitterness about Akron U.  I know Kent isn't as good as that win at Rutgers last week.  Hell, that QB kid from Rutgers threw an interception on his drive over to the stadium.  What did they have?  Eight turnovers?  How did Kent not drop 70 points on them?  The good news is Akron has fulfilled their promise to be absolutely awful.  Kent has to give them 19 points, but I see little reason to believe why Kent won't dominate those clowns.  They have to be riding sky high, and in a rivalry game like this it can go two ways:  1)  Records go out the windows and the teams slug it out in a close one or 2) The better team piles on so they can talk shit around the neighborhood for the next year.  I think it will be the latter.  Take Kent -19.

Current record vs spread:  6-7


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