Gameday is almost upon us, and numerous Bulldog fans are speculating about the outcome of the game. I've never been a score-predicter myself because I'm almost always wrong, but my approach to this and every other big game is always the same: I assume that we're going to lose it because that's what we do in big games--especially big games against Florida. I don't really care about statistics and numbers and all that stuff; I've had no revelation, but I know the Dawgs, I know the way the Dawgs play against the Gators, and I watched a crummy Wildcat offense gash our soft, squishy D wide open. We could win, but I'll never truly believe it'll happen unless it does.
I said all that because the tone of "Beodawg" is wildly optimistic. Some might call me foolish for writing such a thing in the face of my doubts, but epics are not written to produce an accurate historical record; they are meant to instruct, to inspire, and to show us how to live. So no, I don't expect to win tomorrow, but maybe there's a Beodawg out there who will step up, provide a spark, and lead the team to victory. If not--well, it's not like that's not status quo, right? Once again, from Seamus Heaney's translation:
Beodawg realized that Gator had plotted all week
from the doom of the Cocks until darkness gathered
again over the South ere the rising of the sun
on the Day of Saturn. Beodawg awoke
on the morn of the epic clash ‘tween good and evil
and departed then with his Bulldogs.
The King of Defense (as Gator learned)
had posted a back-spy
who was a match for Gator, a guard against touchdowns,
who would show special attention to Gator's moves.
Beodawg tightened his straps and chest pads,
put on his helmet, and handed his attendant
the plain white towel, the wiper of sweaty hands,
ordering him to keep the equipment ready.
And before the first snap of first down, Beodawg,
that prince of Bulldogs, proudly asserted,
"When it comes to football, I count myself
as dangerous any day as Gator.
So it won't be a covering wedge I'll wield
to keep him trapped, though likely I could.
He has no idea of the arts of pass,
and Sandy's wrath shall force him to use against me
his wild scampers. A loaded box, therefore,
will win this night: in the box, he shall face me
if face me he dares. As with the strength of one,
all will prevail; we will crush the enemy
and come through in triumph and in gladness."
Then out on the field came the Bulldog-stalker,
loutish and foul in its blue and orange armor.
The defenders were slack, sluggish in their positions,
all except one; it was widely understood
that as long as Dawgs did sleep-walk,
the fiend would stomp them and exile them
to the Outback of the Bay of Tampa.
Beodawg, however, was in a fighting mood,
eager and on edge, spoiling for action.
Gator came greedily loping down the field,
hunting for prey in the backfield.
Then his rage boiled over, and he ripped
the line of the defenders, pacing the length
of the painted field with his loathsome tread,
while a sickly orange light, flame more than light,
flared from his eyes. And his glee was demonic,
picturing the mayhem: before evening,
he would rip points from yards and humiliate them,
feed on their flesh; but his fate that night
was due to change, his days of ravening
had come to an end.
The demonic Gator discovered himself
in a handgrip harder than anything
he had ever encountered in any game
on the slate of this year. Every bone in his body
jarred and ground, but he could not escape.
Gator was desperate to flee the field and hide
with his evil kindred, for in all his days
he had never been clamped or crushed like this.
Then the Bulldogs' trusty defenders awakened,
sprang out of their stances, and got firm holds.
Fingers were bursting, Gator back-tracking,
the Dawgs overpowering the dread of the land.
The rushing power of Gator's offense weakened;
it resulted in no trip to Beodawg's endzone.
And now the stadium twisted and crumbled
as Beodawg harrowed Gator on the field.
The two East contenders crashed into each other,
the Bulldogs smashing through Gator's defenses,
braced with the best of O-line's work
in the trenches. The story goes
that as the pair struggled, Dawg benches were emptied
and ran up the score, extra points and all.
Then an extraordinary wail arose, and bewildered angst
came over Gator's fans. All Dawg fans felt it
who heard the cry as it echoed ‘round the arena,
an accursed scream and cry of catastrophe,
the howl of the loser, the lament of the jorted
keening their wounds. They were overwhelmed,
beaten up good by the man and the team
that were foremost and strongest in the ranks of the East.
Then he who had harrowed the hearts of Dawgs
with despair and agony in former autumns
found that his bodily powers failed him.
Beodawg's kinsmen kept Gator helplessly
locked in a death grip; as long as either lived,
he was hateful to the other. Gator's whole side
was in pain; a tremendous wound
appeared on his shoulder as in that one autumn of old.
Sinews split and bone-lappings burst. Beodawg was granted
the glory of winning; Gator was driven back to the swamp,
fatally hurt, to his desolate lair.
Then evening came, and many a Bulldog fan
gathered, as I've heard, around Jackson's Ville
and the Isle of Saint Simon, and beer flowed freely in jubilation.
Beodawg's doings were praised over and over again.
Nowhere, they said, in North or South
did any man inspire such joy and destruction of property
or inspire such well-fashioned lines entwined
as Beodawg, the Bulldog warrior prince.
In honor of the last day of Hate Week before the game, here are 3 Princess Bride captioned pictures: