Welcome to a special online-only Thanksgiving edition of the Pembroke Mafia Football League, that rambling wreck of an exercise in football, friendly rivalry and just plain fooling around.
But first, I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to the dozen or so faithful readers of this column. Here’s hoping your football teams win – unless they’re playing my football teams or you pull for Clemson, Ohio State or Georgia.
Second, the cast of characters may have changed over the years, but the PMFL itself remains at its heart a force for good in a world grown weird.
Trust me, it’s not easy. I blame it largely on the ever-growing number of Buckeye and Clemson fans populating this fair county, and that’s particularly true in South Bryan, which is becoming overrun with those who swear allegiance to those two football factories pretending to be universities.
You ever seen a Clemson fan up close? They have weird lights in their eyes and they worship a giant wombat called Dabo.
In fairness, there are also a large number of Michigan devotees about. You sometimes see them in their blue and yellow sleep pants, sweatshirts and moustaches at Kroger in the middle of the day, buying frozen pierogis and quarts of Mickeys for their tailgate parties.
By the way, here’s some Michigan info you might find interesting. The school was founded in 1817 as Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania. Later, it became the place where Bo Schembechler famously said, “Early is on time and on time is late.”
Taken literally, one could never be early because to be early would be to be on time, and that wouldn’t be early so you wouldn’t be on time you’d be late, which means you’d need to get up earlier to be on time, which would be late, so you’d have to get up earlier to be on time, which would be late.
Eventually, you’d never get to go to bed and you’d always be late.
Bo, of course, was a football coach. They’re wrapped differently.
Take as an example Woody Hayes, the legendary Ohio State coach. He always kind of reminded me of a mean Truman Capote, but the former Buckeyes coach remains a personal hero of mine for one shining moment when, way way back in 1978, he tried to strangle a Clemson football player named Charlie Bauman on the sideline during the Gator Bowl.
Woody didn’t succeed in strangling Bauman, who was much larger and had the sense to be wearing a helmet and shoulder pads, but he did get in a punch and got fired for it the next day.
Us South Carolina Gamecock fans wanted to throw old Woody a parade after that, and he remains for some of older USC fans a sort of minor saint.
Now, back to the PMFL.
Every week, I introduce our members in one way or the other. This week, since I have unlimited space due to the internet, I figured I’d go long and tell you readers what I am thankful for about each of them.
I’ll start with B.J. Clark, our CEO. Clark is retired Navy and a big cheese in the Pembroke American Legion Post. I’m thankful B.J. doesn’t wander around Pembroke naked. He’s been tempted, he told me.
Up next is assistant CEO Ernie Mitchell, who is also retired Navy and a big shot in the Pembroke American Legion. Ernie, who would look like Papa Smurf if he were blue and wore diapers, is an avid fisherman and sunscreen activist. I am thankful he also doesn’t wander around Pembroke naked. I hear he’s considering it.
Then there’s Bryan County District 1 Commissioner Noah Covington. Noah is our political commissar and an aspiring governor himself. He’s already working with Pembroke Advanced Communications on the technology to take over the state’s voting machines and get out the vote for Noah, the King of the North and the man who plans on Making North Bryan Great Again. I’m really, really, really thankful Noah doesn’t wander around Pembroke naked. He might get mistaken for a mammal.
Then we have founding member and raconteur Mike Clark. Mike is our tractor parts czar and rapper. If you need a tractor part or someone to rap at your birthday party, Vanilla Mike can hook you up. I’m thankful I don’t need tractor parts and I’m too old to do the Dougie.
Up next is Alex Floyd, Pembroke’s up and coming city administrator, a member of Bryan County Planning Commission and one oft rumored to be a near-future county commission chairman.
Alex is the official PMFL liaison with the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Impact Fee Aid Association, in case we need a ruling on a zoning ordinance or planned unit development in PMFL jurisdiction. In this case, Alex is the one who’s thankful. “I’m thankful for the most dysfunctional family I know: the Pembroke Football Mafia League,” he said.
Up next is Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor. Ben is probably the most powerful person in Bryan County not named Noah Covington. A wee man, as the Scottish say, Ben’s lack of physical stature and love of colorful male hosiery hides a ruthlessly efficient government expert who serves as our muscle when the PMFL wants someone to go sleep with the fishes.
I am thankful Ben does not want me to go sleep with the fishes yet. I have nightmares about Ben hitting me with one of those rubber balls attached to a rubber band attached to a wooden paddle. We used to call them whacky-bats. I don’t know what they call them now, maybe paddleballs, but whatever they are I hear Ben uses them in negotiations over service delivery strategy.
And then we have Dawnne Greene, Richmond Hill City Clerk. A New Englander, Dawnne is a diehard Patriots fan. If it were up to her, they’d re-name the Richmond Hill City Center after Bill Belichick and put a bar and grill upstairs called Gronk’s Grotto. I’m thankful Dawnne is teaching us all how to pick football games. She’s kicking everybody’s butt except for Ben.
Up next is Mark Rogerson, the PMFL’s resident college student. Mark, the PMFL’s Advanced Placement Coordinator, is in charge of getting us fake IDs so we can buy beer. I’m thankful Mark is our friend.
Also in the PMFL is Dr. Trey Robertson, assistant superintendent with Bryan County Schools. Trey’s the PMFL’s advocate for better education. We in the PMFL believe it starts with better children. I’m thankful Trey agrees.
Then there’s the Rev. Brad Butler, the PMFL’s spiritual advisor. A former basketball standout at Dacula High, Butler models his hair and his game after Pete Maravich. I’m thankful old Pistol St. Pete hasn’t had me excommunicated yet.
To make sure the press is represented we have the one and only Ted O’Neil, probably the best journalist in whatever room you’re in at the moment. Ted’s our Michigan State Chapter president. I’m thankful he, like me, doesn’t like Michigan or Ohio State.
Then, there’s me. The most uneditor-like editor ever to edit a newspaper into submission. I’m thankful I get to do this. I just wish I got paid the way lawyers used to get paid. That’s by the word, which explains why they take 42 words to say you owe money.
On to the standings.
In first is Dawnne, who is threatening to take this thing from wire to wire. She only has 41 misses. Ben is catching up, however. He’s got 43 misses so far. This could get fun, but watch out for the whacky bat. And Ben’s socks. They could make a unicorn giggle.
Mark and Ted have 47 are tied for third. Mike is in fourth with 48 misses. Ernie has 49 misses and is in fifth. Trey, Brad and B.J. are in sixth with 52 misses each. Alex is in seventh with 53 misses, Noah’s in eighth with 60 misses and I’m catching up to him with 61 misses.
This week’s games.
Mississippi State vs. Mississippi: It’s called the Egg Bowl, for some reason. Everybody’s taking Mississippi State because of Nick Fitzgerald, the former RHHS quarterback and a very large human for a quarterback. I’m picking Ole Miss because of Archie Manning.
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech: Mike, Mark, Trey, Dawnne and Ernie pick the Cavaliers. The rest of us roll with the Hokies. After all, it’s Turkey Day week and a Hokie is a giant turkey that can say the alphabet.
Navy vs. Tulane: Mark, Dawnne, Trey, Ben and Ernie pick Tulane. B.J. is ready to keelhaul Ernie for picking against Navy, but honestly, B.J., once they’re grown and out of the house you just got to let them make their own mistakes.
Notre Dame vs. USC-W: Me and the King of the North pick the Trojans in an upset. Everybody else selects Notre Dame. B.J. says he thinks Noah’s pick proves he might’ve been King of Height Ashbury at one point in his career.
Georgia Tech vs. Georgia: Everybody takes UGA but me and Trey. I’d pick Lumpy Rutherford’s dad before I took the Dawggies.
Georgia Southern vs. Georgia State: I pick Georgia State, everybody else is back on the Iggles bandwagon. B.J.’s going to the game, too. “Have you seen the seating diagram of how they put the football field in there, it sucks just like they do,” he said. Now that’s some trash talk.
Michigan vs. Ohio State: B.J. B.J.’s ex-friend and shipmate Ernie, Ben Dawnne and Ted, go with Ohio State, everybody else is riding with Michigan. I’m only taking Michigan because Jim Harbaugh is a character. That, and I have a grudging respect for those helmets.
Auburn vs. Alabama; B.J. takes Awwwbern, his favorite team not named Georgia Southern. I’m trying to catch Noah, so I’m going with Bama along with everybody else.
Troy vs. Appy: Mike, Trey and Alex take the Trojans. B.J. offers an off color comment, so he must be taking supplements or something.
Florida vs. FSU: The Rev. Brad picks the Noles, nobody else goes that far, not even the turncoat Ernie, a Free Shoes University fan if ever there was one. Times are tough in Tallahassee land.
LSU vs. Texas A&M: B.J. and the Rev. Brad take the Aggies. The rest of us go with Ed Orgeron’s Cajun cooking.
Oklahoma vs. West Virginia: B.J., Mike, Mark, Dawnne and Ben select the Sooners. Everybody else picks East Ohio.
Not surprisingly, the South Carolina at Clemson game didn’t make the cut this week, since the Gamecocks are probably 300 point underdogs.
But I offer you this guarantee in writing right now. South Carolina will win or give it a great try. If they don’t, I’ll eat a food I really, really, super really don’t like. I’m thinking bait squid or seaweed snacks. Mostly seaweed snacks.