Noon — I turn on the radio as my family, my girlfriend and I drive to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for Thanksgiving. The signal is strong. This is a good sign, but after all, South Carolina is playing the Citadel and we aren’t going to lose.
12:05 p.m. — We go three-and-out immediately. Swell. The Citadel scores on its second play. 7-0, them. I remind everyone in the car that we are terrible. Dad does the same.
12:20 p.m. — We settle for a field goal. 7-3. I am annoyed. The signal on the radio goes out. We switch stations. It’s the Citadel station. Fantastic.
12:45 p.m. — They score another touchdown. 14-3. Dad remarks that he thinks their tailback (who just scored) played against me in our tiny, private high school league back in the day. I check their web page. He’s right. Cool.
1:10 p.m. — We kick another two field goals (because of course we do) and trail 14-9 at the half. I try to laugh off the situation, but everyone in the car senses by the tone of my voice that I don’t think it is funny.
1:55 p.m. — We finally score, mainly from sheer dumb luck, but we all agree that we will take it. We lead 16-14. Radio signal ceases to exist as we enter the mountains. Twitter becomes our main informant.
2:15 p.m. — It is officially the fourth quarter. The game is too close for my liking. Twitter is spotty, which matches our offense.
2:30 p.m. — They kick a field goal and lead 17-16. I ask everyone in the car if this garbage is a joke. Tension is palpable. I am officially worried.
2:43 p.m. — We score again. I thank God several times. We then miss the two-point conversion. 22-17, us. I’m annoyed again, but they’ll fade now.
2:45 p.m. — They don’t fade, they score. 23-22, Citadel. I remind everyone that I don’t care anymore and that I hate my life. I go back to madly refreshing Twitter (because secretly I do care).
3:00 p.m. — 4th and 1. We go for it. We don’t get it. Is this really happening? The realization begins to set in. We’re going to lose to the Citadel. I’m frightening the other passengers.
3:12 p.m. — We somehow get the ball back. Maybe we won’t lose, I tell the car.
3:15 p.m. — It’s already fourth down. I tell the car that we are, in fact, going to lose.
3:15 p.m. —We score a miracle 90-yard touchdown.
3:15 p.m. — It gets called back for holding. Dad laughs. I bury my face in my pillow. My life moves in slow motion momentarily as colors fade and time stops. We are going to lose to the Citadel.
3:16 p.m. — We lose to the Citadel.