Post two of "Enhance Your Experience", a.k.a. "me taking moneys to write things about how technology aids sports because there is a company willing to pay me to do that and I ain't gonna turn down free cash because I'm a college student and need moneys to pay for the things I need."
Anyway, this is an ode to the video game that guided me through the two weeks before freshman year, and why it makes college football awesome.
Every NU student is aware of the September lull. You just got through senior year of high school, so you're feeling like the man. Prom! Graduation! You spend that whole summer feeling like a college kid. Hanging out with your high school friends, feeling like a big shot.
But as college approaches, things start to get real. You have to pick out a dorm, and then find out that Northwestern didn't want you to live in any of the dorms you requested. Then you have to find out that your roommate is a insular, meticulous workaholic who frowns on staying up past 10:15 and doesn't like people who partake in illegal activities.
Then, starting in mid-August, one by one, your friends start leaving. First, it's just the one guy. Everybody gets real nostalgic about him leaving, you throw a party where everybody says goodbye to him - his school starts so early! Man! So sick that he gets to go to college so early! Then it's a few more. It's a slow trickle. One by one. The amount of people at the parties saying goodbye dwindles.
By September 1st, it's just the Northwestern kids hanging out. Fall of 2008, there were five of us from my high school, chilling out in a seemingly empty city. Facebook was blowing up with all our friends being friends with 18 new people and all of their photos, new profile pics and whatnot, and we were just sitting at home, knowing we still had two weeks before college.
Luckily, we had an Xbox and NCAA Football.
NCAA Football 09 was a terrible terrible football game. I know this because a post route from CJ Bacher to Eric Peterman worked on every single play, regardless of the difficulty level we set it to.
But for a few days in the most boring, intimidating two-week stretch a high school senior/rising freshman in college can imagine, NCAA Football brought us to Northwestern a few days early.
We started a dynasty.
NCAA Football doesn't have player names, so, when you create a dynasty, it offers to input fake player names. I have forgotten all of these names except for one.
The breakout star of the team was, of course, fullback Mark Woodsum, who I had never heard of at the time, but was well aware that his NCAA Football created name was Tim Lovelady. Lovelady played near the goal line with a tenacity the likes of which we had never seen, mainly because my goal line football game strategy is always a play action pass to the fullback running a flat route. Woodsum scored at least 15 touchdowns in this exact manner over the course of the one season we played, and after each individual touchdown, he had the same exact touchdown celebration, which was him doing the Heisman pose. This is hilarious, because the odds of a Northwestern fullback winning the Heisman trophy are immeasurably low. But he did it every time. No flips, no celebrating with the mascot, just Heisman poses, even when running up the score against like Southern Illinois.
We went 13-0, winning the Rose Bowl on a last-second end zone interception by, like, Justan Vaughn.
I might be the only person who has ever had this experience. NCAA Football 09 is not a current factor in my life, nor has it been since September 2008. But I've been waiting to thank somebody for helping me pass the time during the two weeks between when most of our friends left for college and when we left for college.
And thanks to Tim Lovelady. Someday, good sir, you will get that Heisman.