Though many other fanbases currently have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, we Vanderbilt fans don’t have heads. We have hets. And since Women’s Bowling season ended, they have been all but permanently wet. Lo, though some of them will gather around the tree and exchange presents in two days—or light the menorah from December 7th to 15th this year for our Jewish friends—us Commodores must wear our Anchors of Gold around our hets, like Coleridge’s Albatross, gather ‘round the aluminum pole, and tell each other all the ways our teams have let us down, driven us to drink, and infuriated us in myriad and torturous ways.
As I rained blows upon the horrors of this year in Vanderbilt athletics, I realized there had to be another way...
The Airing of Grievances
1) Basketball: You, Stackhouse. My son tells me your shooty hoops teams stinks! You couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe—I’ve lost my train of thought. In your five years as the shiny, perpetually aggrieved head of the Men’s Basketball program, you have lost the streak, not once made the NCAA Tournament, and changed your roster so often that not a damn one of us knows who the hell is out there anymore!
Oh, and as for the players we can name. Ty Lawrence puts us in a months long will she or won’t she bind, having NIL dalliances with other programs, only to get our various Ingrams, Chili Heiresses, and San Antonio Taco Companies to empty their pockets to line Ty’s... for this??? This 12 points per game with a 36.8% field goal percentage no-effort season???
To paraphrase a great man, “How could you give 12 million dollars to
Hideki Irabu Tyrin Lawrence?!?!”
...but back to you, Stackhouse. You said in the beginning of the year that we were going to run up the score against teams in our out of conference schedule. That even up 20 points, you couldn’t empty your bench. Well, not only are we not blowing out our weaker opponents, we’re 4-7 with losses to Presbyterian, San Fransisco, and Western Carolina??? Today, we get to go to Memphis and get the crap kicked out of us. Then, for the final game before conference play, it would shock none of us if freaking Dartmouth took us down with a team made up exclusively of Squash players and Coxswains.
...and you have the temerity to talk of not emptying the bench in the ends of games when you’re still starting walk-ons indiscriminately?!?!?!
You have been a grave disappointment to all of us, made all the worse by your narcissistic inability to ever be accountable for any of this. You’re making the “please clap” guy look good by comparison, and we were so annoyed with his nonsense that we threw him in the Grand Canyon. You are making your mother very upset. Sit down and pass the mashed potatoes.
2) Football: Oh, and don’t think I’m just going to lay into one bald coach without shining up the dome of another! You, Clark Lea! You couldn’t recognize and utilize good talent if you had a hot date with a babe—I’ve lost my train of thought.
You had the best WR Corp in Vanderbilt history, and even though your play-calls and coaching was for shit, at least the Swann to Shepard connection was getting two TDs per game, and recruiting gem London Humphries was looking like a future star. Even Jayden McGowan could shake loose the entire opponent’s defense if you got him the ball in space! Did you? No, your NoHo Hank looking ass scrapped what could have been a high powered passing offense for one that “put us in a position to punt.”
PUT US IN A POSITION TO PUNT?!?!?!
Oh, and not only did you cause the most talented QB and WRs to all run away from your team, the guy you spent all your NIL money to bring in to fix it all is just Utah’s Mike Wright! You had a Mike Wright, but you didn’t want him. Now you spend another Hideki Irabu contract worth of coin on Mormon Mike Wright???
Why are we even spending these untold hundreds of millions renovating your stadium???
You’re making us all get nostalgic for Derek Mason! You are a great disappointment to us all. Sit down and pass the boxed wine and turkey.
3) The NCAA: And now as Festivus rolls on, we come to the Feats of Strength. This year, the honor goes to NCAA President Charlie Baker. Your organization makes the FIFA Council look like Habitat for Humanity. You feckless, castrated, amoral turds-in-suits couldn’t stop college sports from turning into an anarcho-capitalist cartel with never-ending free agency where no fans even knows who’s on the team from year to year if you had a hot date with a babe—I’ve lost my train of thought.
It was bad enough when you had football bagmen slipping cash into McDonalds bags so the Franzia-stained underpants of the School to the East could feel like ‘98 until they play an actual team, like Georgia or Alabama, every year. You used to cut off SMU-type programs at the knees, but now? Now, you encourage it! You’ve got coaches out there bitching and moaning to their fans that if they want a better team, they all have to become big money boosters, but do it all good and legal-like...
You have taken the thing we loved, and corrupted it to the point where we wonder if we can even support it any more. SERENITY NOW!!!
4) Jeff Green: TRAVELED!!!
A Donation Has Been Made in Your Name to The Human Fund
1) Tim Corbin: Never leave us. Even if the NCAA has allowed the Chuggers and Bayou Bengals of the world to assemble paid mercenary teams of 36 year old sophomores, we need you to teach these kids how to brush their teeth, oil their mitts, do their mid-inning calisthenics, bore holes through the skulls of opposing hitters with the Carson Fulmer Laser Death Stare (tm), grow hair like Dansby “The Mansby” Swanson, and steal all the bases like Enrique Shockwave.
2) Maggie Corbin: All of the above, as we know you actually run the show.
3) The Women’s Bowling Team: Speaking of teams with multiple titles, you queens of the 300 game earned your THIRD National Title this April, heroically battling back from being down 3 games to 1 to The Arkansas State Lady Red Wolves. You may eat all the bowling alley nachos you can stomach on us (provided the Assistant Manager takes Human Fund Donations as payment once he finished spraying down all the rented shoes).
4) Shea “Queen” Ralph: You took over a women’s shooty hoops team that was as moribund as the Stackhouse Dores are right now, only they had like maybe three players still on the roster, and righted the ship. Though somehow still unranked, your 2023-2024 Lady Dores are 11-1 (7-0 Home), with their lone loss an 8 pt one to the #3 team in the freaking country. You’re going to take this team to the tourney this year, and then be a mainstay in the Madness of March for years to come. With just the Fairleigh Dickinson Lady Dickinsons and Radford remaining on the OOC schedule, a 13-1 record entering conference play is very much attainable.
5) Parlagi: No one knows who you are, why you are, or even how you are, but we always know where you are—on the campus of an NAIA school for a mid-week baseball game and/or streaming The Sweet Briar Vixens Powder Puff Football games for some reason. Your comic sensibilities and delightful weirdness brightens our days.
6) All But One of the Rest of Anchor Of Gold’s Readership and Commentarat: Though Spring comes every year, and with it the promise of Baseball and Women’s Bowling glory, the Fall and Winter seasons in Vandy Land are as if some demon conjured up a punishment borrowing from both the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and The Myth of Sisyphus, you stay with us to warm our souls with the shared gallows humor of a gaggle of sentenced-to-death eminent thinkers like Socrates and Boethius. We, the writers at Anchor of Gold are both your therapists and your patients; your Virgilian guides and your fainting-at-the-horror-of-it-all Dantes; your maintainers of just how much Walsh sucked (Walsh, you suck!) and your chroniclers of the Epic of Skuchas-mesh.
7) Dore on the Plains: No one is quite sure why you subject yourself to rewatching every Vanderbilt football game and then writing about it, but you do it nonetheless. Note that you are not the “but one” referenced above.
...and remember, none of this ends until one of you pins me. Drink up, but with your mouths, as we are not the The Hills Have Eyes folk to the East.