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Undercover Barner: Holiday Happenings

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This week’s Undercover Barner has enjoyed the break from high blood pressure.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Christmas falling on a Monday this year really threw a wrench in my whole relaxation plan. The holiday itself, though magical and joyous, often feels like a marathon. RUN. SMILE. EAT. MAKE MEMORIES. QUICK. SMILE. SOAK IT ALL IN. EAT MORE. RUSH. SMILE. By the time you can actually slow down to take a breath, the day is practically over. The day *AFTER* Christmas is when the true relaxation happens. And the good sales. Unfortunately, due to some careless calendaring by God or the Romans or whatever, the day after Christmas is a work day for a lot of us. Or at least for me. Since misery loves company, I’m hoping a lot of you are grumpy today, too.

Even if you are snuggled on your couch in your comfy pants*, I hope you’ve enjoyed the holiday season and the last few weeks free of any real football stress. Since it’s a work day and back to business as usual around here, let’s talk about what we’ve been up to during the break and look forward to January 1, 2018. But, like, in GIF form:

Venturing Out of Doors

If you’re not lucky enough to find yourself at Jordan-Hare every Saturday, the majority of your football Saturdays are likely spent on the couch away from sunshine and nature and all that jazz. In college football’s absence, I’ve actually been able to venture outside. Briefly. It’s cold.

Home Improvement

Many of you also know that I moved into a new place at the end of October. I didn’t buy, but there’s still a good bit of upkeep that goes with a house. Since I was an adult life-long apartment dweller, I’m still getting used to all the nooks and crannies dust can find to hide in a house. But let me tell you, without Auburn football to keep me pacing in the living room, my house has never been so clean.

Scripted Entertainment

In addition to catching up on all of my DVR’d cooking shows, I’ve finally been able to tackle my long “to-watch” list for streaming services. I can’t recommend Mindhunter**, The Crown***, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel**** enough. For those of you playing On Brand Peggy Bingo, that’s a murder show, a British show, and a show about standup comedy with a strong female lead.

Holiday Haze

Even if I start your Christmas shopping in January, as the Advent Calendar dwindles, it always seems like I’m running around to find the perfect little thing to tie everything together. Is it just me? It can’t be, because I’ve shared East Chase with about 400340234029834908223 other people this month. But since I decided to move to a new city instead of investing in Christmas presents early, I’ve been playing present catchup for a month and a half. I was glad to have a few free Saturdays to get it all done.

Auburn Basketball

Don’t look now but Bruce Pearl’s squad is 11-1 heading into 2018. I don’t know if we’ll ever get an answer on the team’s two best players, but the basketball tigers seem to be holding their own without them. We’ll see where they stand when the competition ticks up in the new year, but these guys are a joy to watch, even when it gets harrowing.

Low Stakes Football

Another great thing about such a long break is being able to enjoy watching non-Auburn football with normal blood pressure and good manners. It’s amazing how much fun football is to watch when you don’t have a dog in the fight. What Alabama’s Bowls lacked in prestige, they more than made up for in entertainment value. Montgomery hosted a memorable Camellia Bowl, and the Birmingham Bowl was legit fun to watch. Way to go, home state.

Watching Cam Newton fail miserably in the NFL because he’ll never succeed because he’s terrible and selfish and a terrible person that everyone hates

Oh wait.

Another #ChristmasCold

I’ve been sick since the day after the Iron Bowl, so I assume I’m still atoning for that oh so brief time when football made me happy.

Furiously Googling UCF

Ah, I found all the stress I’ve been missing this month. While I’m sure Gus Malzahn and his staff (kept largely intact in the bloody interim!) are equipped to handle the UCF Knights, I’ve literally been googling them to find out basic things about them (like their mascot) because I didn’t really get to watch them this year. I know one of their players talked trash about Auburn not being prepared for their speed, and I was thankful we were on the other end of the locker room material hullaballoo for once. I wish Pettway were healthy, and I have no idea how Kerryon’s shoulder really is, but this game is more about seeing these special seniors (and juniors) out in style. I don’t know how this one will go, but I think the rest (and the spanking from Georgia) will have done Auburn some good by kickoff. I’m no fortune teller, but I see Auburn pulling away in the second half and making it rain Chick-Fil-A all night long*****.

If you’re heading back to the Benz to see Auburn take on the University of Central Florida Knights who have a mascot named Knightro, a total enrollment of over 64,000, and whose campus is located in Orlando, I promise not to use the unlucky water cup or wear the unlucky shirt or do any of the other things I did for the SEC championship. I’ll be cheering you on from the Tampa Bay-Area, where I hoped the Tigers would be playing in the Outback Bowl but no one asks me anything anymore.

Until next time—War Eagle!

*I hate you.

**Netflix

***Netflix

****Amazon Prime

*****I don’t really know what that means.