Tag Archives: Middle East

Back In The Swing of Things

Sorry for the blackout, Gator Nation.

Many of you by now realize why I was delinquent in my TGN duties as you followed my other WordPress blog, PatrickInKuwait. Much has transpired in my absence and I’m not sure I can make up the difference, but will try. For the full complete story, I would ask you to visit the blog referenced above. It does greater justice to the story.

In short, my story goes as follows: I was deployed to the Middle East for the better part of the last year. I had a very good idea that I would be home toward the end of October or early November. As it turned out, I arrived CONUS (Continental U.S.) about mid-October, but still had about three weeks of administrative processing to do before heading home. Mrs. TGN and I really wanted to surprise the kids for my return. They were only told that I’d be home before Christmas and that was pretty much it. We thought it would be nice to show up to their schools and let them know I was home. For the oldest we had a modest reunion in the High School principal’s office and for the youngest we had a big public reunion in her classroom that left most with tears in their eyes. You only have these opportunities once, so we wanted to ensure that everything went according to plan. As you can see from the picture below:

The Daughter and The Dad

Thus it was necessary to go out of communications range for what seemed like ages, but was in reality on a short while. I had to make all my settings on Facebook so that no one would know where I was or have some “friend of a friend” inadvertently post that I was here in the U.S. The emails stopped primarily because time was limited and there was a large amount of work that needs to be done to get a group as large as the one I was with out of the Middle East. I didn’t even sleep the last 44 hours before departing Kuwait on our flight….which was good because I slept the entire two legs of the flight to Baltimore airport. The one exception was the Florida – Georgia game and I will deal with that in a separate post.

After getting stateside, I spent the next three weeks in Virginia doing the final administrative out-processing necessary for me to finally go home. I had a brief stop in Kentucky to see my parents before heading to Ohio and the family.

All that said, it is finally time to start cranking out posts by TGN and get back in the swing of things. Sorry for the outage, but there will definitely be more to follow. ‘Nuff said…for now.

Go Gators!

Monday Morning Rant

Got this off the internet somewhere—but can’t remember who gets credit. Go Gators!

Control your destiny, Gator Nation!

Those are great words that absolutely have zero meaning for me here in the desert. Very little of what goes on here am I able to control. Make suggestions, yes. Influence, maybe. Control? Not even remotely.

Case in point (which will get us to football in a moment)—you’ve probably heard or read a thing or two about the “tensions” in the Middle East recently. I can’t go into any detail, but suffice it to say, these events have added to my day here. Nevertheless, I waited anxiously for 1am on Sunday morning to watch the Florida-Tennessee game. It was supposed to be broadcast on the Armed Forces Network.

There I was (actually working) with the TV on and the first quarter underway. Very excited since this game was a real test for the Gators—when in reality it wasn’t. I had my iced tea in a jug nearby ready to go and wanted to see what we could do.

THEN AFN SWITCHED TO ESPN NEWS AND ALL I COULD GET AFTER THAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Really? After being up more than 24 hours, this was more than I could bear. All I could get was an occasional snippet and the score. Eventually, it go so boring that I went back to my room and went to sleep with the score UT 14 UF 10. Note: there were very few highlights to this point.

Awaking at 6am—0600 for you military types or those who like the 24-hour clock—I decided that I’d check on the final score thinking it was somewhere around 24-20 given that there wasn’t much offense being played.

37-20 GATORS!!

For the second time in two straight weeks, with the Gators trailing at halftime on the road in hostile environments and playing like puppy poo in the first half, I miss the second half and an extraordinary effort by the Gators to finish the game. Tons of offense too! Who’d have thought that two weeks ago? Are you one of the millions of Gator fans who think that Will Muschamp has this team on the path to greatness? Well, I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m going to be a bit of a bubble-burster and tell you that UT still hasn’t become good enough to be on the top tier of the SEC. They are better than last year, but so are we and the results are similar. We need Tennessee to step up and be what they once were. Same for UGA. I’ll explain why on Wednesday.

Here I was really upset that I stayed up and couldn’t watch the game and then finding out after the fact that we blew them out, which I have to admit was a nice reward for getting some sleep. I eventually made my way to work and went about my day. I have a monitor in my office hooked up to the local broadcasts which usually is tuned to the news—perks for being the #2 person in the organization. About 2pm on Sunday, lo and behold, what was this? A REPLAY OF THE GAME! Awesome!

So, here are my initial thoughts on the Gators vs Tennessee from this weekend:

-Our defense has legs. They are playing hard through the 4th quarter. We couldn’t have even accomplished that until halftime last year.

-I thought Jacoby Brissett was the future. Jeff Driskel is on a mission to prove me very wrong.

-Every Gator across the world should thank Urban Meyer for signing Trey Burton, who has single-handedly affect more games for Gator Victories than any other Gator through these last (harrowing) 2 1/2 years. Too slow, no real position….just a football player.

-Too many injuries against poor teams. Not good.

-We’re coming from behind on the road, in big name stadiums with an unproven QB and a defense that has not allowed any points in the 4th quarter—-it’s ok to feel REAL good about this one!

-Two word: Mike Gillislee

-Offensive line played well, but needs to get much, much better. Too much running around by Driskel, but I’m glad he didn’t get sacked this weekend…or throw an interception.

-For Steve “Gator” Wood—Congrats on calling the right number of interceptions this past weekend. That puts us +3 in turnovers.

-UT is not LSU…or UGA…or SoCar for that matter. We still have important games to play this season…..but they are all in Florida!!

Things are looking up for the Gators, but there are miles to go in the season. Maybe we will even sell out for Kentucky? In all kinds of weather, Gator Fans. See ya’ on Wednesday. ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!