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Mailbag 6/3

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We talk BLM, football, and pandemic cocktails!

Bars Reopen Across New Zealand Under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

What are your best “no fans” suggestions for GT if the football season is played that way?

Ben: Mic up everyone on the field. Players, coaches, water boys. All of them.

Levi: We should organize games in historic places. This goes for college and NFL. Imagine a game on an aircraft carrier, in Times Square, public parks, the USS Alabama site even has several fields. Also, I believe in families and select fans. But you must prove your worth, like the Atlanta Hawks spirit section used to do.

Jeff: To keep the home field advantage I say we bring in yellow jacket nests and plant them around the visitors side of the stadium.

Jake P.: I would definitely mic up a select few players and coaches, although you might have to run a 1-2 minute delay on air for bleeping-out purposes.

Nishant: I vote for the Friday Night Lights variant of what Levi said. Play the games in a cow pasture.

Jake: Do it on the SAC fields, but they have to play around intramural ultimate frisbee at one end and a late-night cricket practice on the other end. That would be a true feat of strength. Kids can stand socially distant on the parking deck, or accidentally stain their pants black sitting on the roof of the storage/bathroom building.

Akshay: Counterpoint, Nishant: do it BMS/Field of Dreams-style in the middle of a corn field.

Is everybody safe?

Ben: Yes, I’m all safe here. And since it was brought up, I want to implore all of you to get educated and find out what you can do. We shouldn’t have to wait and see more people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, or the countless others be murdered to say something. Sign petitions, donate, and most importantly vote! Have tough conversations. Fight the injustices that continue to plague this country. Black lives matter!

Levi: I am safe. I am fortunate enough to have a full-time job that allows us to work from home. Our business is doing well. As for unrest, the protests in Northside Chicago have been peaceful. I am extremely thankful for that and support exercising your rights 100%. This may be too much info but I live near Wrigley Field at the intersection of two major streets, we’ve seen nothing but love and support. No broken windows, no looting, just support for marginalized communities.

Jeff: I drive through downtown at night on my way home from work and have gone by several groups but nothing that hasn’t been peaceful. My work group is a large mix of minorities and it is good to have dialogue with those that personally live what is happening in our country.

Jake P.: So far, I’m safe. I live in a small town and there hasn’t been any unrest. As Ben said, get educated, do what’s right for the good of all people.

Nishant: My immediate area is safe. If there’s one thing absolutely everyone should be doing right now, it’s listening. Listen to Black Americans when they talk about the injustices they’ve faced. Even if you feel yourself wanting to interrupt or object to one point or another, shelve it and let them finish. The people who are out there protesting have been shouting about these exact issues for years. Let them be heard. It’s well past time.

Jake: I’ve been back in Atlanta and it’s been safe where I’m at in Midtown, and resonant to see the peaceful protestors on Spring and North Avenue the last two nights after I’ve gotten back from work. Other than that, I’d like to echo the rest of the sentiment, particularly Nishant’s closing words.

Akshay: My immediate area, family, and livelihood are all safe, and I am incredibly grateful for that — but others have not been so lucky. Like Nishant said, allow under-served and marginalized voices In your community to be heard and listen to them. Like Ben said, get educated and understand the issues plaguing our country. Lastly, like Jake the Younger said, do what’s right for the good of all people. We all have a platform for change; now is the time to use it.

Haven’t heard much about Derrik Allen since his transfer last fall, do y’all know how the team plans to deploy him with so much depth at safety?

Ben: I haven’t heard anything specific about him, but he’ll be one of approximately 500 players Tech has at safety, especially with Charlie Thomas moving from linebacker. With Christian Campbell graduating, I could very easily see Allen moving into that role and being the first guy off the bench behind Juanyeh Thomas and Tariq Carpenter.

Levi: Derrik had to sit a year and is honestly unproven, we have is HS highlight reel to rely on. We all know that COMPETITION IS KING around here and I see him working into the rotation early. Tariq and Juanyeh have to graduate at some point.

Nishant: Something we kicked around internally was the possibility of Allen ending up at nickel or bulking up and going to linebacker. A two-deep of Charlie Thomas and Allen at nickel sounds tantalizing, and with Thomas and Bruce Jordan-Swilling changing positions, there’s room for someone new to crack the linebacker rotation. Still, I’m not super confident in safety depth beyond the returning starters and Jaylon King, so I could see him sticking there for that reason.

After a grueling day of Zoom calls, bingeing food and entertainment, and walking the dog again and again, what’s your pleasure for cocktail hour?

Ben: There’s a bar in Athens that has an amazing drink on their summer menu called a Due South. Upon further research, it appears it’s similar to a Rye Smash. It’s a cocktail with white rye, simple syrup, lemon and fresh mint, shaken, over the rocks with a mint garnish. That has nothing to do with what I’ve been drinking during the pandemic, but it’s my favorite cocktail. During the pandemic, if I do drink, it’s been beer. Blue Moon recently released (or at least I recently found) a new light beer that has a very grapefruit-y taste and it is exquisite.

Levi: We are still technically in lockdown but I took it upon myself to organize team Zoom calls on Fridays. We play games and socialize. I have re-discovered my love for whisky. I’ve been sampling a bit but I can never stray too far from my George Dickel Fine Tennessee Whisky.

Jake: As one of FTRS’ many resident aviation geeks, I like to stay informed on what’s up in the industry, so I take my Cranky Daily newsletter as recommended: with a stiff drink. I’m trying to make my bottle cap collection that’s slowly filling my Haufbrauhaus liter stein more interesting, so I’m aiming for a different six pack each time I run out. I actually go in to work every day, so it’s nice to take some time for myself and sit on the balcony and enjoy having a view now that I’m not in a first floor, interior-courtyard-facing apartment on West Campus.

Akshay: Water. Trust me. It’s not fun and not alcoholic, but it is refreshing.

Have you picked up any new hobbies since the onset of the pandemic?

Ben: I bought Skyrim last week (about 10 years too late), so I’ve been playing that, so I’ll say fighting dragons is my newest hobby.

Levi: NCAA Football 14. I got tired of my 8 year GT franchise. After winning 7 championships in a row on Heisman with a 99 team, it gets tiring. I started a Duggs-style dynasty with Kennesaw State. Starting as OC at the worst school and jumping around till I’m HC at a blue blood. Currently 8-0. (Upset GT 45-41 week 1 btw)

Jeff: I could probably create a decent resume for being a greenskeeper at this point. I always knew I’d make it to the Master’s.

Jake P.: I started “The West Wing” on Netflix if that counts as a hobby. For those wondering, my favorite character is C.J. Cregg. Arnold Vinick is a close second.

Nishant: I want to pick up my viola again just for fun, but I’ve gotten distracted by Persona 5 Royal for the past two months and Avatar: The Last Airbender suddenly spawning on Netflix.

Jake: I was playing the drums as part of my home church’s virtual contemporary service (still have not gotten close to getting that organ down, so no traditional for me!) with my band from high school, back together again for the first time in four years, but I’ve also learned that, despite being good at Civilization V, I am terrible at Civ VI. Also, trying to consume as many books as possible and replace swimming with more quarantine-acceptable sports like tennis, running, and biking.

Akshay: Does work count as a hobby? Other than that, I have been working on this project for quite a while, so feel free to try it out and let me know what you think!