I went to NFL Nationals in Atlanta in 2003 with Amy, who, if you made me pick, would make the short list for Best Student Ever, and with Swankette as chaperone. On Sunday night, several Washington coaches (including Jim, although we weren't yet friends because we weren't yet blog-friends because we didn't yet have blogs) and their kids made their way to the Underground Atlanta mall in the heart of the city. It was about 6:50. We gathered everyone around and said “Go anywhere in the mall, and meet us back here at 8. Oh, but don’t go to Hooters.” Everybody laughed.
Swankette and several coaches and I wandered around the mall, examining our options, looking for the best one, when we suddenly every restaurant we could find shut down in front of us. Except one.
Hooters. And, faced with no other options to eat, most of our students had ignored our directive and had settled into Hooters for their evening meals. Against our better judgment, we hungry coaches decided that we’d just tough it out and join them. I knew Amy’s folks wouldn’t care, Joe, one fellow coach, wasn’t worried either. Carolyn, however, was a little worried about one of her more conservative kids (and his parents back home), so she was quite nervous. But I was fine. I just figured I wouldn't turn in the receipt for reimbursement.
We ordered our food and our drinks. We waited. And waited. And waited. It was virtually endless. No food was in sight. Our students were starting to wander to the gift shop to buy mugs and T-Shirts, which we strictly forbade. Carolyn was beside herself with nerves, and we were hungry and tired of waiting. So we decided that enough was enough, threw a five-dollar bill on the table for our drinks, and walked out.
I was at the ATM outside, getting money and preparing for the walk back to the hotel, when Swankette tapped me on the shoulder.
“TRP, come with us now. A policeman just made Joe walk back into Hooters.”
Incredibly, the waitress found a cop and told him we’d walked out without paying. He walked out to Joe and said “Take your hands out of your pockets!” Joe did. And all four of us walked back inside.
Carolyn was livid. All four of us were, but she did most of the talking. We pointed at the money we’d left for the drinks, and pointed out the complete lack of food on the table. Our large-breasted but stupid waitress aided our cause immeasurably by walking up and saying: “Oh! Your food is ready now!” The cop walked away at that point, and the embarrassed manager offered to box everything up for us. We told him no way and left.
My teaching and coaching career might have gone differently if I’d gone to jail for pulling a dine-and-dash at Hooters, but I was surprisingly close that day. And anytime you're close to a dine-and-dash rap from Hooters, well, it's a state memory.
So what are your Georgia memories?