The Warriors Four

As an immortal, you live for a long time. That’s quite literally the meaning. When you live for a long time, you observe many events (also the definition). The events that you observe often times resemble events of the past.

In a past eon, in a different realm, Thor returned home to Asgard to see his Warrior Three on trial for the accidental slaughter of a shape-shifted giant. The Warriors were demanded to retrieve a number of items across the different realms with the reputation of being quite difficult to retrieve as punishment.

The punishment may not seem so brutal when spoken to an outsider, but the gods of Asgard knew many mortals that failed to survive retrieving just one of these items, let alone several. In this past eon, the Warriors Three happily, with a foolish vigor, accepted the punishment, counting on their friend Thor to help them along. Surely with a god on their side they could cheekily retrieve any item.

Coming into the 2016 season, all of the preseason focus was on the quarterback position for the Florida Gators. Rightfully so, since quarterback is the most important position on the field. A good quarterback can erase the follies of a bad defense, running game and wide receiver corps. With average quarterback play, a team needs an elite defense, running game, or both.

The two super bowl teams from SB 50 are good examples of this. Cam Newton’s exceptional year made up for the fact that the best wide receiver was Ted #%*&@ Ginn Jr and the running backs could barely make it past the line of scrimmage. Peyton Chicken Parm Manning was average to below average (🎼 he was not that good at all) for much of the season, but the defense was elite and carried the Broncos to a championship.

Perhaps a more appropriate example is the 2012 Gators. Middling quarterback play, a four yards and a cloud of dust running game afforded the Gators a very small margin of error each game. Fortunately, the defense was otherworldly in creating insane field position and turnover advantages.

With quarterback a question mark, the 2016 iteration of the Gator football team would need to rely on a similar tactic. Can this defense be 2012 good? Can the running game help produce offensively?

Thor, the good friend that he is, volunteers to help the Warriors Three in their quest, but the court bars the use of Mjolnir. The confidence of the Warriors fades slightly but not much, for these are a prideful bunch.

Like any group of warriors, the Warriors Three were a diverse group, three different personalities and styles. Volstagg was the oldest, but by far the most brash, claiming victory in any battle far before it should have been. Hogun was typically a more brooding, quieter, and often more reasonable warrior than his comrades. And while Volstagg was brash, Fandral was dangerously confident, his words and actions often leading to fights. Perhaps because of this, he was quite the ladies man.

A dare brought them together in the first place. Rumor flew around Asgard amongst the mortals that whoever were brave enough to pet the ferocious wolf Fenrir would have a feast in their honor in a majestic hall of Asgard. Little did the Warriors know that the rumor was started by Loki, and the hall: Vallhalla. Though they survived the encounter, they were thoroughly embarrassed in defeat.

Years later, they set out on their quest of redemption to retrieve the first item, a bunch of magic apples from Yggdrasil, the tree of life. According to lore, the apples provide youth to aging warriors and gods, and are very coveted. Like any coveted item, though, they are guarded fiercely. In this case, by a mighty eagle.

A mean, but not green, eagle

The green eagle stares at Alex Anzalone as he remembers another lifetime, another battle, another life. As Thor, he fought — tricked, really — a different eagle. Before him, on the football field, the North Texas Mean Green chose an unfortunate path: in the way of Alex’s Florida Gators.

He’s battled a much fiercer eagle than this

It was clear from the start this battle would be more game than fight, and his fellow Gators dominated in a way that flooded his mind with memories of that other lifetime. Thor has his Warriors Three. Well, it seems, the Gators have their Warriors Four.

Each running back feasted big time in this game. Whether by shiftiness

Or by strength

How many Mean Greens does it take to bring him down?

Or both

3rd and 18? No problem

The running backs took this battle for themselves in a dominant fashion.

The Warriors Four

Thor and the Warriors Three were without Mjolnir, but not without skill and valor. The apples were gathered from Yggdrasil despite the defense of the mighty eagle, but there were several more items they were required to retreive. Each one would pit the group in a battle against a different type of guardian, and the full range of the group’s skills will have been put to the test.

As impressive as the ground effort was against North Texas, there will be many more battles ahead that will provide a tougher opposition. Without the starting quarterback, the Gators will have to find elite performances from other parts of the team. The defense and running game will be the most likely sources, equally talented and ferocious.

Alex knows how Thor and the Warriors Three fared, but how will he and the Warriors Four do?

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