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Darrell Huckaby - 10/16/09

"Emerging from an alley." That was, according to published reports, an actual "charge" levied by police against UGA student Vance Cuff, who, unfortunately, was arrested Tuesday afternoon, taken to jail and released after a $1,750 bond had been posted. He was also riding his scooter even though his license had been suspended.

Thank God we got that dangerous criminal off the streets of Athens!

I am not making light of the offense - well, actually, I am making light of the offense - but still. The kid was taken to jail, y'all. For emerging from an alley and riding a scooter with an expired license. Am I the only one who thinks this might be a tad extreme? And the fact that the guy is a member of the football team has nothing to do with my opinion, which I freely admit is just that - my opinion. But mine is the only one I am free to present.

I will say this. Timing is everything, and I am extremely thankful that I was a student at UGA in the early '70s, before the disappearance of common sense. I honestly don't think Ben Zambezi would have been taken to jail for the dastardly deed of emerging from an alley on a scooter, license or no license. Furthermore, and more importantly to me, Darrell Huckaby wouldn't have been either.

I saw a T-shirt the other day that claimed that Athens had once been a football town with a drinking problem but has recently turned into a drinking town with a football problem. The season, as everyone with a pulse knows, hasn't gone as well as expected or hoped for - but one point of pride has been the off-field behavior of the players. Until Vance Cuff's arrest the team had a clean slate, as far as anyone knew. And honesty compels me to admit that when I first heard about his incarceration I assumed the worst.

The first thing that caught my ear was that he had been taken in at 3:24. For some reason the p.m. part of that statement completely slipped my ear. My first thought was, "What in the world is that kid doing out at 3 in the morning on a school night?" Quite frankly, I assumed the worst, and you must admit that "emerging from an alley" sounds a lot worse when the emergence is taking place in the middle of the night. In the middle of the afternoon - not so much.

But there is that whole thing about riding on a section of Rutherford Street that is temporarily closed. That's a pretty bad thing, because nobody could ever get confused about traffic patterns in Athens. And I admittedly have no idea why Vance Cuff's license is suspended, and I agree that he should stay off his scooter if a license is required to ride a scooter - but they took him to jail. Still seems a bit extreme to me.

But at least the incident instigated a bit of conversation among the UGA alumni that gather around my lunch table every noon - talk that, for a short while, didn't involve the future career prospects of certain Georgia coaches. They say confession is good for the soul, and the men and women who ate lunch with me last Wednesday should have slept soundly Wednesday night after all the revelations that were made. I never knew that I worked with such an adventurous group.

One lady, who is now a grandmother many times over, told a surprisingly ribald tale about the days when UGA coeds were required to wear raincoats to P.E. class at the old Stegman Hall to cover up their PE uniforms. Suffice it to say that if the officer who took Vance Cuff to jail had encountered my co-worker, she'd probably still be in jail. Another friend had been caught trying to break into the biology building after hours to slide an overdue lab report under a grad assistant's office door. That guy would have probably been given the death sentence.

I didn't want to reveal much information about my own adventures. The statute of limitation probably hasn't run out on a lot of the stuff I did. Besides, I have two kids at UGA and a third on the way. I don't want them to find out about my escapades.

I did leave a job as a night watchman, one morning, however, and forget to take off my pistol and gun belt before walking into an English class. My teacher simply asked everyone who was packing heat to check their firearms at the door. If someone did that today they'd be serving a life sentence.

But I support the police and suppose that they were just doing their job. It does make one wonder, though. Maybe we should send an emissary to Gainesville, Fla., this week to entice Tim Tebow into a dark alley. An arrest and suspension of the Gator quarterback for "emerging from an alley" might be the Dawgs' last best hope for victory.

Darrell Huckaby