Then put your little hand in mine
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb
The Five Phases of a Sustained Repetitive Time Loop (i.e., 8-5)
1) Disjointed Confusion
The first day on repeat, Phil is convinced it is a mistake. He's so egotistical that on some level he actually believes it's possible that it's everyone else who is crazy: a vast and complex conspiracy on the part of an entire town to make one man feel like he's living the same day as the one before. It's brash denial supplemented by an unshakable confidence, something we Aggies are quite comfortable with at times. Then he writes it off as a dream, a one-off that will automatically resolve itself the following day. An anomaly: surely this can't be happening to him. But then it does again. Our first season in the SEC gave us that instant jolt of confidence that has made the ensuing seasons that much more of a haunting and living monotonous dream.
2) Reckless Abandon
As he begins to accept the repetition, Phil grows bold. There are no consequences to anything! It’s a giant free-for-all.
Phil: I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.
Rita: Oh, really?
Phil: ...and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender... I am an immortal.
Sounds like the battle for the SEC West. We may end up crashed in a roadside ditch, but we had a hell of a time getting there and we're right back on the highway gunning the engine the next year.
After a while, the freedom becomes its own trap. Phil is in a private hell and suppressed by the only thing that can outweigh the complete lack of ramifications: the complete lack of ability to impact anything. Every day he starts over with Rita. Every day he's an asshole all over again to the people he's worked hard to get to know. The reset has begun to move his life backwards. It is October, and we are 6-0. Then it is December and we are 8-5. Rise and shine, campers.
4) Resignation and Kind Acts
Finally, Phil has to accept that he is the only one who can affect and be affected by the loop. He might as well work on self-improvement. He shuts out the novelty of the situation and concentrates on becoming a better person. You are how you handle adversity. Don't let the same constant cycle make you bitter. Learn the piano. Change an old lady's tire. Be a decent human being on the internet, because nothing you tweet or rant about is going to do anything to change the outcome of a football game or season.
5) Breaking the Cycle
Ultimately the final resolution of Groundhog Day isn't that Phil finally achieves perfection over and over and over. It's the immense wash of relief when the monotony is finally broken and he's free to experience something—anything—different. Maybe it will be another 11-2 season for us, and maybe it will be the firing of a coach and three years without a bowl. Be careful what you wish for, because sometimes there's a comfort in a certainty with limited potential. But usually not enough to keep us there willingly for very long.
What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.
Happy Groundhog Day.