It only take one game day to birth two new football fans

  • Sunday, October 20, 2013

I’ll be really honest, I mostly like football season because I get to eat Fritos covered in dips made with cream cheese and Lil’ Smokies wrapped in bacon, but I do love me some Auburn football.

My husband and I both graduated from Auburn University. I love my team, but I’m not one of those people who makes play-by-play commentary on Facebook at every call made. In fact, even though we have access to tickets on a fairly regular basis, because of the age of our kids, I haven’t been to a game in a few years.

Zeb will occasionally head to Auburn on his own for a game and he has been begging me for years to go with him and take the girls. Now, if you have read more than one of my columns, you understand why I have more sense than to load up my three girls, drive a couple of hundred miles to sit in a stadium with a few thousand of my closest friends to watch a game that my kids don’t even understand.

But this past weekend the planets aligned. Sadie, our youngest, was spending the weekend with her grandmother. I was in Atlanta at a conference, heading back to Mississippi and Zeb happened upon four tickets to the game. I met Zeb, Aubrey and Emma in Auburn on Saturday and we headed for the stadium.

Emma, our 7-year-old, had never been to a college football game before and Aubrey, 9-years-old, hadn’t been since she was four-months-old when she spent the entire game strapped to me with the Baby Bjorn, sleeping peacefully on my chest. I was prepared for lots of trips to the snack bar and wondered how long the girls would be able to last before they asked if we could leave. I was totally unprepared for the superfans that were about to be birthed.

You may not know this about me, but I’m sort of an emotional type. As we stood to sing God Bless America and the National Anthem with the band, I was overcome with emotion. It was just one of those milestone moments, another first in the lives of my girls, just a brief second in time that I’ll remember forever. Just like I remember standing in those exact same seats when I was their age, sharing popcorn with my Dad and singing the same hymns to our country.

I tried to nonchalantly wipe the tears from my cheeks as the ball was kicked off. Emma was sitting beside me and when she asked me what was going on in the game, I gave her the simplest instructions I could come up with.

I pointed her to the scoreboard.

“See that little football symbol underneath Ole Miss?”

She nodded.

“That means they have the ball. If they have the ball, you yell stuff like, ‘Hold ‘em. Hit ‘em. Defense,” I shouted.

Emma giggled.

“If we have the ball you yell, ‘Ruuuuun,’” I screamed and shook my pom-pom in her face.

That was direction enough for her. For the next two hours Aubrey and Emma were on their feet. Emma got so fired up that after every interception or yardage gained, she slapped enthusiastic high fives to every stranger within arms’ reach.

During the third quarter, we were joined by a few less-than-pleasant Ole Miss fans, who had found some empty seats behind us. The more they talked, the harder Emma stared at them until she finally leaned in and whispered in my ear, “Do they know they are losing?” I snickered, judging by the fumes coming off of them, it was quite possible they didn’t.

Toward the end of the fourth quarter Emma had taken to chanting along with the mother/son cheering squad to our right after every play, “I like it. I love it. I want some more of it.” Aubrey was on her feet jumping up and down and shaking her pom-poms so hard, I was nervous she was going to topple down the stadium stairs.

Emma shouted at me, “This is pretty exciting. I think I like football.”

I had been prepared to leave early with the girls and let Zeb stay for the end of the game, but after the game was over, we had to tell Aubrey to stop dancing, that it was time to leave.

“I can’t stop. I feel so happy, I feel like a Coke can that’s about to explode.”

Turns out my kids are old enough for game day and they might love Auburn football more than I love Fritos and a cream cheese dip.

Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.

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