Friday, August 31, 2007

Opening Weekend

This week, Dr Pop had an overnight in Dallas. His meetings went well and while he was gone, I did… Wait for it… Laundry! There is something about Dr Pop being away that makes me insane for the ole laundry. It’s a sickness, really. But we have clean clothes. So it’s a good thing.

I was scheduled to have today off, but decided to go ahead and not burn a vacation day since we don’t have a trip planned. I am taking Tuesday off, though. I’m telling you, I need it! I don’t know if I’m burned out or what, but I’ve been oversleeping and generally bad-tempered and stressed out all the time. I need a break!
Tomorrow, Dr Pop, Boy Pop, and I will be heading down to the I-35/MLK area of Austin for The University of Texas Longhorn home opener! Boy Pop will be attending his first ever UT game! I cannot tell you how excited I am! Boy has been to some tailgates before, but never a game. We get to change that! And we’re bringing Dr Pop’s dad, too.

As I was drying my hair this morning, I looked in the mirror at the UT shirt I had decided to wear today. You know, I love college football and most football in general. Some women don’t. But most of the women who were born and raised in Texas cannot get through their formative years without at least some basic understanding and appreciation of the game. Me? I grew up the daughter of a west Texas high school football coach. I spent my earliest years going to Friday night games, riding the cheerleader bus with my mom, the cheerleader sponsor. After the game, if it was a home game, all the coaches and their families gathered in the Home Ec room at the high school and ate “thumbprint” cookies and brownies. To be honest, I was in it for the cookies.

Later on, I was into football games as social events. Everyone went to the games. That’s where you met your friends before Friday night slumber parties in middle school. That’s where you found out about where the weekend’s illicit parties were happening in high school. The games were about socializing and I’m sad to say that I really didn’t care much about the game being played on the field as I was way too into the games being played in the stands.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my brother was a freshman at UT. It was this year that I was really introduced to fandom. I went to my first UT game as a sophomore. It was the parent’s weekend game down in Austin. And then, the following year, I was introduced to Texas/OU weekend in Dallas. My love for UT was cemented that weekend at the Texas State Fair and the Cotton Bowl.
Fast forward to college. Football was still a social event, with a competition among my fellow dorm-mates (all-girl, all-sorority) for the best dates to the games. Football games were still all about the dates, the parties, the socializing. They were about hiding a Jim Beam traveler in your purse and a flask of vodka in your pants. They were about sneaking into the alumni center and buying beer at halftime.

It was not until my senior year in college that I started watching the games. And watch I did. I became a student. And in the subsequent years, I listened, I watched, I learned. I joined fan sites and got on mailing lists. I was able to hold intelligent conversations about the 4-3 vs. the 3-4 defense. I screamed and yelled and stood up most of the game to show my support (whether I was at home or at the game in person).

One year I went to every single game but one. Not just home games, all games. I became a “hardcore” tailgater and spent Friday afternoons in my car circling the state lots until the whistle blew so I could claim our spot. Waller Creek by the bridge at 18th and San Jacinto, if you’re interested. Dr Pop was introduced to my rabid fan ways the following year. Although my life has changed drastically in recent years, the spot is still there, and I will see my old friends this evening as they set up the tailgate as usual. The crowd has changed, too, but there will be many familiar faces. And then tomorrow, my son will be getting his first real taste of a college football game in Austin, Texas. I have a feeling that it will be all about the cookies for him. But the love will come. It’s in his blood.

To all fans of college football, the countdown has concluded. Raise your beer, Beam and Coke, sausage wrap, or whatever you choose to enjoy with your game, and celebrate!


1 comment:

Pitter Patterson said...

so. i don't know diddly about football. but im still envious that you're going to the game tomorrow!! i miss the air of excitement on game day! i was about to wonder if the phi delts still celebrated post game on the sofa on their roof... but then i remembered they don't have a roof anymore ;)