With summer coming to a close and the temperatures dropping (finally!), I can think of many things that bring me joy: pumpkin spiced anything, walks outside, and the start of holiday season. But it hasn’t always been this way.
I went to one of the biggest SEC schools in the Southeast. We won a national championship my freshman year and another the year after I graduated (thanks to Nick Saban). My first LSU football game in September of 2013 was like a dream. My date picked me up in his suit at my dorm around 9:30am and we tailgated all day.
Being from New Orleans I pictured tailgating being kind of like Mardi Gras, but it felt very different. There was so much passion and loyalty for our school. I felt like was part of something bigger. Once we got into the stadium, I was blown away by the sheer volume of cheering and music. I quickly learned all of the defensive and offensive cheers, and kept my eyes on the field for the entirety of the game.
From then on, I lived for home-game weekends.
It was like a small city of people around campus cooking Cajun food, listening to music, meeting new friends and talking about the upcoming game. I quickly learned all of the players’ names, where they were from, and their stats. I knew the numbers on their jerseys and what year they were. I felt like I was truly a fan.
My husband and I met seven years later and quickly realized we had a similar interest. He was an Auburn fan, but we had one thing in common: we didn’t like Alabama (thanks to Nick Saban). Our first real date was at the SEC championship game at the Georgia dome. We were married about two years later and spent no less than five weekends per season in either Auburn or Baton Rouge. Other Saturdays in the fall were spent at home watching football with fancy game day appetizers and good company. We had nothing but time to watch every second of our games and other top ranked teams play. Because, hey, even if we stayed up late we could sleep in.
Things changed two years after that.
Once we had our first daughter, I could feel my passion start to wane. I still wanted to keep up with all of the stats and players, but I felt very distracted. Leading up to the season, I wasn’t as knowledgeable about our team and I didn’t feel prepared for the start of the season. I was also worried about whether I would actually be able to watch the game with a nine-month-old crawling around my feet. My game day apps weren’t as exciting to say the least.
If you’ve never met my husband, let me tell you something about him: he’s not just a “fan” of Auburn; he IS Auburn football. He can tell you anything and everything about his football program from the time it started in 1896 until today. He can look at a single picture of a past game and tell you what year it was and by whom the play was made. He will also tell you more about your football program than you could ever dream of knowing. He is fanatic.
Let’s just say he takes his games a little more seriously than I do.
And with my decreasing interest in football, our ideas of Saturdays in the fall became challenging. They turned into me either watching the baby, cooking or catching up on household chores because I knew I had to allocate about four hours for him to watch his game without distractions.
I started to feel resentful.
I wish I could sit down and do anything for four hours. I can’t tell you the last time I sat for that long. I kept thinking of all of the productive tasks I could accomplish in that incredible length of time. How many meals I could prepare? How many errands could I run? Could I just take a four-hour nap?
I kept telling myself I would get back into it and start following our team more closely, but it never happened. Two and half years later, our second daughter was born. Saturdays lost their glamour completely. I was more concerned about how many loads of laundry I didn’t do or whether I would get to take a nap that day. Most weekends I had no idea who we were playing or what our ranking was.
I felt ashamed.
But I’ve learned that everything is a season (literally). When the girls are grown, Saturdays will be quiet in our house again. There will be no babies or extra loads of laundry to clean. There will be nothing keeping us from traveling to the home and away games. And I’m sure I would rather them be home driving me crazy than watching a game of people I don’t actually know.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sport. I still get excited when I go into a game and listen to the bands play. I will leap for joy when we beat Alabama some day. I have a lot of respect for people who can maintain a vast knowledge of football despite the busyness of life.