This post will be the first in a series that I’ll simply call “Memories”. Hey – it’s not my job to write headlines!
December 31, 1993
After a year as the reigning national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide found themselves relegated to the 1993 Gator Bowl. Some fans would be disappointed by their team being shoved into this “fake” bowl game. Oh, but one twelve year old football fan was delighted by her team’s plight. Though I would continue to refer to the Gator Bowl as “not a real bowl game” for years afterward, on that December night it was the next best thing to heaven.
This little girl lived over five hundred miles from the stadium that her favorite team called home. I had only gained enthusiasm for the sport that my father watched religiously during the previous season. In retrospect, I was fortunate to attend my first college football game so soon after becoming a fan.
It was cold that New Year’s Eve, as it often is to this little Florida gal during the final months of the year. My sisters had passed on the opportunity to go to the game in favor of a lock in at Discovery Kids Zone. I jumped at the opportunity, and I proudly sat beside my father in the upper deck of what is now Alltel Stadium, shivering as I watched Alabama dominate North Carolina.
The scene that night was reminiscint of many to come, though I didn’t know that then. I was surrounded by men, their beers in hand and their voices loud. (The stadiums at both of the colleges I have attended are dry, but that doesn’t save me from being surrounded by drunks.) I knew only enough about the game to understand what was going on, but I loved every moment.
The Crimson Tide stood victorious as the final seconds counted off the clock. Since my daddy had consumed a beer or two, I tried to persuade him to let me drive home. I think he considered it, but he decided that the twelve year old should probably remain in the passenger seat.
The magic of that night lingers in my mind. My first college football game, my first sip of champagne, and the joy that a little girl has from spending time with her daddy are memories not quickly forgotten. I think there’s no better way to enjoy football than shivering alongside someone you love.
Assuming I am able to acquire a ticket, this Saturday will hold the third college football game that my father and I have attended together. It promises to be the best match up yet (Alabama vs. Tennessee should be far more thrilling than Alabama vs. UNC or Florida State vs. Duke!)