While football does not quite consume my life the way it did back when I worked in athletics, it is still something I’m passionate about and that takes up a large amount of my time in the fall. It may sound silly to some, but several of my favorite memories in life are tied to football games. Hearing the phrase “Hakim drops the ball!” still to this day gives me chills. I can almost feel physical pain when I recall some of the toughest losses, a la Arkansas-LSU 2007 in triple OT. And just the memories of those great victories in dramatic fashion can send the adrenaline pumping through my body. (Think LSU-Auburn 2007 … or, well, basically every LSU game in 2007!)
I was raised on NFL Sundays. Football Fridays became the norm in high school. And then Football Saturdays became a college ritual which continued on to grad school and now into my adult life. ESPN's College Gameday is a Saturday morning staple, as is tailgating on the LSU campus for home games. There are very few things that compare to Baton Rouge on a Saturday, just like there are few parallels for the Superdome on a Sunday.
I often reference football to relate to other life occurrences. “That was the week after LSU came from behind to beat Florida in Gainesville in '04.” Or “That was the Christmas before the Saints won their first playoff game.” It’s uncanny how I can tie all of life’s major events to a sporting event.
But it’s about more than just the game. More than the gridiron memories, I also think of all-day tailgates with friends and crazy road trips that taught me life lessons and exposed me to different fan bases. I have tailgated in the Grove and have had one (or ten) too many at the Houndstooth in Tuscaloosa. I have developed deeper bonds with friends through a mutual love of the game and have met random people through these experiences that I can now call friends.
Of all the life events I can tie to football, I'd have to say my favorite was when my husband asked me to marry him in Atlanta after the LSU-Georgia SEC Championship game in 2011. And the first time he asked for my phone number? Two years prior to that after watching the Alabama-Florida SEC Championship game at a bar together. It all just seems fitting.
Call me crazy, but I love football and everything it has brought to my life. It’s a part of me and always will be. Let's play ball!