I have not always been a sport-loving person. My family raised me with no allegiance to any teams, either in college or professional sports. We did used to gather round to watch the Olympics, though. I still remember 1984, a great year for American women, when Mary Lou Retton won the gold in gymnastics all-around (as a young gymnast wannabe, I really wanted to be her) and Joan Benoit won the first ever Women’s Olympic Marathon (her? I just thought she and all the other marathoners were nuts, and I still do, but now I want to be her too).
But today I’m talking team sports. The kind of sports I NEVER watched growing up. I didn’t grow to appreciate major league baseball until I dated a guy in college who was obsessed with it and his parents kindly instructed me in the fine art of spending hours watching games. Now, I get it and I love it. Football, on the other hand, I have never understood. As a member of the marching band in high school (BARITONE! SAXOMOPHONE!), I attended every game and had to be aware enough of the action on the field that I knew when it was time to stand up and play the school song, fight song, etc. But I never understood it.
My undergraduate alma mater had no football team, so I never had to think about it in college. The innate understanding of NCAA Football most Americans have was never mine. Conferences? Rankings? Any rules more complicated than basic scoring and downs? Don’t ask me to explain.
But this year, I find myself taking an interest. And why shouldn’t I, when the top two ranked teams in the nation happen to be my graduate school alma mater and my current place of employment? My friends and I keep talking about it: wouldn’t it be awesome if Oregon and Auburn match up in the post-season? In, say the BCS Championship Game, JUST FOR EXAMPLE? Tigers vs Ducks? Green and Yellow vs Orange and Blue? The SEC vs the PAC-10?
(Look at me, all saying the names of conferences like I have any clue — and after the conference re-arranging nonsense that went down it is definitely safe to say I have NO clue AT ALL.)
At any rate, just in time for Auburn’s historic season, I happen to have a friend with season tickets! So Saturday I found myself actually inside the big, huge stadium that I look at every day from my office window (Seen above on a normal, non-game day). For the very first time. With about 87,000 of my “closest friends,” as they say.
Yes, me at a football game! And if you don’t believe me, here are the pictures to prove it: