After months of wondering if it will happen, we finally know; no football for us this season.
Okay, no, not really. We do not know. What we do know is that TODAY, right this minute, we won’t be leaving our home this coming Saturday before sunrise (yes, traffic is that bad on game day – in fact, we should start driving now to get to next year’s season opener), driving two hours, only to sit on a cooler (why do they call them coolers when it’s so blasted hot) for who knows how long for a 5 PM kickoff that would have been pushed back to seven, except the TV gods demand our game start during the hottest part of the day.
If you think that above sentence seems long, try sitting through fifteen minutes of nothingness in the stadium while ESPN shows commercials for beer, pizza, and personal hygiene products.
I will not swelter in the sun while my makeup rolls down my face, dribbles off my chin, glides along my neck and gathers in the deep, forbidden crevice that at one time turned men’s heads — and still does, only now men are shaking their heads when they turn away. Gone too are my fantasies of being 20-ish again and able to wiggle into a pair of shorty-shorts that years ago would make me look fabulously hot on those 100-degree game-days. This fall, during game days, I will not have hormone-induced hot-flashes that come with the intensity of a nuclear blast, nor will I gulp ice cold mimosas that become hot toddies seconds after poured.
No more walking through the parking lot and dodging footballs that barely miss my head. I won’t experience the challenge of finding a clean porta-potty (no such thing, not ever, not anywhere) or holding my breath for longer than a Polynesian pearl diver. (I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure there is such a thing as a Polynesian pearl diver, but right now Polynesia, pearls, and diving into cool water sounds pretty good to me.)
This season, there will be no tailgating and no more feeding strangers who wander into our tent. Wander is a generous term. Often they stumble, tumble, and take Thomas’s chair. I will miss the guilt of eating high-carb, sugary foods and grazing on Bojangles chicken like a prize-winning Four-H heifer.
I won’t be watching the whackos dressed in outrageous game-day face-paint and wondering: Is that Daddy’s second cousin? I swear, I think it is! No sitting on a cooler of warm water in an empty parking lot into the wee hours of the night while waiting for game-day traffic to thin. Once upon a time, Thomas and I would have ourselves a little fun while waiting. Now we nap.
It will be tough to realize that I will not be sitting in the stands, talking to Thomas who spends most of his time talking to the men in striped shirts. I will not miss being packed into the stadium with hardly any room to think. I will not miss that obnoxious fan who yells in my ear during the entire game. I will not miss the bag of popcorn and co-cola that goes for $28.00.
You know what I will miss? I will miss that cute, little, clear plastic purse fashion accessory I always carry to games.
But I am a Southerner and it is my birthright to shed pints of perspiration, yell, cheer, sing the National Anthem and cry when one of our boys makes the play of a lifetime. So while I will not miss some parts of game day, I will miss being at the stadium on game day.
As of TODAY, right this minute, we will watch the game from our recliners at home. We will hug each other after the prayer and shed a tear when jets fly over our beloved stadium. This year, more than ever, we will be one giant team fighting some pesky, little virus floating around in the air like a bungled, half-back pitch. And when at last we can once again gather together, it will be a love fest and an opportunity for the greatest win of all: community.
Our team colors have become red, white and blue; our “fight” song is the National Anthem.
Although the goalposts have been moved, this year we all have to huddle up, go long, and fight. Winning has a different definition. And when things settle down let’s remember to love and celebrate each other regardless of what team we are on. Be your own champion and remember the greatest victories in life are born from the power of spirit…the human spirit.
Jane Jenkins Herlong is a Sirius XM Humorist, international best-selling/award-winning author, professional singer, recording artist, award-winning professional speaker and member of the Speaker Hall of Fame.