Thanks to Pia, who nominated me for a Perfect Post Award for my Introduction post last month. I think I'm supposed to be guest blogging for her sometime this month. Stay tuned...
The signs had been increasing. The talk had been building for weeks.
"What do you think we'll have this year?"
"I think our new quarterback will be fine."
"Yeah, but if he gets hurt, we're in trouble."
"I'm not worried about our defense."
"You got any extra tickets for Saturday?"
By Friday, when the secretary came to work in a Bama shirt, with a red and white shaker, crimson purse with a white "A" on it, and a wooden box which when opened played the fight song and had a picture of a football field on it, there was no doubt. Football season had arrived!
Saturday was the first Bama game in the newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium. We played Hawaii. Not exactly a football powerhouse. But I guess if you can't go to Hawaii, the next best thing is bringing Hawaii to you. Or maybe not.
It was exciting to see the new stadium and all the new sights. And to be sitting there with 92,137 of my closest friends. A few of whom I'd like to introduce to you today. Hopefully enhancing your vicarious experience of being at a Crimson Tide game.
Having season tickets, there are many of the same people sitting around us each year. I have the distinct pleasure this year of sitting next to a guy I can only describe as the Dick Vitale of college football. This expert-in-his-own-mind has something to say after every... single... play. And he says it loud and proud.
Not only that, but there are two new screens this year at the far end of the stadium. One shows play-by-play and replays. The other acts as a scoreboard and occasionally during breaks will show game stats, other scores, and such.
Well, Dickie V here is evidently a bit nearsighted. He has to pull out his binoculars to read the scoreboard. And I guess he assumes the rest of us are nearsighted as well. As he chooses to read loudly every single stat and score off the giant screen. Every. Single. One. Did I mention he was loud?
By some point in the third quarter, I was seriously contemplating jabbing a shaker in my eye socket, just to see what he would say. He makes me want to nick my jugular and watch the blood slowly spurt out of my neck with each pulse of my heart, until I black out. It could be a long year.
Directly behind us is a guy my sister and I call Nacho. He and his wife sat in front of us last year. Nacho is a very large mammal. I actually like him. He's not loud and he makes decent comments during the game.
He earned his nickname during one particularly hot day last season when a malodorous emanation overtook our olfactory senses. My sister said it smelled like nacho cheese. And after some consideration, I deduced it must have come from him. And Nacho was born.
Directly in front of us are two ornery older couples. They don't like to stand. They don't like to cheer. And the men gripe and complain the entire game. Even after good plays, they can be heard saying things like "It's about time" or "Where has that been all game?"
Another of their trademarks is leaving the game early. It's rare to see them still in their seats with under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, even in a close game. And they never stay until the end. I'm not sure why they purchase tickets, really. And I haven't thought of a nickname for them yet. Not one I can say on a family blog anyway.
Behind us and to the right is a guy we refer to as DUI, who is probably in his twenties. Alcohol is not allowed in Bryant-Denny Stadium, so DUI brings his own. Every single game. He has sat around us the past two or three years, and wreaks of alcohol every game.
DUI makes frequent trips to the concession stand and/or restroom each week and mixes his Jack & Coke in the stands with the end of his shaker. He also regularly spills his alcohol, as he did this past Saturday, which serves to enhance the smell as well as the overall enjoyment of the game for the rest of us.
Final score Saturday: Alabama 25, Hawaii 17.
After each win, the crowd does a victory cheer called Rammer Jammer. As time ran out the other night, they began the cheer. Dickie V turned to me and said he wasn't doing it this week because he didn't think we deserved it.
As we were leaving, I turned around to see what DUI was doing. He was yelling something. Waving his shaker. Looking like he might fall over at any second. I think he knew we won. But I doubt he knew the score.
Hope your team won this weekend, too.
"From Carolina down to Georgia, smell the jasmine and magnolia. Sleepy sweet home Alabama, Roll Tide Roll..."