I for one adore football. I will be honest, it's taken me a long time to truly grasp the game but for as long as I can remember there has been football in, around, or near my life. My father watched the Redskins for years while I was growing up, I wouldn't say he's a die hard fan but I do remember many Sundays hearing my father cuss up a storm from the living room, and often seeing a yellow dining napkin fly across the room while said foul words were flying. Yellow dining napkin you ask? Well our dining room linens were golden rod at the time, not sure why, my mother never seemed fond of yellow - her and my father were actually obsessed with Colonial Blue hues, our entire house was painted with white walls, and accented with Colonial Blue and Chocolate Brown stenciled highlights. Anyofftopic - the yellow napkin was from our set, maybe it was yellow for Thanksgiving, but I also recall having fancy dinners for my birthday in the formal dining room - Princesses do it up after all, and I'm an only child - and that yellow table cloth was ALWAYS there. I guess if it's formal it's a table linen. F*ck, where was I? Oh yeah FOOTBALL - enough with this girlie shizz...
FOOTBALL has been in my life for years, from my father watching to boyfriend's discussing it. I was never a Redskins fan, much to my father's dismay I'm sure. I guess I wasn't old enough to appreciate them, and at that age didn't care for sports. I also have no history of the Baltimore Colts in my blood. My father must not have been a fan, the only memory I have of the Colts was seeing a huge sign in my best friends basement behind her parent's bar. I was young, and assumed we had a team there but didn't now all the drama until I was much older.
I gave up on sports at an early age, I'd say about 3rd grade I gave basketball the middle finger because in gym class I got hit in the face when *Bradley Matthews tossed the basket ball at me and I didn't react fast enough, thus causing me to have a nose bleed and sneezed for 2 hours straight (ok maybe it was only 20 minutes but in 3rd grade that was an eternity!). That sealed the deal for basketball being OUT. In middle school we were asked to play field hockey. I like hockey, a lot (GO CAPS!) - I have a great story about myself and a professional hockey team but I'll save that for another day. I really liked this sport and thought, awesome, this is the girl version, I get the rules I'll probably rock at this. I get out on the field in gym class and we start playing, 15 minutes or so into the game *Nicole Bamburg whacks me in the shin with her hockey stick causing me to fall over. Being a tomboy at the time I refused to cry, and if I had any real balls I would have kicked her ass up and down the field. Instead I assumed the fetal position and held my shins and screamed. Yeah, this was gym class at a county school, they didn't issue us shin guards or helmets or anything to protect us for that matter back in the day. That ended my career as a field hockey star. For years in school I never excelled at anything athletic, finally I found a golden sport I was actually good at, that was Volleyball. I never went out for the team though, all the popular girls at my school were on the team, and even though I longed to be a part of their crew, I was too shy and worried about joining the volleyball team. I've always had the irrational fear of playing sports, like soccer and running down the field in the wrong direction and scoring for the other team. That wouldn't happen in volleyball, but one messed up spike and I'd fear those girls would kill me or at least shun me to the bottom of the high school ladder and I worked so hard to keep myself in the middle. I didn't want that stress - instead I went after the one thing that I could do, and that was dance. I excelled at dancing, and thankfully my high school had a dance squad. My second year trying out I made it and by senior year I was the captain. FINALLY something athletic that I could do well at. I know you're saying, but Kelly, it's dance squad, that isn't a sport. To which I will reply "SHUT YOUR FACE! I got a varsity letter in that shizz, and won quite a few trophies at competitions - it's a sport damn it!" I would also argue to my grave the same of the cheerleaders, even though they were our mortal enemies through high school.
So there, I found my calling for sports, sort of. I went to a ton of football games in high school, I even dated a
Somewhere in all of this high school drama I started to watch professional football more often with friends. My family in PA have always been huge Steelers fans. I'm shocked that my father isn't one, but he moved to Maryland/D.C. area when he was in his early 20's so I'm assuming this may have been his little bit of rebellion to become a Skins fan. One of my good friends (read: girlfriend of my then boyfriend's BFF), *Syndi, and I hung out a lot and we did a lot together with our boyfriends. Her boyfriend, *Matt was a huge Steelers fan. We ended up watching Pro-Football a lot in those years and I quickly became a Steelers fan because of this. People are always shocked that I didn't become a Ravens fan. I have to say it wasn't for lack of liking them, they are my home team after all, but I had started my love affair and falling for the Steelers before the Ravens even came on my personal radar. Maybe I should have jumped ships, for the loyalty of my state, but honestly, I just didn't. I stuck by the Steelers and have no regrets (And this past year it was very difficult with all the drama *gives Ben the side eye*). By the time I was 19 and mid way into my first or second year of college, my boyfriend and I broke up - but *Syndi, Matt and I remained friends.
WHEN I REALIZED I WAS A TRUE FAN, NOT ONLY OF THE STEELERS, but OF FOOTBALL TOO. I had been watching pro football for a while with Syn and Matt, (but you know not really watching but, doing the typical "girl not into the game thing" of talking during all the important plays) and I can remember vividly getting ready for the Super Bowl XXX. It was the Steelers vs.Cowboys (the one team in the NFL I can truly say I can't stand - I'm from a Redskin home, that stuff is ingrained at birth, yo!) . *Syndi and I baked a cake for the party, got food together and I remember decorating the cake by hand and creating a Steelers Logo for the cake. I'm talking hand decorated and using my full artistic ability - it came out SO awesome. I had some practice before this because *Syndi had me paint the logo on her finger nails earlier that week - I was a manicurist at the time.
Before the game even started, *Matt dug into the cake. I scolded him and said that was the CELEBRATION CAKE! Needless to say, the Steelers lost. I was so upset, my first Super Bowl that I give a rats ass who actually wins and my team of choice, lost. I blamed it on Matt for a week, claiming he jinxed them by eating the cake too early. I knew then that I was a true fan because I didn't decide to say F the Steelers and go to a new team, I stuck by the Steelers and I have ever since.
I can also remember my first Super Bowl here in Alabama. At the time Mike wasn't that into football. He was never a sports guy either - we bond over that. Somewhere between my first year here and two years ago that all changed. My first year here the Steelers made it into the Super Bowl and I was so excited. However without friends here to celebrate with or watch the game, we really didn't do much but watch it in our apartment and cheer accordingly. I didn't watch a ton of football that year or the year after, mostly because it isn't fun for me to sit in the living room alone and watch a game - I need friends to cheer with me, or against me for me to get into it. Otherwise the roar of the crowd knocks me out cold. I've had some of my best naps watching Redskins football with my Dad. Sorry Dad.
Fast forward to about two years ago - Mike started to get more and more into watching the Steelers games with me, I had officially converted my Alabama boy into a Steelers fan (score!). In return he started to watch more and more Alabama football and I did too. We both quickly became hooked on watching the Crimson Tide. I have to say since we've started paying attention and watching not one but two games a week (pro and college) I've really started to understand football more than ever before. It can be a bit confusing at times, calls for certain things are different in college vs. pro. I've always loved college basketball more than pro basketball (GO TARHEELS & TERPS!) And I'm starting to see myself feel the same about football. I will always love the Steelers and pro-ball but there is just something so awesome about watching college kids play. They are fighting for their lives, their legacy and it seems like they have so much more to risk. They aren't making the big bucks that most NFL players are, they are playing for the game, for the fun, and most, for a professional contract. There is more passion to me in college ball - not that NFL stars aren't passionate, they love what they do and for every jackhole in the NFL that just wants the money and the paycheck there are 20 more that do it for the love of the game, for other people and to give back as well - I just enjoy the determination and passion that comes with college kids.
In one week, Mike and I will heading to our first ever SEC college football game. I am so excited I could shit twinkies! We will be there for opening game day for the Alabama Crimson Tide. I can't wait to see the stadium, to see the college, to party and tailgate all day long in grand ole' Tuscaloosa, Alabama! Forget GTL baby, it's RTR all. day. long!
|I'm totally going to be the I in TIDE. via al.com|
The toughest thing about football season is having a dear friend that roots for your biggest rival of your favorite NFL team. Salt and I don't see eye to eye on teams, but we both love football. If only we could root together for someone we would be an unstoppable cheer section fo' sho! She told me once that she has adopted the Crimson Tide as a college team and that warmed my heart - I in turn didn't get too bitter when the Ravens picked up my boy Terrence Cody this year in the NFL Draft. I wanted him to be a Steeler so bad I could taste it. This is your open invite Salt, I would love for you and Dragon to come visit and hit up a Tide game with us. Finally we could cheer for the same team! In the end I'm so happy we both love the fooseball, I just wish we didn't want to scream at each other during the games when both our beloved teams play. I am totes jealous she gets to go to the Steelers vs. Ravens game the day after my birthday this year. I have a feeling if we went to that game together we might end up killing each other (not really, but I might end up dead in the parking lot via any other die hard Raven fan). MY LOVE YOU SALT!
Stay tuned for the return of TAILGATE RECIPES! It's that time of year so I'll be making something tasty and sharing it with you all season long! If you have any requests or want to know if I've made anything in particular let me know (email or comment). Also, feel free to share your favorite game day snacks!
So I ask, who's your favorite team? Are you ready for some football?
*Names have been changed to protect people you won't know if I told you about them anyway. You ever notice how your grandmothers do that? For years my grandmother, God rest her soul, would send me letters about her neighborhood friends and always told me about them. I had no clue who these people were but in the end that didn't matter. Much like you have no clue who these people are but deal with it OK? I did for my G-ma so do it for me.