North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

September 10, 2013

Danielle Cater: Let the southern football festivities begin

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

NORTH JEFFERSON — Do you smell it in the air? No, it’s not the hint of fall that’s been nipping at your nose. It’s time for football in the south, and nothing says football quite like a good SEC game on television.

Yes, this weekend marked the beginning of fun-filled weeks in the north Jefferson area with high school and college football taking up our whole weekend. Last week we had the privilege of having great games Thursday through Saturday.

On the high school football front, there were lots of big matchups to start the seasons off right. Some ended in expected victories and some ended in humiliation not just on the field by the players, but by the immaturity of coaches.

I’m not sure what happened with the Walker High School and Cullman High School coaches, but it never should have resulted in punches being thrown on a football field in front of the players and families. There’s not a lot that a person can say to me to make me resort to physical altercations, and I’ll tell you, if my job depended on it, you wouldn’t get that far in my head to make me be the first one to throw a punch. So it seems that we should shift our discussions from high school football to college football so that I don’t jump up on my soap box and blast some coaches who need to learn how to grow up before trying to teach young men to do so.

If you caught the Auburn and Alabama games this weekend, then I’m betting you weren’t too bored by their outcomes.

We had a few friends come over to the house, and in the true spirit of the sport, we ate BBQ sandwiches while vegging out on the couch and yelling at our teams.

When things were going my way, some of the others in the room seemed to be depressed, since they are mostly Alabama fans, and when I would crawl, crying to the television set, it seemed that there was a cheery look on the faces of the Alabama fans in the room. But I wisened up this year and recruited a few Auburn fans to watch the game with us. It’s tough being the only Auburn fan in a family and one of the only Auburn fans in our whole circle of friends, so when I invited some friends to the house for the game, I left out the fact that they were Auburn fans when informing my die-hard Alabama husband of their plans to attend.

They walked in sporting their Auburn attire and much to my happiness, they were holding Auburn cupcakes and an Auburn sheet cake. Yes, this football season just got a lot better for this ole Aubie-lovin’ girl.

Well, Alabama played like the powerhouse team we expected them to be. There was no voice left in the room after they returned their first kick off of the season for a touchdown, echoing the fact that they were the reigning national champions in football. We watched their game with little expectation of an upset.

But no one knew what to expect of the Auburn Tigers with basically a whole new coaching staff and a new quarterback. We weren’t expected to do much, and that’s about what we did. Yes, thank God, we won the game and did show improvement over last year’s disgrace of a team, but I’m afraid if Alabama and Auburn had played each other Saturday, I would have felt the agony of defeat.

But don’t get me wrong; I’m pulling wholeheartedly for the team that I’ve called my own since I was 5 years old (much to the disgrace of my father and mother and entire rest of my family). I put so much trust in our Tigers that I’ve even placed the first bet of the season on them. If you recall last year, I lost a rather embarrassing bet which resulted in me wearing an “I hate Auburn” shirt and full Alabama attire in the days leading up to the national championship game. This year I tamed it down on the first bet and if Auburn can pull out eight victories this season, my friend’s ring tone will be the Auburn theme song for a full 30 days... 30 days that I will call him no less than 50 times per day. But, if my ride on the Gus Bus doesn’t turn out as gloriously as I have planned, God forbid, I will be forced to put my ringtone on the Alabama fight song for 30 days of agony.

Placing bets just makes the game and the season more interesting, but if you lose, it can have its pitfalls.

Yes, I live in a house divided, and it works for us. While walking through Walmart Saturday, I almost got offended when a complete stranger looked at my husband and said, “And you still love her?” Humph, the nerve! Then I realized that I was wearing my Auburn jersey while he was proudly sporting his Alabama jersey. Yes, we live in the south and we love our football teams. We probably love them a little too much, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Place a friendly bet here and there for kicks and giggles, but don’t let it ruin friendships or family relationships.

Put it in its place and it will always be fun to hang out with friends on game day. You might as well get use to it. You live in Alabama and outside of being the Bible belt, we are best known for being absolutely crazy about our love of football.