ncaa-football-logoSummer is almost over and for many of us that means college football is about to begin. In the south, it is said there are three seasons:  football, recruiting and spring practice. Fans obsess over every player – who is hurt, who shows promise and who gained too much weight in the off-season. I am personally counting down the days until my football team kicks off in the Chick-Fil-A Kick-Off Classic in Atlanta, Georgia. On August 31, my alma mater, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will face off against the Virginia Tech Hokies (a hokie is a bird in case you did not know). Alabama has won the last two NCAA National Championships and three out of the last four awarded.  This year, my team will strive to win three consecutive national titles which would make them the only team in the modern era to do so. Unfortunately, there are a lot of teams standing in our way in this potentially historic season and my nails will be bitten to the nubs before it ends. However, I will be watching each week in hopes that Alabama can reach this great milestone.

There are not very many events that could pull me away from a great book, but when college football begins, that takes precedence over everything else that does not involve life and death (I can pick my book back up after the game). I learned this at the knees of my own parents who also attended the University of Alabama (as did my aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, children etc.). You do not schedule weddings on any Saturday in the fall unless you are certain it is an off week for football. Disregarding this would risk the ire of your entire family at the very least or the chance that the best man or maid of honor may walk down the aisle listening to the game on their iPods. The cable going out is cause for a major crisis and shopping centers find that Saturdays in the fall are the loneliest hours after the first college game gets underway. Even those who are not football fans quickly get used to the way that the season affects their daily lives.

College football fans are also extraordinarily superstitious. I have a number of “lucky shirts” at my disposal and if we are not doing well in a particular game, then I keep changing shirts until I find the right one. I also have a lucky spot where I sit when I watch the games. NO ONE else is allowed to sit there. My brothers and sisters are just as fanatical as I am and we spend most of the game texting each other about great or disastrous plays. The only person in my family not watching the game (unless we are ahead by at least three touchdowns) is my mother. She gets too nervous, but she does wait by the phone for our periodic updates. At age 82, she says it is just too stressful for her. But she remains one of Alabama’s most loyal fans and has been watching or listening to her Crimson Tide for over 70 years.

College football is my guilty obsession alongside reading.  Whether it is sports, or some other activity, what are your guilty obsessions in life?

– Mary AAR