American football in gold My son’s fate was sealed at birth. His uncle is a SuperBooster for the University of Central Florida, and from Boychild’s first Christmas (a month after he was born) he began receiving UCF Knights-themed presents. Shirts, jammies, booties, footballs…I don’t remember a black-and-gold pacifier, but if one had been available SuperUncle would have provided it.

The die was cast. He would be a UCF Knight–in spite of the fact that, among us, we’ve got the state of Florida covered, college-wise. His Highness and I got our undergrad degrees at USF in Tampa. My dad went to law school at the University of Florida. My mother went to Florida State back when it was Florida State College for Women, and Girlchild followed in her footsteps. Plus, we lived for years in Miami, which has to count for something with the University of Miami, right?

mike with football 2We couldn’t compete.  SuperUncle maintained an impressive, unbeatable campaign for eighteen unbroken years–and won. Long after getting his undergrad degree at UCF, Boychild still owns a treasure trove of Knights paraphernalia. The shirts, the tailgating tent, the tailgating chairs, the decals, the pennants, the pacifier. No, wait…there never was a pacifier. ;-)

So you can imagine what it’s like when football season starts, as it did this past week. Boychild has several season tickets…thanks to guess who? But friends and family clamor to be invited, so there’s always a group in front of the TV at our house, too, for every Knights or Seminole game.
ucf overtime game 10 1312 crop
Unless I get very, very unlucky, I’m in the home group. No offense to the teams, but Florida Septembers are unbearably hot and muggy. I like my air conditioning, my mute button, and the joy of a bathroom that isn’t four staircases away.

Plus, at home I can enjoy football my way—100% biased, and 100% sappy.

By “biased,” I mean screaming “Pass interference!” every time our receiver drops the ball. (True pass interference is not required.)

By “sappy,” I mean falling for every human-interest story the commentators serve me. I cry more at TV sports than probably is normal. Sometimes, when the cameras zoom in on the losers, I have to cover my eyes.hands over eyes

This week, watching FSU’s new quarterback, Jameis Winston, was the emotional thrill. The kid was touched by magic, and when I saw him tiny-dancing with sheer happiness on the sidelines….Yep. I teared up, and my night was complete!

How about you? Does your family get football fever? Who’s your team? Do you like to be there, or do you prefer watching at home?

24 thoughts on “The Home Team

  1. MiaMarlowe MiaMarlowe says:

    I was all set to root for the Patriots this year, but then they cut Tim Tebow. The guy cannot get a break.

    1. You’re right, Mia! Poor Tebow!

  2. Kathleen OD says:

    I don’t watch a lot of college ball, being from Canada, it is not televised as much as college ball in the US. But we all root for different NFL teams and well as CFL teams (Canadian Football League). My team in the NFL is Pittsburgh Steelers, Three of my brother’s are Cheesies as I call them, instead of Cheese heads, as they root for Packer. I don’t know what brother #4 likes.. But when we are all together watching sports can be very, very loud… A couple of years ago my oldest brother bought us all are fav Jersey’s for Xmas.. I finally had my Steeler jersey and just as I go mine, Hines Ward, who’s name & number I had on mine, retired after that season… But I wear it with pride.

    1. Kathleen, Hines Ward is such a sweetie! I think that really is one jersey you can be proud of! Laughing at your comment about the sports-watching being loud. Same around here, and I’m one of the worst offenders! 😎

  3. LOL on the SuperUncle and the pacifier! I’m not big into football, but am a diehard member of Red Sox Nation (not a bad place to be this year … nudge, nudge, Kristan YankMeFan Higgins …). I love me some ballparks, but at this point in my life would far rather skip the traffic and bathroom lines in favor of my comfy couch. So count me in on the home team!

    1. Jesse, we’re proud citizens of the Red Sox nation, too! His Highness is from Boston, so we had no hope. 🙂 The year they finally won the series, I was traveling with my sister for part of it, and each night in our hotel I tried to teach her baseball while I watched, texting His Highness the whole time. She truly thought I’d lost my mind, as we didn’t grow up watching sports on tv at all. I got home just in time to see the final game–and just in time to salvage at least a little of my relationship with my sister! She would have disowned me if she had seen the primitive jubilation that night. 🙂

  4. Kathleen, by rights I should be a Mizzou girl, at least on my mom’s side (complete with SuperUncle), but ended up an Illini instead–my dad’s alma mater. I must admit that University of Illinois football has been hard to watch after I left there, but prepped me to be a Chicago Bears fan. Meanwhile, my father has shifted all alliances to the Oregon Ducks, ever since moving back to Oregon. I enjoy live games but haven’t been in years. I do love watching NFL on my couch at home!

    1. Debbie, split homes are rough! Maybe that’s why we never watched sports in my house, as I was growing up. With my mother a Seminole and my father part Fighting Irish and part Gator, things could have turned ugly! 😉 I’ve never been very good at switching allegiance, with teams or anything else, for that matter. 😉 During our Miami years, I was a diehard Dolphins fan, and I’ve never been able to switch to any other team, even though we have been gone for years and years.

  5. catslady says:

    We are Steelers and Nitanny Lion fans. My husband, one daughter, one niece and her husband and now 2 of their children all went to Penn State so that’s a given. For 15 yrs. we had Steeler tickets until we had kids and then we eventually gave them up. Now we gather at an uncles’ house and cheer them on.

    1. Catslady, your family is true blue! How cool to have so many from the family all rooting for the same team! When my daughter was little, she inexplicably picked the Steelers as her favorite team. No one could understand it, as we really didn’t have any connections with them, until one day she explained that she thought the design on their helmets was a magic wand. 🙂

      1. catslady says:

        Oh, how adorable! I’m going to have to tell everyone at the next game 😀

  6. Kathleen, now that hubby and I spend part of the fall and winter in No. Florida, I get the mania that is college football. Even the local Christmas shop has ornaments in every team from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama!

    1. Yeah, mania is definitely the right word, Vanessa! We have school ornaments on our tree…guess that makes us part of the craziness. 🙂 But we don’t have any bobblehead players on our dashboards, so…

  7. Sandi in OH says:

    I live in Cleveland Browns territory which explains why I’m a Broncos fan. Even my dogs have Broncos shirts. A couple of winters ago we were in Disney World. We went to the ESPN Store and I got a Tebow Jersey. A few weeks later he was traded. I wouldn’t go to a football game if I was paid. I’m so short that when people stand up, I can’t see anything but their backs. Plus I never know where the ball is and I can’t hear the announcer. Television is much better.

    1. Oh, Sandi, you really made me laugh! First, I’m dying to see a picture of your dogs in Broncos shirts! Then, the idea of petite you trying to compete with all those stamping, screaming, painted young college men standing in front of you, is just too funny. I hear you about struggling to follow the ball, too. I always insist that we keep the commentary on, because without the constant explanation I’d be totally lost. Of course, I’m totally lost anyhow, but…I pick up some useful phrases to holler out. Like “Pass Interference!!!!”

  8. Kimh says:

    Cool. Yes fb fever is Here I like Florida gators
    iwatch at home
    I try to go see the my 49ers sometmedwhoo

    1. Kim, you’re a Florida gal, then? Or do you just love them from a distance? Lots of people do! I have to admit I used to have quite a crush on Joe Montana, so the 49ers were always sort of my adopted team!

  9. Our family is rabid for college football. We are big UF fans! We go all out: game day starts with the Norwegian marching out the Gator flag. He has to climb a latter to put it in its holder. Then he fires up the grill for some “game food.” We have orange and blue napkins and we drink from out Gator mugs. Then we hoot and holler and high-five. We’re pretty obnoxious, but we have a lot of fun (and we’re in the privacy of our own home). The dog doesn’t like it. She thinks there’s something terribly wrong because we’re usually such a quiet house. Poor thing is a bit traumatized during football season.

    1. Nancy, maybe the dog is a secret Seminole. 😎

      Love the idea of your themed game days! I paid more attention to the decor details when the kids were actually in school, and it made me feel connected to them. Now it’s all about providing enough good eats/drinks that I can lure them over to watch. 😉 But we do put out the flags! His Highness can be seen on the ladder every Saturday of football season, too…and can probably be heard, as well, uttering a few choice words when the mount comes loose. Do you find that yours are all rolled up onto themselves by the next day, because of the wind?

  10. Laurie G says:

    My three sons went to U-FLorida so we do cheer for the Gators.
    I graduated from U-Wisconsin so I cheer on the Badgers.
    I’m also a Green Bay Packer fan.

    1. Laurie, your alliances are all over the map! Lots to keep up with! But at least you got all three of your boys to the same school. 🙂 Well done!

  11. Shana Shana says:

    My husband isn’t called Ultimate Sportsfan for nothing. I do not get football fever. He has it enough for both of us!

    1. Too funny, Shana! He doesn’t feel sad that you won’t share his passion for football? Around here, His Highness was so smart, right from the start. He knew I hadn’t been trained as a sports fan, so he introduced me to each of the sports he cared about super carefully. He didn’t even mention how it was played, or scored, or anything boring like that. He just told me wonderful human interest stories about the players or the coaches, or the teams’ histories. He told me about fun catch-phrases like “five (or three) yards and a cloud of dust,” or how some coach was playing against the coach who had been his lifelong mentor, or about how the extra number on the jersey was for a lost teammate. As he taught me to care about the people, I had to ask about the rules so that I could know if “my guy” was winning. 🙂 It worked!

  12. CateS says:

    Married to a high school football coach – need I tell you about the relentless rewinding of game tapes I’ve sat though…. Now we live in Big Ten Country and hate the cross state rival…

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