Maybe I didn’t notice it last year because I lived in the land of newlywed bliss and we just sat around staring into each other’s eyes and waiting on the other’s every need, but we sure do watch a lot of football in the Moss home.
We watch college football games. We watch NFL games. If we had channels showing the CFL games, we would probably watch those games, too. (P says actually probably not). We listen to football on the radio. Or we listen to talk radio talking about football. We attend (lots of) football games. NFL games. College games. High school games. We talk about football games, football players, football plays, football news, football controversies, football records. And then we watch some more football.
P loves football and, when I was bugging him for information for this post, he confirmed it is his favorite sport to watch. However, not his favorite to play. He was the Quarterback in high school, and according to P, he spent a lot of game time on the ground. Their team wasn’t very good. But he sure looked cute doing it.
For the record, I’m fairly knowledgeable about the sport. I grew up in a family where football reigned supreme. I had three brothers. I went to my first Mizzou Homecoming when I was three months old. I played wide receiver for my sorority’s flag football team. Take that with a grain of salt. I have a solid understanding of the fundamental elements and rules of the game and truly enjoying watching the sport. Sometimes I even call the penalty before the flag is thrown. After which I turn to P and say, “See? I know stuff.” He loves it when I do that. Who cares if it was blatant pass interference? I still know stuff.
During our engagement, a few of my friends bought me these cups.
At the time, I thought they were clever. Now, I think they are true.
I will prove my case through five Exhibits.
Saturday, September 31, 2013.
The season home opener.
Mizzou v. Murray State.
P woke up at 5 a.m. on this day to prep his tailgate treat for the week. Moo-Oink balls. Bacon-wrapped meatballs that are, of course, smoked for several hours. Because, really, everything should be smoked. And wrapped in bacon.
All of this was just fine with me. Did I have to wake up at 5 a.m.? No. Did I have to prepare the food? No. I had zero responsibility. I just had to sleep in, help pack up the car and then hit I-70 East around 11 a.m.
As Patrick waited for the Moo-Oink Balls to complete the smoking process, he watched SportsCenter in the basement. Around 6 a.m., I heard a loud squeaking noise. After I went through the usual “Where am I? What time is it? What day is it?” questions that come with any abrupt awakening, I stumbled downstairs to uncover the culprit of the incessant squeaking.
At the bottom of the stairs, in front of the guest room where my parents were staying, I found Quinton playing (squeaking loudly) with his Kong football.
Welcome to Hotel Moss. We offer comfy beds, yummy meals and a guaranteed wake up call.
I grabbed his football, threw it down the basement stairs (also in the general direction of my oblivious husband) and marched back upstairs to not go back to sleep, but rather fume in my bed for 30 minutes before getting back up and making myself a cup of coffee.
And with that, we kicked off the 2013 football season.
I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy. I liked to climb trees as a child. I played roller hockey in the street with my brothers. We built a wooden ramp for our roller blades and bikes. As a child spending my summers in Colorado with my brother and mostly male cousins, I once attempted to jump off a boulder on my bike and land while still on the bike. Attempt is the keyword. My face met the gravel that day. But, I’ve never minded being the only girl with the hoard of boys.
However, I’ve become more conscious of it during football season. We are part of a massive tailgate that takes places in Lot K every Mizzou home game. As partners in this tailgate, we also assist with the set up and take down. In order to secure a prime tailgating spot, even in your assigned lot, one must be in line prior to the parking lot opening. Depending on game time, this could be as early at 6 a.m.
This is how the conversation went every week.
Me: We have to get up at WHAT time?
P: Babe, you don’t have to come with us. You can wait and come with the girls later.
Me: But, I want to spend time with you.
P: Well, I want to spend time with you, too. But you would need to come early with us.
Me: Will I be the only girl?
Me: Great. (note: sarcasm)
As someone who doesn’t like to miss out on any of the fun, I always go early. I’ve spent many a morning curled up with a blanket in a lawn chair watching College Gameday while egg-in-a-hole was fried up on the grill.
According to P, it’s never too early for football.
Every team has its legends. Every team has moments in time forever remembered. As Mizzou fans, we have The Fifth Down and The Kicked Ball. As both my father and uncle say, enduring these moments makes us true Mizzou fans.
On Saturday, October 26, 2013, my generation of Mizzou fans had our moment.
A missed field goal in a second overtime led to a loss to South Carolina, ruining our Homecoming, perfect season, and putting our hopes of securing the SEC East title in jeopardy.
P and I sat in the same seats for every game. From the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium, we watched the Tigers go up 17-0 on the Gamecocks. At half time, we smiled and talked about how great our team was and I ate my traditional game day hotdog. And then we watched South Carolina claw back from a 17-0 deficit in the second half. We saw the kick go up. We saw the ball hit the uprights with a deafening thump. And then silence. Shock. Somewhat subtle tears. I’m way too emotionally invested in this team.
P and I followed the stream of fans out of the stadium in silence. We trudged the mile to our car in silence. We silently inched along in traffic. Lots of silence. This is what happens when we lose. There is no talking. It’s really fun. I love silence. Thanks, football.
It quickly came to my attention this year that football is now on TV every night of the week. Yes. Every. Night.
Saturday and Sunday and Monday are obvious. Thursday and Friday I can understand. Wednesday night for a special occasion? Sure. But, for the love, can’t you give us Tuesday night?
I don’t care if some team I’ve never heard of has the longest undefeated streak in the NCAA and their streak may come to an end tonight. Well, you know what? The Voice is on and all I want to do is listen to Tessanne Chin belt it. I mean, we can even compromise. I’m sure there is a rerun of Criminal Minds on ION. I’ll even watch Bizarre Foods.
Typical dialogue is as follows:
Me: P, who are these teams? I’ve never heard of them. Why do we need to watch it?
P: Because. I’ve never seen this specific game. This moment will never happen again. He smirks, knowing he doesn’t actually have any argument here.
Me: Well, I’d really like to watch something else.
P: Ok. Sure. Here you go.
He hands me the remote
Me: Thanks. That was too easy.
I smile at him all adoringly and settle down next to him on the couch.
He stands up and starts walking away.
Me: Where are you going?
P: Downstairs. To watch the game. You said you wanted to watch something else up here. That’s fine. I’ll just watch the game downstairs.
Me: But. But. But, I wanted to watch it together.
P: Ok. So, come watch the game with me in the basement.
You can see where this was going. Nowhere.
If I could make a new rule about football, it would be you are not allowed to televise football every night of the week.
Wildly exceeding our season expectations, our beloved Tigers won the SEC East Division and had a date with Auburn in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. My wonderful father-in-law hooked us up with four tickets to the game. So, P, Michael, Bree and I headed to ATL for one of Mizzou’s biggest games to-date.
We drove 13 hours in winter storm Cleon, traveling at speeds averaging 30 m.p.h. on the highways with the only other fellow travellers being the commercial truck drivers who are paid to drive in inclement weather.
We ate pre-made deli sandwiches and PB&J’s for dinner because we are cheap. (Side note: I used to complain about eating homemade deli sandwiches from Ziploc Baggies during family road trips. I’m sorry, Mom. I get it now.)
We stopped at a “Quality” Inn in Jasper, Tennessee to sleep for six hours. I managed not to touch anything in the room with my bare skin, brought our own blankets and pillows, and had to request an iron from the front desk and iron my shirt on a wooden table. They didn’t have an ironing board. I guess the iron doesn’t get a lot of use there.
In general, I have a rule about not staying in places where the door to the “hotel” room leads directly outside. It appears my personal rules for travelling were not taken into consideration by my husband when selecting our accommodations. Although, in fairness, he did run the reservation by me for approval before booking, but with a heavy caveat of “Don’t be a snob.”
We then drove another three hours to Atlanta, had some hotel room mix-ups, and ended up with a room at The Westin Peachtree Plaza. Not too shabby. Plus the hotel had a Starbucks to rid my poor taste buds of any memories of the “Quality” Inn “coffee.” Warning: I will probably put everything pertaining to the “Quality” Inn in quotations. We took a short nap in our hotel room (of which is the only picture we took while in Atlanta) and then strolled to the Stadium where we watched our team lose, but walked away with some pretty sweet souvenir cups.
We walked back to the hotel, mostly in silence (per tradition) and avoided Auburn fans like the plague. We watched the first half of the Big 10 Championship game (Ohio St. v. Michigan St.) and all four of us fell asleep by halftime.
We woke up the next morning and drove the 13 hours back to Kansas City in slightly-less-than-before-but-still-inclement weather. We pulled into our driveway late Sunday night physically and emotionally drained. Thankful for the experience. Wish we had flown.
And with that, I rest my case.
I love football. But I’m tired. Not as tired as the players who get beat up every week. Not as tired as the coaches who pour every waking moment of their lives into trying to win the game and improve their players.
Not as tired as the coaches’ wives. Or the players’ wives.
But I’m a fan’s wife. And tired nonetheless.
So, as I watch the seconds tick off the clock of the NCAA Championship game, I take a deep breath. And slowly exhale. We made it. It’s time to relax. Time for weekends free from sports. Time to eat healthier. Time for a little break from the whistles and flags and DaDaDa, DaDaDa. Time to watch something else on TV.
Oh, look. Basketball is on.