Sunday, January 2, 2011

It took 24 hours...

For the elation to calm down. For the near-to-bursting-pride to subside a tad. For the adrenaline rush of victory to allow my heart rate to return to somewhat normal. It took 24 hours for me to be able to sit still long enough to post about the Gator Bowl!

Wade went to bowl games growing up but I had previously only been to four and we lost three of those. I was eager for the kids to experience the atmosphere surrounding the game but was hesitant too. As the Mama Bulldawg, I did NOT want them to be disappointed.

Mason practicing a Heisman pose at the Alumni Pep Rally.

The days leading up to Bowl Game Day had been so much fun. But as the morning dawned, Wade and I were both a bit nervous. It's our maroon nature.

I started school at Mississippi State University 25 years ago. I attended all the football games and stayed until the bitter end. As Reflector Editor (my beloved MSU newspaper), I urged the students to do the same. Support our team. Show them we love them win, lose or draw.

And frankly, as I'm sure you can imagine by the very fact that I had to write those editorials, we lost more than our share.

A member of the Famous Maroon Band playing right by our table at the Pep Rally...he had his cowbell strapped across his shoulder for easy-access when he wasn't playing!

Living in Alabama after we married, we endured the "oh, we're playing one of those Mississippi teams" from fans of always-strong Alabama teams not wanting to give us the time of day.

Then we moved to Chicago, where Da Bears were the only football that mattered to anyone.

On to Minnesota, where it wasn't much better though we had a few friends with loyalties to various SEC schools. That helped.

And have finally landed in Arizona where nobody really understands the giant inflatable Bulldog in front of our house every Saturday.

Shraders at the Pep Rally! Loving the sea of maroon!
 But through it all -- losing seasons, moves around the country, etc -- Wade and I have remained steadfast. Loyal. True to the school that brought us together. The school where we fell in love and planned our future walking the campus at night. Where many a date WAS a football game. And where upon seeing my engagement ring, my friend exclaimed "Oh, of course, Wade would give you a football-shaped diamond."

We love MSU -- and the way you express that after graduation is by following football. Especially if you live a bazillion miles away.

Shrader kids loving on Bully!

And so, with the big kids 13 this year, we made a commitment to bring the whole family to the Bowl Game. So that they could experience the fun of a week of activities, reunions and fun with maroon-wearing friends.  Just to have a glimpse of the Bulldog Family.

My best friend from high school...Teri Smith Brinkman and I have lived across country from each other for years but in the sea of maroon yesterday, we found each other standing on chairs searching the thousands of Bulldogs for each other's face until we made contact! Oh the joy!

So finally, game day arrived! A mix-up with our tickets almost brought the whole thing to a halt. We ordered accessible seats but an error gave us great seats...that were were down a flight of stairs. The ticket office at the stadium offered to trade them in but the "new" accessible seats would be right in the middle of Michigan's side.

Ugh. I just didn't have the heart to do that (I'm sure it would have been perfectly fine, right dear Michigan fans?). So we decided to go to the closest-to-our-tickets-accessible-seats and gamble a bit. We stood and waited...when a couple came and sat in these seats, I sweet talked them into switching with two of our assigned tickets. They jumped at it. Whew. Now, at least Benjamin could be in the accessible seats. But I wanted us all together. So we waited. When five Mississippi State students came up and sat down I prayed. Then did my sweet-talking spill again. They were true gentlemen, giving us not only the five seats they occupied but an extra they had there that ensured we could all sit together! What a gift!!

Glad to be sitting TOGETHER!

Of course, within minutes of the game starting, Michigan scored and I felt a bit sick at my stomach. But then our boys got the ball and mercy, they played unlike anything I have ever seen before. We only punted twice, I think, the entire game! (Don't correct me if I am wrong...I did not keep stats...just enjoyed every minute!)

Claire -- tickled maroon with the way the game was going!

My boys laughing and singing with the band -- and loving every single minute!!

Sea of maroon!!
 As the fourth quarter got underway, my dear sweet husband turned and looked at me. "I never thought I would see this day," he said. (With all sincerity and a bit of mist in his eyes!)  I got tickled and offered a tissue and he said, "No, really. I never thought we would do this."

We could not get enough of the final scoreboard!! WooHoo!!

We relished every minute until the team left the field. We kept cheering. Smiling. High fiving. Talking to complete strangers! And um, yeah, ringing our cowbells!! (And to the precious MSU student who offered to give Mason his cowbell during the post-game celebration because he didn't think he had one...thank you! We didn't take it -- he DID have one -- but you were precious in your generosity!)

Ringing her cowbell all the way to the van...

And we grinned for hours afterward. And then again when ESPN talked about it this morning. And I'm sure there will be more grinning tomorrow...and possibly the day after! We had a blast. My crew may not understand the enormity of it for their parents, but believe me they understand how awesome a time they had and...

After the game!!
between the family time, friends, and football victories -- we all recognize what an absolute blessing the entire week has been!

Go Dawgs!


boomama said...

We talked about how much fun y'all must be having while we were watching the game! Emma Kate was here with us - as was my sister and BIL - and we just HOLLERED. Clapped and hollered. For four quarters. IT WAS GLORIOUS. :-)

Much love to y'all!

Sarah Armstrong said...

Love it!! I so wish we could have been there with you all. Mark was stomping and yelling - and he's still not over it. Even made a joke this morning about the fact that he guessed he could have gone and rolled Toomer's Corner yesterday to celebrate. :) I could tell he was as shocked and borderline emotional as Wade sounds. So glad your family could enjoy it - rest assured little Turner was in maroon and yelling "Go Dawgs" as loud as she could!


Hi, Carol!

I was so excited to finally find you on blogspot! I have been blogging on here for a few years now but with lots of lapses in between. My one resolution for the year was to get back to blogging, as it is a great outlet for thoughts, reflections, and generally having fun!

I am so glad you had fun at the game! I rooted very hard for those "dawgs" here in Michigan where I live ( it wasn't a very popular move, considering we live less than an hour from U. of M.'s campus in Ann Arbor). :))