Hard to believe another college football season kicks off this week. January is still fresh in my mind. I’ve dusted the Sugar Bowl MVP trophy more than a dozen times since it came home (no, it’s not in the Woody). The rings are insured and stashed away in a safe deposit box and all the gold pants are accounted for. We no longer talk about the 2014 season in my house, that’s so last year. Instead, we are focused on the rematch with Virginia Tech. The one that got away. It’s a stunning loss that no one can quite explain, but I saw it coming. Well, I felt it coming. More on that in second.
Every athlete has a game week routine. For thousands of years, warriors have prepared for war with some sort of ritual. Some sacrificed virgins, others prepared large feasts for the Gods they worship. When my son was in high school, his Friday night ritual was a foot long Subway sandwich with two chocolate chip cookies. I really wasn’t sure how he was going to adapt to the Saturday noon kickoffs when he first arrived at Ohio State. But two years later, he does have a routine he strictly follows. While some parents camp out in the lobby of the Blackwell Hotel hoping to get an audience with their player, I’m camped out at the Rusty Bucket in New Albany with a frosty beer. He can’t be disturbed. He is in game mode.I am a distraction.
Before go to bed, I set out my game gear. From my underwear to my earrings, everything is laid out on the couch. I wear the same thing to every game. It could be 20 degrees outside and I will have the same outfit on underneath my ski pants and North Face coat. This is important. It brings me comfort. It gives me control over a game that I have no control over. By Friday night, my nerves are shot. I’ve watched every interview given by players and coaches during game week. My stomach is in knots. There’s a lump in my throat and the muscles in my neck have tightened like a vice. I can’t breathe.
Saturday morning, the stress gets worse. My stomach refuses food, but takes coffee. An hour later, the coffee takes revenge. It’s not pretty. I worry I may not get out of the house if I keep making trips to the bathroom. My skin is crawling and I’m irritable, almost bitchy. I’m going over my parking plan. Did I get cash from the ATM? Where’s my fucking I-D? Who is sitting with me? Damn, my mother is calling me and I don’t want to talk to her right now because I’m in game mode. Is the cell phone charged? Do I have the spare charger? Is it gonna rain? Where are my keys? Do I work today? And on and on and on and on.
By the time I arrive at the Stadium, I’ve laughed, cried and vomited. It’s a game day ritual that can’t be missed. We set our watches to it. Mark my words, if I’m not having some kind of game induced panic attack, we aren’t winning the game. See Virginia Tech 2014.
Here’s to another season of stomach distress. GO BUCKS!