Category Archives: Football

You Know You’re from Alabama if:

Hi Everyone!

Alabama, maps

Map of Alabama, from the Texas Public Library Collection of maps

An email encounter with someone from out West started me thinking about what it really means to be from Alabama, and so I compiled this list.

You know you’re from Alabama if:

handshake, introduction, greeting

From, all rights reserved

1) Your first reaction upon meeting someone from any city with a population of over 1,000,000 people is to ask them if they know your sister’s neighbor’s daughter, Betty Sue, who moved to that city five years ago.

Lynyrd Skynyrd. sweet home Alabama

Lynyrd Skynyrd in Concert in 2010. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, by Andrew King.

2) The opening riffs to “Sweet Home Alabama” raise your heart beat and give you the uncontrollable urge to sing along with Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

3) You think Jimmy Buffett’s rendition of “Stars Fell On Alabama” should be the state song.

falling star

from by Broderbund. All rights reserved.

4) You are surprised to find out that neither “Sweet Home Alabama” nor “Stars Fell On Alabama'” are the state song.

5) Your definition of a “mixed marriage” means that one spouse is an Auburn fan and the other is an Alabama fan.

head scratching, wondering, thinking

From by Broderbund. All rights reserved.

6) You wonder why in a state with a large NASA facility in the north of the State, state of the art automotive manufacturers sprinkled across the center of the state, a state of the art steel plant and Airbus plant in the south of the state and several major universities,  the national news media can only find the least educated and articulate of us to interview on television.

Fan, summer, air conditioning

From by Broderbund. All rights reserved.

7) Air conditioning is a necessity, not a luxury.

8) You do not think running the heat at night and the air conditioner during the day in the spring and fall is odd.

9) You get your  coat and car keys, not a tool box,  when your husband tells you he is fixing to go somewhere.

10) You know perfectly well that there are three second person pronouns:

“You” – second person singular, as in “why don’t you come with me?”

“Y’all” –  second person plural, as in “Why don’t y’all come over to dinner?”

“All y’all”  – second person plural heightened, to be used when you are inviting large groups of people to do something instead of groups of five or less.

Picture by Torsten Bolten, on Wikimedia Commons.

Picture by Torsten Bolten, on Wikimedia Commons.

11) You think that basketball and baseball are just something they do to kill time until football season rolls back again.

12) You have ever considered the date of the Iron Bowl as something to be avoided when scheduling important family functions such as weddings, births and funerals.

13) You don’t have to ask what the term “Iron Bowl” refers to.

flag, usa map

From by Broderbund. All rights reserved.

14) You are astounded that the man who invented air conditioning does not have a national holiday named after him.

Have a great day everyone!


Super Bowl, Dog Delivery, and Helping the Local Humane Shelter

Hi Everyone!

I hope each of you had a chance to enjoy the Super Bowl Sunday night; it was one of the great ones – down to the wire, with plenty of excitement and great plays.  Some of the commercials were pretty funny, too.

Given my affinity for Volkswagen Beetles, it will not surprise you that the Volkswagen commercial where the golden retriever decided he needed to lose weight so he could chase the Beetle driving down the street was one of my favorites.  The E-trade Baby came through with his usual panache, too.  And for those of us who grew up with “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the Honda CR-V commercial with Matthew Broderick was pretty funny too.  I’d love to know if any of you had favorite commercials from the game.

In other news, Darwin was falsely accused of chewing last night.  He walked into the den with a piece of paper in his mouth, and Mark was about to scold him for chewing, when Kayla called out from her bedroom that Darwin had been given a note and been bidden to take it to Mark.  Now, I am curious to know if Darwin actually knew to bring it to Mark, or if it was just an accident that the next place he went from Kayla’s room was to Mark.  I may never know, since I am not inclined to tempt Darwin with another such piece of paper.

I got a chance to go back by one of my favorite animal shelters the other day and walk a dog at lunch.  This is a really fun way to help out your local shelter and exercise at the same time.  The dogs that are in the runs waiting to be adopted love the chance to get to stretch their legs, and also the extra attention and petting they get (at least from me) as their walker, and the walker gets exercise while feeling that for that one day he or she has made a difference, at least for that one dog.  It also may help to make more energetic dogs more adoptable by allowing them a chance to burn off a little energy so that they are not quite as hyper when people come to choose a dog from the shelter.  Yesterday, I walked a dog named Blackjack, who answers to the name of Jack.  Jack was the biggest dog I have ever walked, and from the owner of Darwin, who often resembles a small horse, that is saying something.  Jack was not nearly as tall as Darwin, but imagine a cross between a lab and a Newfoundland, and you might begin to get an idea of his size.  Jack was solid muscle, which could have been a problem but wasn’t because he had obedience training and walked like a dream, never pulling on the leash and always listening to me when I told him to come or to keep up.  Quite unlike the twins, Darwin and Mandy, in my house, who make me feel like a crazed Hittite charioteer whenever I have them on the leash and try to exit the house.  Jack hasn’t been there long, though, so it was hard to get him to wag his tail, but he finally started to once I was taking him back to his pen.  I hope to be able to go back tomorrow (Wednesday) and then I will walk someone else.

Well, that’s about all for now.  I hope each of you has a great day!


Preparing for the Super Bowl – Home Edition

Good morning everyone!

The biggest football game of the year, the Super Bowl,  is played this coming Sunday.  Here are some tips to be sure that you are ready for the big game.

1)  Pick the team you will root for in advance.

For some people, of course, this is a no brainer – they have been Giants or Patriots fans their whole lives.  Others may have decided long ago that it would be a cold day in a very, very hot place before they ever cheered for the Giants (or the Patriots) as the case may be, so their choice is easy also.  For some fans, though, choosing sides may be more difficult.  Even if your favorite team didn’t reach the Super Bowl, find some reason to pick one team over the other, even if it is as trivial as the color of the jerseys.

2) Carefully plan your menu for the big game.

It has been scientifically proven that any foods consumed between the hours of 5 p.m. CT and 9:00 p.m. CT on Super Bowl Sunday have no fat or caloric content, so go for it!  A heavy dose of appetizers and finger foods is strongly recommended, including chips and dip, cheese fries, potato skins, nachos, fried cheese and anything else you can get away with.

3) Educate small children in advance.

Carefully explain to small children that their behavior during this last game will need to be exemplary.  Help them understand that they can jump up and down and scream when the adults do, but otherwise they will have to find quiet ways to occupy their time while the game is on.

4)  Females, strongly encourage male counterparts to leave the remote control alone during the commercials for this one game.

Watching the commercials during the Super Bowl is as much a tradition as watching the game itself.  If you live in a household where the male of the house watches two programs at a time – the main show and the “commercial” show that he flips to when the main show has a commercial break – and you don’t think he can break himself of the habit, it is perfectly acceptable to hide the remote where only you can find it once the game begins.

5) Don’t forget to stock up on the beverages of your choice, so no one will have to leave the house during the game on a diet coke (or other beverage) run.

6) For “mixed” families – where members of the family are die-hard fans of opposing teams – separated by long distances, make sure the phone lines stay clear so that each side can call the other at key moments throughout the game to gloat explain the importance of crucial plays.  Unplugging your phone to prevent the other side from calling you when the game is over and your team lost is considered poor sportsmanship.

7) For the more technologically advanced, it is acceptable to tweet or text such updates rather than delivering them by phone.

8) The five hours of pre-game shows are optional, although the flag football game between former players, if they do it again this year, is worth watching.  Who wouldn’t want to see Joe Montana and Jerry Rice connect one more time for a touch down?

9) The half-time show is not optional.  A great deal of water cooler conversation the next day can revolve around the half-time show (ie., the entry into the English lexicon of the phrase “wardrobe malfunction.”)

10) Enjoy the game!  There really is nothing else like it.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Life in a Small Town: The Homecoming Parade

Hi Everyone!

Last week was a very off week for me, since I managed to develop bronchitis (yes, again, for those of us who have been with me since April and before) but I am going to try to get back into the swing of things.  Today, I’d thought I’d share with you the homecoming parade that our town held a couple of Fridays ago. 

Homecoming in a small town, especially one as small as mine, is a very special occasion.  With only three schools – one elementary school, one middle school, and the high school – you can pretty much expect the whole town to either participate in it, or to watch it.  This year was no exception.  The schools let out early the Friday afternoon before the game, and the parade started promptly at 2. 

Here are some of the people starting to congregate about 30 minutes in advance.  This was one of the less densely populated spaces but by the time the parade begins, both sides of the road are solidly lined with people for the eight blocks of the parade route:  from the high school, through downtown, over the bridge by the dam and then by City Hall and the town library. 

Veteran's Park

Parades in my town usually begin with a police escort, so the excitement began to build once we could see the lights of the police K-9 unit leading the parade in the distance.

Once the first police unit came by, a few other police cars followed, then trucks filled with city councilmen throwing candy at the bystanders came next.  (This is a tradition apparently unique to our town, but every parade has people with boxes and boxes of candy to throw out to the crowd.)  I especially like it when you see someone particularly enjoying himself while he does it. 

Having fun with the job!

The next group to arrive were the high school varsity football players.

The High School Football Team

The football team was followed by the high school’s marching band, which is a very good band, especially considering the size of our town and our high school.  The band consists of the majorettes, the flag corps, and then, of course, the musicians.  Their uniforms, which sport the high school colors of purple and gold, are resplendent in the sun.  (I suspect that an LSU fan who wandered into our town during the parade would have an eerie deja vu sensation, since the colors are very like those of the LSU Tigers, and our team is named the Tigers also.)

The Band Approaches

The band is led by the majorettes and flag corp.

The musicians come next.

And the Drums Play On

Eventually, the Homecoming Court came by on their own float.  This float is always Kayla’s favorite, and since her baton class participates in the parade, she expects me to take good pictures of it.  I never really thought about it before, but it must take a great deal of poise to sit on a truck-driven platform on a folding chair wearing an evening gown and waving gracefully.   (Obviously, the tiger behind the Homecoming Court is NOT wearing an evening dress; he is one of our mascots.)

The Homecoming Court

I found out later, in the following week’s paper, that this lovely young lady ended up being Homecoming Queen.

A number of other groups and floats passed by, including the varsity cheerleaders riding in the back of a pickup truck, several baton groups from the various groups around town, and the class floats.  In front of each class float were class representatives, mostly riding on top of convertibles.  My favorite class float was the Freshmen float and representatives. 

I liked the representatives because they had the courage to be different:

The Freshmen Representatives

And the Freshmen float because it had a more original slogan then the other three – all of their themes involved either harming Eagles or making them mad.  (Our town doesn’t have anything in general against eagles; that was just the name of the team our team was playing.)

Beat Down in T-Town

The Freshmen Float

My other favorite float was the Future Farmers of America’s float.  I just thought it turned out nicely.

Future Farmers of America Float

From my perspective, though, the most important part of the parade had yet to pass.  Before that part reached me, though, the Youth Football League put its players on display:  the Midgets, the Crickets and the Termites.  Some of the squads have age-matching cheerleaders, too.

TYFL Midget Cheerleaders

TYFL Midget Football Players

The Cricket football players were throwing candy enthusiastically with an eye to strengthening their arm:

TYFL Cricket players

But the Termite players showed more restraint – or then again, maybe not!

TYFL Termite Players

TYFL Termite Cheerleaders

Then the moment I had been waiting for arrived – Kayla’s baton group showed up!  I almost missed it, too; somehow Kayla looked so much more grown up in the parade then I expected her to. 

Kayla's Baton Group

I managed to recover in time to get two pictures though.

An array of the middle school players and cheerleaders and other organizations followed as well, and then the parade that began with a police car ended up with a fire engine.  

The end of the parade

So all was well that ended well, and a grand time was had by all – and we won the game that night, which now puts us into the high school playoffs!

Have a great day everyone!



Good morning everyone!

I had trouble focusing this morning, so we will take a break from carefully crafted paragraphs and anecdotes with beginnings, middles and ends, and venture into the realm of randomness.  

1)     You never have a good hair day the same day as an important meeting.

2)     A child possess an innate ability to pick out the most annoying toy in his or her arsenal to play with at any given moment.  Usually, that toy was purchased by someone other than the child’s parents.

3)     Pay day always seems about two days too far away.

4)     Light bulbs always blow in threes, unless you have more than three reserve light bulbs.  Then the light bulbs continue to blow quickly until you have exhausted your reserve and there still is one light out.  

5)     Mid-life female hormones and the antics of a 9-year-old child can be an incendiary combination.

6)  You never run out of spaghetti sauce in your cupboard until the day that spaghetti is your only option for supper.  You think.

7)     The urge to buy something increases in intensity geometrically to the amount of money not available to buy it.

8)     Nothing is certain except death and taxes – and the unpopularity of both.

9)     The Auburn football team always does better as an underdog.  Thank you, Associated Press and Coaches polls!

10)     Is there a limit to the number of shows that can be made about Bigfoot, Nessie and UFO’s?

11)     Reasoning with a recalcitrant computer is counter-productive; shooting it with a shot-gun is therapeutic.

12)     The only time a child will choose the option that you urge him or her to take is the time that you try to use reverse logic.

13)     Everyone is interested in the kitchen from the time supper is served, until the time dinner is over.  Unless you are No-No and Bad Dog – then your interest peaks after dinner is over, when you can illicitly scan table and counter tops for left-over food, and before someone comes to clean the kitchen and takes all those out-of-bound leftovers out of reach.

14)     You can learn to ignore the sound of a dog barking.  You cannot, however, learn to ignore the sensation of a dog standing on your hair to wake you up.

15)     Being a fan of the San Diego Padres and Chargers, Chicago Cubs and Bears and the Washington Redskins since the mid-1970s quickly teaches you not to bet on sports.

16)     I am a very blessed woman.  Thank you Mark and Kayla, my friends and the dogs for making my life wonderful.

Have a great day everyone!


New Post on the Football Novice

Hi Everyone!

This isn’t my post here for the day, but I did want to let you know that there is a new post out on the Football Novice, Downs – the Rule of Four.

For those of you who like football, I would really appreciate your taking a look and posting comments on the site about how you think I could improve.  This second blog is a new adventure for me, and I want it to be helpful to new football fans.  Thanks! 


Football Memories

Good morning everyone!

Since I still have football on the brain, I wanted to talk to you about my football memories.  FN.

My earliest football memories stem from my pre-school years, when my family lived in Annapolis, Maryland.  I can remember my dad sitting in front of the television on Sunday afternoons sound asleep.  Either myself or one of my sisters would try to sneak into the den and turn the channel to something more entertaining than a boring football game (remote controls had not yet been invented; you actually had to go to the TV set and turn a knob) only to have him announce, while still sound asleep, “Touch that dial and you will be called “Stubby” for the rest of your life.”  Since my dad was a naval officer, and we were in Annapolis because he was stationed at the Naval Academy, we also could not help become aware of a rivalry between the Navy and the Army, although I’m not sure we really understood that it stemmed from football.  I do know that I was in sixth grade before I realized that the Navy and the Army did not exist to fight each other, but rather to join in common cause to fight our nation’s enemies.  I really think, given the choice, they would prefer to fight each other anyhow, but they have called a truce in the interest of national security that is only broken when the Army-Navy game is played each year.

Then, after several years, I started high school in the Washington D.C. area while Joe Theisman was the Redskins quarterback and Joe Gibbs was the coach.  Dad made sure to instill in all three of his daughters a love for Redskins football, although we noticed that he was very conflicted when the biggest rivalry game of the season would roll around – the Redskins v. the Cowboys.  Dad always wanted the Redskins to win, but the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback, Roger Staubach (who was a Naval Academy graduate like Dad) to look good.  Either shortly before or after we left the D.C. area, the Fun Bunch began their antics, which just made a football game pure fun, and the Hogettes began their long attendance at Redskin games as well.

We moved from D.C. to Alabama.  Over time, I learned that college football was even more important than professional football, at least in Alabama.  I am ashamed to admit that during the first few years we were here, my Mom and sisters  and I looked upon the Auburn-Alabama game as a great time to do Christmas shopping – no-one else was out during the game.  It took about four years, but we too ceased to go out during the Auburn-Alabama game, and instead stayed glued to the television to see the outcome of the game.  Even as transplants, we picked sides – myself and my youngest sister are Auburn fans, and my middle sister is an Alabama fan.

That passion for Auburn football only grew when I attended Auburn, met my future husband and began going to games as a college student.  The one year we were both at  Auburn together, we had student season tickets by the Auburn Yacht Club.  They were a great group of students to sit beside.  Every score or large gain led to high fives down the entire row whether you were a member of the Yacht Club or not, and that year, because a running back named Bo Jackson was playing for our team, there were a lot of high fives!

After I graduated from college and Mark and I got married, we watched both college and professional football.  We have struck a nice balance now; we watch Auburn football with a great deal of emotional investment, but we watch NFL football simply to enjoy the game, although there are many teams that we like and we usually know who we want to win the game that we watch.  (All right, I admit the year the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season, we got pretty involved in the New York Giants’ attempt to stop them from getting that record on the last game of the regular season.  That was one of the best football games I have ever seen, and the funny thing was that it didn’t make a difference to either team in terms of where they would stand in the playoffs.  Still, I don’t believe the Giants would have beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl that same year had they not put in the extraordinary effort I saw that day, even though they ultimately lost that game.  That effort taught the Giants that the Patriots were not unbeatable, and they believed that all the way through to the final game!)

We are now intent on passing along the football traditions of our family to Kayla, and she is taking to them quite well.  She is already an avid Auburn fan, and the first question she asks at the beginning of any NFL game that we watch is “Who are we going for?”  She likes Peyton Manning and Cam Newton as quarterbacks, and I can’t wait to see how far she goes in her love of the game!

Do you have any special football memories?  Are there any teams you are particularly a fan of?  If so, I would love to hear about them from you!

Have a great weekend everyone!


FN.  I suspect the Football-on-the-brain syndrome has a lot to do with getting my new website, The Football Novice, up and running as well as with the start of the NFL pre-season!

Finally! The Football Novice Debuts

After a hard night’s work, I have been able to get my new blog, The Football Novice, up and running with two posts, plus a sidebar that lists the televised games this week.  Check it out; I would love to hear what you think, and if there are topics on there you might like to hear about.  New posts on the Football Novice are normally once a week on Fridays.


I enjoyed writing today’s post so much that I am going to start a weekly article on Yahoo Contributor going over the basic rules of American football for beginners.  Here is the link to the introductory article:

Football Fellowship

(If you read it, you will see that it bears a very strong resemblance to my post this morning, but the other columns won’t.)

Please forward this link to everyone you know of who is, or would like to be, an NFL football fan! 

Thank all of you very much for your help with this!