Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Legend in the Making

I firmly believe my husband Jason thinks it is moments like this our children were BORN for. He very well may have been more proud in this experience than any other in Jackson's entire life.
Jackson finally came "of age" in the deFoor/Eggler family to deem himself worthy of a coveted ticket to an Alabama game. We took him to the season opener for his first experience at Bryant Denny Stadium. Jason felt it was a sure win for the team and nobody wants to see their team lose for the first time. { I would like to add this wasn't technically Jackson's first game. I was nearly 8 months pregnant with him when we last graced Jordan-Hare with our presence. Being that Auburn is my alma mater, it was fitting. War Eagle!}

Since Jason is such an avid Alabama fan, I've learned that this marriage works best if I am an amicable fan, at least until the Iron bowl. Jason has managed, despite my best efforts when he was deployed, to brainwash BOTH children into THOSE fans. You know, those overbearing, obnoxious fans. We're working on appropriate team spirit, it's a good quality.

These tickets are a pretty big deal. At $50+ a game and everyone has to have a ticket, you must really be committed to be awarded a ticket. Jasons aunt and uncle have 6 (yes, 6) season tickets and every year, we are gifted a few of them. Lucky for Jackson, they felt he was old enough to be the recipient of one this year.
He was pretty pumped up about the game, he wanted to wear his Jersey but the morning of the game, I was informed that I packed the wrong one. He wanted to wear the one with Mark Ingram's number on it. Excuuuse me. This kid is a little obsessed with Mark Ingram. Last year, he told his dad for his 6th birthday, he wanted to meet Mark Ingram. You better get on that, Jason!
It was a morning game which kinda kills the whole tailgating aspect. Nobody wants bacon and eggs at a tailgate but no one also wants burgers and chips for breakfast! The tailgating would have to wait until after the game. We parked in our old faithful parking spot but the hike to the stadium is about a mile. I'd be lying if I said Jackson didn't complain a little. I'd also be lying if I say I didn't complain...A LOT. I'm only going to say this once but it was HOT, like Africa HOT. I was melting into simple syrup as we hoofed it to the stadium(Have I mentioned I'm made of pure sugar?). We were all pretty happy to see the stadium coming into view. We watched Jackson closely to see what his first reaction was. It was "Hey, there's Nick Saban!" True, it was his oversized statue.
The real moment came when we finally got to the gate and he handed his ticket to the guard, then he got a glimpse of the field through the tunnel. Do you remember your first glimpse of "the tunnel"? It tugged at the heart strings just a little because down here, football is a BIG deal. Your first game is a BIG deal and your first encounter with 92,000 people is a BIG deal. I stood back and watched Jason proudly parade his first born son through the spiral at the stadium and up to our seats. It was a definite bonding moment, for both of them. With a quick stop for stadium drinks, we were seated for kick-off. Jackson enjoyed the first few minutes, then he became preoccupied with the soda which we usually don't allow. It wasn't mid way through the first quarter and there it was. "I've got to go to the bathroom." Ok, I'll take him, everyone else was too engrossed in the game. Back at our seats, I inquired if the stadium was as big as he thought it would be. Fully expecting him to say it was bigger. He said "Nah, I thought it was going to touch the SKY, so it's not that big." I guess we set the expectations a little too high. We continued to down the sodas and water our of sheer necessity. Did I mention it was HOT? (Oops!) Jackson had polished off the soda and was down to sucking on the ice. Sure, his hands were clean, NOT! I had even taken some of the ice to rub on my scalding legs. I'm telling you, this heat was oppressive and there was little breeze during the first half. I was sweating profusely and sweating just isn't cute.

At least 6 minutes had passed and Jackson needed to go to the bathroom, again. Jason took him this time. This same mantra went on for the entire 1st half of the game. We eventually made him wait it out. He then learned the term "football minutes." You know, when there is only 4 minutes left until half time but about 20 minutes pass before that actually comes. Yes, football minutes. Jackson thoroughly enjoyed the half time show. He was particularly fond of the flag girls. I guess those swirly flags can be a bit mesmerizing.
After half time, Jason broke out the big guns. He gave Jackson a bag of sour patch kids to devour. He ate most of the bag. It was nearing the end of the 3rd quarter and you guessed it. Bathroom time. This time, he went with Aunt Linda and he really hit the jackpot. He came back with face tattoos AND dippin dots. Lucky for us, this got him through the rest of the game, fully sugared up! The game ended in a win and we trekked it back to the car with the slight relief of clouds and a breeze (thank you, Jesus!).
In deFoor/Eggler family tradition we waited out the crowd at our favorite Mexican establishment. After we were all full and tired, we made the trip home. I think only the driver remained awake in the car, thank goodness!
Later that evening, we had managed to party so much that Jackson woke up sick. A combination of sucking ice with dirty hands, getting a little too hot and WAY too much sugar, he was sick several times through the night but woke up the next day all better. I guess you could call it a game day hangover, with sugar instead of booze.

*A special thanks to Aunt Linda and Uncle Ron for making sure everyone stays fully decked out in Alabama gear!

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