No one is born a football fan. It takes years and effort in order to turn a precious, innocent child into a savage, rabid football machine. While this is a precise process and possible for any sports parent, it also is a dangerous science with potential mistakes possible irreversible damages. Follow these few tips and you should be able o convince your children that their allegiance to their football team is tantamount to their love for their God or even their own parents.
First Impressions: Most of us were going to games before we could remember. There are stories of the police trying to run down my father as he’s handing me over the fence to a friend at Legion Field. This first game sets the foundation for football attitudes for years to come. It’s unclear if I remember my first game against Baylor or Georgia Tech but both games have come to be combined in my memory as one beautiful downtown Birmingham butt kickin.
My sister’s first game, on the other hand, was a loss for the Tide and she hasn’t been back since. She missed out on alot of different coaches and some pretty seedy stories. It was better she missed some of it. In her defense, she has recently come back into the fold. The last fewyears she started wearing Crimson Tide caps and shirts thinking it chic and this year, she and I grinded through the Auburn game together. She was a natural. It’s in the genes.
Have Fun: Make your children’s first game one that’s enjoyable and your team can win. Homecoming games a great first game opportunities for children. The games are scheduled in the fall when the football weather is perfect and most times you are pitted against the scrubs. Don’t be too confident though…I’ve seen the Tide fall to the Rebels and even the Knights of Central Florida come homecoming weekend. It can happen.
Relax: Remember to model good behavior in front of your people. This means holding it together when the team is not performing the way expected. One of the most important lessons a child can learn is how not to let it drag you down when your team loses. Don’t be a total redneck. This really takes a great deal of skill. Teach them how to be a good loser. There’s nothing worse than some fraternity punk or drunken redneck not being able to accept the honest butt kickin. Fortunately, I usually have my mom with me and she would be pretty hard to handle.
Winning: Young people need to know what it means to be a great winner. Especially at a school like Alabama, we have to come to terms with greatness and how to cope with it. After the 2012 romp in the Iron Bowl, my son wanted to jeer and cheer at Auburn fans on the way out. I explained to him that they needed no reminder of the beat down they had just received. The classy fan leaves the beaten opponent to their misery and shares cheers with winning fans. In the words of Coach Perkins, “Show your class, not your ass.”
Trinkets and Decorations: Let them buy some assorted garbage at the game. Everything from pom poms to beaded necklaces are available somewhere on the quad. Let them enjoy some artifacts from their experience. In my day we worked for our garbage. I would stand for hours and hold spaces in the restroom line for the Tide and Tiger and when I reached the front, the next paying customer would take my spot and I would return to rear. I would work just long enough to buy an over-sized styrofoam cowboy hat or pointed finger.
My son’s first game was 2008 at Bryant Denny Stadium. Bama had not beaten Auburn in six years (the year before he was born). It was a gutsy call to take him. Alabama won 36-0. I took him back, along with my daughter, in 2012. Alabama housed the Tigers 55-0. The girl was dancing at halftime (again…very gutsy). Neither of my children have ever seen anyone score a point against Alabama. I know that won’t last, but for now…so sweet.
Roll Tide Roll