In my 32 years, I’ve traveled to many countries: Jordan, Syria, Italy, France, Ireland, England, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Belize, Canada…I love it.
Since I had kids, my traveling days have been pretty nonexistent. Until recently.
I prepared myself for a new foreign experience. I don’t speak the language, and my eyes have ignored the culture as much as possible.
I loaded up in the car with my handy tour guide, an expert in the field and walking guidebook.
Dressed for cultural assimilation, we began our 40 minute journey… to Tuscaloosa. On Gameday.
If you are a Southerner, you know what I’m talking about. Football is different down here. Fans go ALL. OUT. I have never cared for nor watched football on my own initiative. In elementary school on “team colors day,” I was confused and appeared lame in my regular attire. Just recently a man bagging my groceries asked me “Do you go for Alabama or Auburn?” When I replied neither because I don’t really watch football, he was aghast and blurted out “What is wrong with you!?” For serious.
But this time, my husband won 4 tickets to the Zone, so Bama shirts on, we loaded up 2 of the 3 kids and headed to T-town.
Moving down the interstate with throngs of fans, caravans of crimson and white cars decked out in flags & houndstooth magnets, my husband tearing up when the kids instinctively boo the opposing team driving past in buses…This is a new experience for me.
My nature rebelled, asking me why I’m wearing this bill board of a shirt, but I’m taking one for the team…my team, i.e. my family. My trusty tour guide was openly hoping for a conversion to take place in his anti-football wife. His actual words were: “I’m hoping the tradition, the pageantry and the beauty that is Alabama football takes root and you become a diehard fan.”
We did have fun. I went “all in,” wore the shirt, wore a “Beat Everybody” pin. The stadium is a giant monolith, the crowd crimson and dressed to the nines. I was definitely immersed in a culture unfamiliar. But I’ve done it! I’ve been there, seen what there is to see, stood in a mass/line to take a picture of my husband and kids with a statue (still weird…). I have experienced a big part of “my South” that I had been missing. Not a convert, but I at least gave it a taste.
Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you