my alma mater

My first experience tailgating. Mike does a good job stocking the cooler and cooking some brats. Just when the party is about to get off the hook playing nerf catch with Evan, Mike's Uncle Bill and his friend show up. They brought sandwiches and deny our chips and brats. Just then Zane tries to put the car in reverse. And someone drinks the last root beer. That's about how tailgating seems to go when you have kids and no beer.

The people with beer and no kids, however, seemed to be having a REALLY good time. Different groups of people gather behind trucks or SUV's making all sorts of loud, boisterous noises. I turn around, expecting to find something obviously funny or outrageous going on. Nope. Just some overweight men with their shirts off, beers in hand, throwing bean bags at a piece of wood with a hole in it.

The longer I listen to them hilariously laughing at the fun they are having with bean bags, I begin to believe it must be a super fun game! Part of me starts to get up from my chair determined to head over and join the fun, then I remind myself : bean bags. They are tossing bean bags. It's only fun to them because they are buzzed. Then I sit back down and say to myself 'oh that's right'. I have this conversation with myself a few times. But I might invest in a bean bag game just to be sure I'm not missing out.


I love the energy of a large collection of people in one spot. Add cheering, bright colors, soda, and cotton candy and I am all over it. You like that Oxford Comma? I like to use them. But I understand people are leaning away from using them these days. It's nothing to argue about. Just to write songs about.

We have 2 extra tickets from our neighbors, so we each take a kid and sit apart. Zane immediately complains about wanting to go home. The row in front of us is filled with middle aged men sporting crew cuts and thick necks. Their seats alternate with elementary aged sons that are well versed in shouting and cheering at the same time their dads do, but have no idea why. The man next to me has an adorable son Zane's age. He explains the game step by step as things happen. I do what he is doing to the best of my ability. I pretend to know what is going on and point at the field whenever I finally see the ball. I say something about a 20 yard line and talk a lot about the colors of their team and our team. Then fireworks explode and Zane's heart leaps out of his chest. I catch it, put it back in, and then cover his ears. He actually likes the fireworks best, despite his hyper sensitivity to noise. Thank you autism tendency.

He pulls at his blue cotton candy while I wonder if we look like a family with this guy next to us. We are good friends until he denies me the seat switch for Mike and Evan to join us. Something about enjoying the arm rests. Whatever. PANSY! Now I like him less. And I want his team to lose. Badly.

More fireworks! More of Zane complaining. He needs a drink to wash down the fluffy blue sugar. We make our way down to Mike's row. He's in the middle. I shout out for a guy to tap his shoulder. Once I have his eye, I make the international sign for PIMP by rubbing my thumb and fingers together so he can pass on over some money. People think it's funny. I secretly wish I painted our faces half maroon and half gold, but with a stripe of green down the middle just to be confusing.

Sparky is the name of the Sun Devil's mascot, which is so dumb to me. Why can't it just be a devil? Sparky sounds weak. Whenever the other team scores he does push-ups. This means nothing to the crowd. Except the lady 2 rows behind us. Who counts the push-ups out loud the way you would teach a classroom of 5 year olds how to count. Does she know she is the only one counting out loud? I never turn around to see her face. In my mind she has on a pink cardigan and pearl earrings. I don't hear her voice any other time during the game.

Each time I cross my legs my foot accidentally kicks the guy in front of me right in his crack. I lean forward to apologize every time, but he never acknowledges. I wonder if he likes it? It is hot out, I have to switch my legs a lot. I honestly think it happens 7 times. Hard.

Mike's seat neighbors trade us tickets so we get to sit as a family. I enjoy holding Evan as he falls asleep in my arms under the giant, yellow moon. Zane dives into his cup of ice. I love to see Mike's smile as his team scores and little tufts of breeze cool us as night sets in.

It turns out, that guy is right about the seats with arm rests. They ARE way more comfy.