It’s not just a game

Lori Cameron

Guest Columnist

I cried on New Year’s Day. Those big tears you cry when your heart is really broken. I was unable to watch the Alabama vs. Ohio State game. I called a friend of mine for some consolation (and the score). Do you know what they had the gall to tell me? “Lori, it’s just a game.” No, it most certainly is not. There are a great many men who, justifiably so, believe that women pretend to like football for whatever reason or personal gain it may bring them. I have a lot of theories on that, but I’ll just let you fill in the blanks.

I watch the games, I keep up with the stats, and I freeze my hiney off in the fall and roast in early season. I will argue with you over why I don’t like the new system of playoffs versus the old way. You wanna talk some smack? Come on, I’m ready for you! What I’m trying to say here is that I am a fan of the game. A get-out-of-the-way-I-can’t-see-the-TV kind of fan. It sounds funny, but I am dead serious when I tell you that when I watch a game at home, JR makes sure there is nothing within five feet of me in any direction. I’m not a recliner quarterback. I run with those boys. I stomp people’s feet and don’t mean to. I sit down between plays, and as soon as the ball is snapped and defense is going for the sack, I’m up and screaming again.

I live football all year long. I have a son who plays high school ball at Strong Rock. As we head toward the parking lot after the last game of the season, with his hair still wet with sweat from the game, we are talking about what time he will be home or where I need to take him Monday afternoon. That’s when training for next season starts for him.

Porter is growing up in snippets right in front of my eyes. That’s because I don’t get to see him much, anymore. Summer is football training and fishing. Fishing is really an all year thing. Fall is football and hunting. Winter is strength training, conditioning, and baseball practice. Spring is baseball and spring football practice. None of these things are “sometimes” activities. These are seven days a week activities.

My daughter was asking for money at his age to go do some social thing or other. The question I hear most from my son is, “Will you please take me up to the fields?” or “Will you take me up to Academy?” The last one is his way of asking for money. I know some of you have had teenage sons and bought everything from mouth guards to footballs, fish finders, bows, pitch backs, and bats. My clothes horse, social butterfly of a daughter was cheaper in the long run.

Football dictates my life. From what time we eat dinner to what time my youngest goes to bed on Friday nights during the first semester of school. Seriously, I plan family vacations around football schedules, which Porter usually doesn’t get to go on, anyway. I don’t mind, really. It’s his passion, his love; it motivates him to keep his grades up and keeps him socially active. There is consolation in the fact that he begins baseball practice in January. That holds us over until the summertime practice begins in earnest for football.
The interesting thing about all of this is I’ve been a single mom for most of Porter’s life. I never pushed him toward any sport or activity. He came to me with them. It’s a guy thing.

Now, let’s get back to my football. I am a 365 day a year, dyed in the wool, everything I own is orange and purple, Clemson fan. I bleed orange. My favorite song is the Tiger Rag. Don’t put the paper down; we can still be friends- for now. We may have a little friction when y’all come back to Death Valley and my Tigers hit the hill. For the record, once we get Deshaun Watson’s ACL back in fighting shape, we are a force to be reckoned with. Your Gurley girl is going away. Whatcha gonna do now? Look on the bright side; we will unite with anyone playing FSU or the Gamecocks. I would mention GT, but they don’t really make a good showing most seasons. Oooooh, burn! Let the smack talk commence and I’ll see you next season.

Lori Cameron has lived in Henry County for 22 years, except when she took a brief hiatus and then came to her senses and came home. She has loved to write stories and keep diaries since she learned to write, and finds inspiration in the things around her. Lewis Grizzard is her favorite author and hopes one day to hold a candle to him.