College Football & Missing Dad

Days like today are what make college football season fun. It’s one of those days you wish every Saturday was like, but only a few are. There are some great matchups today:  Auburn @ Clemson,  Tennessee @ Florida,  Ohio State @ Miami and, of course, Oklahoma @ Florida State

I don’t have cable TV anymore so anything I watch I will have to watch online, which is OK, because for the one that really matters to me I’ll be watching with the Phoenix Seminole Club.

There is one thing about days like today that makes it a little less fun: the fact that I can’t just pick up the phone and call my Dad and shout “Did you see that play?” or “Do you think XXXX will be able to pull it out?” Some game days we probably talked four or five times. I’m sure my friends at the Seminole Club wondered where I disappeared to at halftime. Well, wonder no more: I was outside, talking to my Dad, discussing the first half.

My dad was a huge Miami fan, but he always rooted for FSU unless the two were playing each other. And when they did play each other? Man, oh man, it was then the ribbing & needling came out in earnest.We traded barbs about how bad the other team was. We engaged in trash talk before the game. There was more than one time when I’d call him on game day and all he’d hear for the first ten seconds of the phone call was the war chant. We’d both have a good laugh and I’d be informed that I’d better watch out, there was a Hurricane warning.

We’d watch the first half separately – I was in one city and he in another. At halftime, the trash talking was gone. It was replaced with gracious talk about how well the other team was doing or the fan of the winning team giving the losing team a reason to hope if there was a beat down in progress. Comments like “I really hope you guys can pull it together in the second half” or “Right now, today doesn’t seem like our day” or “Well, if you can just run the ball a little more, you might have a chance” were the norm. We both wanted our team to win, but neither of us relished in the other’s disappointment or arrogantly jeered the other because of a big victory. Sure, we’d tease about past victories over our foe, even the ones that hurt at the time, but never, ever, while it was a fresh wound. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s a testament to my Dad’s character and who he was as a man.

The Miami vs. FSU game in 2009 was the season opener, on Labor Day. Dad had only been gone for a few months and it was a double whammy with it being the opening of the college football season and Miami playing FSU. Miami won that one and I was more than happy to let Dad have that “W”. Now, a few years later, I still miss those days and those phone calls. Dad, I’ll be cheering for Miami today and I know you’d be cheering for the ‘Noles.

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