‘It’s just a football game’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2002

It was a Saturday afternoon.

I was fine throughout the day, watching various college football games while cleaning up the house.

No sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Calm, cool and collected.

And then, the clock struck 6 p.m. Everything changed.

Alabama was kicking off at 6:45 p.m. This wasn’t just any game &045; this was the Tennessee game. This meant extra nerves.

So, as the clock struck 6 p.m., the ritual began.

First, I lit the important Alabama candle. The candle &045; unlike not the team &045; is undefeated, at least when it is lit at least 30 minutes before kickoff.

The two games I forgot &045; Oklahoma and Georgia &045; we lost.

What more proof do you need?

I switched over the channel to the game but was too nervous to watch.

I turned down the television and turned on the radio, listening to Eli Gold and Kenny Stabler on the Crimson Tide Network.

I was still nervous.

&uot;I will go and clean the kitchen,&uot; I said to myself. &uot;I can listen to the game but not be so nervous.&uot; Sure.

I did clean the kitchen, including all the cabinets, drawers and inside the refrigerator (so that’s where that grapefruit was).

It seems nerves are good for the adrenalin, which paid off in the form of a clean kitchen.

I had finished cleaning the kitchen and Alabama was still ahead.

Obviously, this was a sign I needed to stay in the kitchen.

Since there was nothing left to clean, I started cooking.

I cooked and cooked. There were cookies and candy and loads of Halloween treats, some more edible than others.

It was during the construction of the chocolate-covered Halloween marshmallows that it hit me I was using orange chocolate.

Orange? As in Big Orange? As in the Tennessee Volunteers?

No wonder Alabama hasn’t scored in the last three minutes. I have jinxed the team and will be responsible in the event of a loss.

I took all the orange chocolate and dumped it into the trash can.

From this time forward, I will cook with tomatoes, beets and apples &045; those were the only red things I could think of.

The phone rings. It is my mother, who is also not watching the game.

&uot;What’s the score?&uot; she said. &uot;Are we going to win?&uot;

She said she, too, was nervous and decided to vacuum during the game.

&uot;Yes, we’re going to win,&uot; I said, careful not to step outside of the obviously lucky kitchen.

&uot;Quit being so nervous. It’s just a football game.&uot;

Leada DeVaney is the president and publisher of Hartselle Newspapers Inc. which publishes the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter