Old tapes renew fall passion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

There’s something about this time of year that just makes you long for football. Last week’s slightly cooler temperatures had me dusting off my crimson and white pon poms and preparing for yet another season.

Like many people in the South, I have my favorite college football team (Alabama, of course) and follow them with a passion reserved for few things. But, I like the sport in general and can get just as much pleasure watching an exciting high school game (it helps that Hartselle wears crimson and white, too) as any professional game.

So you can imagine my excitement Saturday when I found a replay of last year’s Florida/Miami game on the television. I knew Miami won the game, but sat down and watched it anyway. It was followed by a replay of last year’s Kentucky/Arkansas game. I watched that, too.

With my anticipation at a peak, I pulled out some tapes of old Alabama games. In the pile was the 1992 Sugar Bowl, the 1999 SEC championship and the 2001 Iron Bowl. I opted for the Sugar Bowl and popped in the tape.

Within minutes, I was transported back to the game. There was Jay Barker and Gene Stallings, the awesome defense and the amazing plays. I quickly got caught up in the game and felt the old pit-in-my stomach feeling.

&uot;Come on defense, tighten up,&uot; I yelled at one point before I realized that I was indeed watching a tape.

&uot;Calm down,&uot; I said to myself. &uot;We win this one, though we sure could have looked better right there.&uot;

Shortly after the game ended, the phone rang. My dad was on the other end telling me, ironically enough, a football story.

Dad had gone to football practice with my nephew Adam, who’s in his first year of playing the sport. Adam’s a sweet kid, the kind who always says &uot;thank you&uot; and &uot;yes m’am,&uot; and part of me had a hard time picturing him smacking people on the gridiron. Apparently, Adam has some trouble with that, too.

He was walking to the field with his dad when he learned he would be playing a scrimmage game against some older boys.

&uot;You better go ahead and call the ambulance now,&uot; he told his dad.

My dad, who coached football for years, just laughed.

&uot;It reminded me of your brother,&uot; he said. &uot;He used to tell me he could’t go in the game against the big kids.&uot;

I just laughed. I didn’t tell him I was watching old football games, much less that I was getting nervous about the outcomes.

&uot;Well, I think people put way too much emphasis on football anyway,&uot; I said, trying to keep a straight face as I uttered the words.

It didn’t work.

Leada DeVaney serves as publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She can be reached at mailto:leada.devaney@hartselleenquirer.com