Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's the (Al)Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There has grown a kind of comfort in retiring to the family room on a Saturday afternoon to watch a little college football with Josh and the kids. It's not a ritual that existed in my pre-married life, and I can't say I considered it a gift for the first few seasons of our marriage. But now that I've seen my husband's enthusiasm, watched him wager sushi or drinks when Cal plays the teams his friends follow fanatically, heard him make numerous two minute phone calls to comment on this play or that injury or throw an occasional dig at the opponent, I kind of love it.

It doesn't hurt that, since Benjamin's birth, my father has kept him outfitted in all manner of Buckeye gear: sweats, jerseys, hats. When he was old enough to speak, we taught him how to say, "Go Bucks, beat the _____!" or "Go Bears!" depending on which team was playing. When Ben realized football was on T.V. this afternoon, he raced up to his room to grab his jersey. A bit later, he decided Abby needed a jersey and ran back up to get one he'd outgrown. So there they both were in their football gear: Ben snuggled next to Daddy in the overstuffed red chair, Abby swimming in her jersey and spinning round and round and round, smiling and laughing and saying, "Go Bucks!"

I sat on the couch observing the scene and feeling quiet contentment. It's a sign of the fall, the start of college football. It's a nostalgia thing, too--bringing me back to those exhilarating first days of a new school year, walking through campus in Boston, looking for my classes, wondering what my professors would be like, dreaming about where life would lead. College days--like college football--are magical.

The beginning of the season is full of possibility. Perhaps Cal will finally win their conference. Maybe Ohio State will actually win the Championship game in addition to earning a place there. The year is fresh and unmarred by stats and losses. Rankings are viewed as badges of honor or challenges to be overcome. Everyone is expectant.

It's a new addition to the list of things I look forward to in the fall, I'm a bit surprised to confess: stunning foliage, crisp air, warmer clothes, fires in the fireplace, new activities, and college football. I never expected to feel such an affection, but I like it.

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