Wednesday, August 29, 2012

That Time of the Year

It's the annual college football appreciation post!

I wasn't stoked on this year starting, to be honest. I'm battling a little bit of moodiness about...everything. The weather here sucks and life sucks and blah blah ranty teenage feelings blah.

But then things started happening.

First I went out with my friend Cheryl and she's like, "Wait, we're not going out for the start of football season?" Cheryl, mind you, went to a college that doesn't even have a football team. No, I told her. LSU isn't starting with a marquee matchup but instead playing the Mean Green of North Texas; not opening the year against an actual opponent like we did last year with Oregon. Do you know anything about the Mean Green? Of course you don't. You have a life and no need to know anything about a school in Denton, Texas. You're lucky if you have any idea where Denton is, other than, obviously, in North Texas. (Well outside of Dallas, for the record.)

Cheryl was incredulous. I'm really just not in the mood, I tried to explain. But then we got drunk. And were silly. And had more fun than I've had in a long time. "Ohhh. This is what fun feels like." Actually, before we even had fun, we decidedly WEREN'T having fun. The bar sucked. We're old. It was cold out. We'd been out all day. Is the music here usually this loud? And bad? I haven't even taken a shower today. But it was one of those, "Screw it, let's just keep drinking until it IS fun" things. So we did. And I may have inappropriately flirted with the bartender and ended up watching Chalet Girl at 3 a.m. with 2 guys from Minnesota.

Digression: My friend Sara in college was like the girliest girl I know. One of those obsessed with Sex and the City types with aspirational pictures of Paris on her walls and a ton of shoes. But being as she's Southern, she also knows minimally about football and has LSU season tickets. (Further digression: the being girly being mutually exclusive to liking sports trope always annoys the hell out of me.) Anyway, any of the super girly things I learned in college (including the time I let her cut my hair because she'd be "So good at this!" (She's not.)) are from her. She also had a penchant for all those bad sort of teen focused romcom movies. If it came out in the early '00's, Sara likely dragged me to the theater in Baton Rouge to see it. I saw Coyote Ugly, Center Stage, Sweet November, The Wedding Planner...anything of that ilk because of her. And because of Sara, I would grudgingly go see these super fucking girly movies and then fall in love with them. I may know the Coyote Ugly soundtrack and own Center Stage as a direct result of this friendship. I feel like she would LOVE Chalet Girl. I, of course, since I watched it a few weekends ago, have quickly become obsessed with it. As a result, while drunkenly hanging out with dudes, I grab the controller to their X-Box/Playstation/Whatever and am like, "You have Netflix!?!?! PUT ON CHALET GIRL!" And they did. I related this story to Linds, who I also implored to watch the movie, and she responded later:

"A few things
1. I watched chalet girl
2. Super cute, see why you like
3. You made boys watch it??? Giggle. That's my favorite part."

Giggle indeed.

Other things getting me suddenly jazzed for the start of football season: The weather also took a sudden, fantastic turn toward the pleasant. I don't know if Indian Summer will be early or short or extra long but it's currently effing gorgeous here. It feels like football weather. All warm and...sweet? It's a lot less cranky inducing, that's for sure. Makes me want to run and jump...which is weird that great weather coincides with being inside for 18 straight hours of football watching on a Saturday. But I can't pick and choose. I'll take the great weather that makes me not want to murder people over the depression inducing fog hanging over SF, even if I'm inside for the duration of Saturday. (I really wish I had the skill to set up some sort of outdoor watching rig. But I don't. So it remains a "when I win the lottery" pipe dream.) 

I am quickly warming up to kickoff, even with the reality of the Honey Badger being kicked off our team. And with an impending hurricane waiting to slam into the gulf coast, which, though the least of the problems of a hurricane, could screw up football season. (Stay safe, gulf coasters!) (Update: it appears football season will start as scheduled.) 

Digression 2: When I was first at college in Louisiana, my West Coast raised ass had no idea how to even deal with a hurricane. Neither did my North Louisiana raised roommate. (Nor La is to La what the Central Valley is to SF. Different worlds, yo.) So the first inkling of a threat happens sometime in our first semester of freshman year. I'm climbing the walls, pondering the prudence of a $400 plane ticket home to avoid this, having the endless earthquake v. hurricane debate (earthquake, every time), wondering why everyone else isn't freaking out. The Louisiana attitude toward a hurricane was quite literally to tell you to sit down, shut up, and have another drink. We ended up at the apartment of these guys, one of whom liked my roommate, that seemed a million miles away from campus (like waaay up Siegen), and was the least horrible guy's apartment I'd been in up to that point. We watched movies and they got us drunk on cheap vodka and said roommate made out with the one guy and by the time we groggily woke up in the morning from sleeping on their couch, any threat had passed and we may have had to go to class.

Every subsequent hurricane went pretty much the same: approaching threat, everyone has a hurricane party (real thing), nothing happens, maybe a few days off class, lather, rinse, repeat. I don't even recall anyone in my family being overly concerned for my safety. The one hurricane I vividly remember is my final year at LSU my friend Mer saying there was no way in god's green earth I could stay in my apartment (I lived alone) and I had to go to her place and stay with her and like five other girls. We watched endless, boring, sober, hours of the weather channel and NOTHING HAPPENED. It got a little windier than usual but it didn't even rain. A brick fireplace went down by my apartment but I'm gonna bet money on a drunk college kid ran into and blamed it on the hurricane before I'd blame the wind. I was pissed my annoying friend had pulled me away from the comfort of my own couch. 

Though I'm far from an expert, I think part of what made Katrina so awful is that for years and years and years people had been ignoring the threat. When the weather service cries wolf all the damn time, it's hard for people living there, who have lived through so many non-events, to bother getting packed up and leaving the city thinking anything will actually happen. 

I always feel a little guilty whenever anyone asks me about living in Louisiana and what I know of hurricanes because I know, essentially, nothing. I know vastly more about earthquakes. I do also like to remind them that Baton Rouge isn't exactly on the coast. On the MS River, sure. On the coast? No. But I knew plenty of guys whose hometowns were basically sandbars in the gulf. Guys who spent their summers working on shrimp boats or had brothers/cousins/uncles working rigs in the gulf. So hurricanes have had huge effects on people I know, just none directly. Sorry, anyone who asks! Happy to recount my '89 earthquake stories if you want me to though.

As the weather turns nice, as Les Miles says Les Miles things, as pretty purple and gold lights are installed on the underside of Tiger Stadium, along with lettering on the outside, the promise of a new football season brings excitement. It means I start shopping for any number of absurd items emblazoned with the LSU logo. (I'm buying these. Don't try and stop me.)

On that first Saturday we're all winners. Everything is shiny and new and your team hasn't arm punted to the other team yet. Even Navy can win a national title. I only regret I won't be in Baton Rouge to party with everyone down there. (I just discovered that Stanford's season opener is Friday night. If I can convince someone to head down there with me, I might actually go do that. I've never been to a Stanford game. Any excuse to drink Bud Light outside, amIright? I further discovered tickets are $10. That's....silly. I may be going regardless because I need some adventure, even if it's just to an enclave South of here and not The South.)

So now I'm thoroughly excited and the appropriate amount of pumped for hours upon hours of football and screaming at the TV and getting mad at prognosticators "weary" of the SEC's national title dominance. (Like we can help being the best. Pshaw.) I'll swear at Les, while loving him to death. He is seriously on my "If you could have dinner with any 3 people dead or alive" list. That man...

All that said, I don't really have a plan this football season. Our schedule is decidedly fluffy for the first few weeks this year. I'm over the bar thing, I'm not much for getting a group together and hosting at the moment. Which may be a good thing. Leaves a lot of possibilities open for where and what to do... Now to see what those are...

Want to go to there.

And remember, as always: Geaux Tigers

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