Last weekend I finally made it to my very first ever Old Dominion University Football game!
As you may recall, I am a graduate of ODU. But my time at the university occurred just before they broke ground on Ted Constant Convocation Center and way before this latest version of football arrived on the Monarch scene.
“I was living in San Diego when they got the team!” I would reply whenever anyone would ask why it took so long for me to get to a game. Of course, that doesn’t really explain why I never attended one last year, or the year before that. We did, after all, move back to the area almost two years ago.
I am not, what one would call, a football fan. I am not one of those cool girls who follows the game as closely as her husband. Who owns matching jerseys and hats and wears them for every game day. And definitely not the woman who can help her man make his picks for his fantasy football team. (Unless “Cuteness Factor” is part of the scoring, in which case, I’d pick the winners every time.) I was very excited for Old Dominion when they finally got the funding and the go-ahead to create a team. But once that team hit the field, I pretty much forgot about it.
But last Saturday, I had finally made it to a game! ODU was playing New Hampshire, and I was really very sure we were going to kick their butts up and down the field. I mean, come on, it’s New Hampshire! Who knew they even had a university? (I may not be much of a football fan, but I am all about the trash talk.)
After a morning of tailgate-hopping with some sorority sisters I had attended college with, we walked into the stadium and settled in to enjoy the game. The stadium was beautiful! The cheerleaders were peppy. The scoreboard was enormous. And the sun was hot. Very, very hot. I quickly regretted my lack of sunscreen. Like an idiot, I had assumed that, since it was the first day of fall, the sun’s rays no longer worked, losing the power to burn human skin. Therefore, I no longer required SPF protection. Sitting fully exposed in the bleachers in my T-shirt and shorts, I was realizing that the sun doesn’t much care what my weather man, Jeremy Wheeler, said about the first day of anything. In fact, the sun was determined to not only prove me wrong, but give me a painful reminder never to underestimate him again!
I turned my attention to the game, by now in full swing. The crashing players, the blare of the marching band, the flying leaps of the cheerleaders, it didn’t matter. I was bored.
Like a small child who didn’t quite grasp what was going on, I clapped when the people around me clapped. I booed when the people around me booed. And when they’d rise up to their feet, angry over the other team having the ball (maybe?), I’d rise up and yell, “Kill ‘em!”
The one thing that did spell it out for me, very plainly, was the scoreboard. And the scoreboard, in its merciless glare, could not be misinterpreted. We were losing.
By a lot.
As disinterested in football as I may be, I am even less interested (if it’s possible) in watching a game that my team is not winning. Thank goodness I was there with good friends who carry on good conversations.
Halftime came and went in the shade of the concessions area. We took our time going out into that blazing sun again, but eventually made our way back to our seats.
“They’ve won every game so far this season,” my friend Jamie explained. “This is really an upset!”
“It’s probably me,” I jokingly replied. Spying the time, I knew I had to leave soon if I was going to make it to another function I was set to attend. At the end of the third quarter, I said my goodbyes.
I made my way back across Hampton Blvd., passing the parking garage my car was stashed in, and over to the bookstore. I’d realized during the game that my husband was in dire need of an official ODU T-shirt. As I perused the racks and racks (and racks!) of ODU gear, I began noticing quite a commotion over by the television that hung from the ceiling. The Monarchs turned it around, beating New Hampshire 64-61.
“Oh, hell,” I said to myself, “it really was me!”
Yes, I am ODU’s unlucky charm. Apparently it only works when I’m actually on the field. I can still watch the game, as long as I’m at a safe distance.
“So you really think you’re that important?” my friend, Debbie, responded when I told her my theory the next day.
“Hey, I’m just telling you the facts as they stand. You make your own conclusions!”
In an attempt to be a little more like those cool football-loving girls, I’ve downloaded the ODU InGame app onto my phone. I think it’ll tell me the scores of the games. I don’t know. I haven’t opened it yet. But it’s there, and that’s got to add some cool points!
I may need that app if I’m going to be at all informed of the impending homecoming game. There might possibly be a letter in my mailbox soon unofficially informing me that I am no longer welcome within 100 feet of the stadium.
Jennifer Tackett-Hilton is a Virginia Beach transplant (originally from Iowa) and Old Dominion University graduate who swore she'd never date a Navy man.... but never said she wouldn't marry one! Jennifer and her Prince Charming have two adorable (and precocious!) princesses, ages 2 and 5, and one furry pooch, Eddie.
In the (precious little) spare time she has, she enjoys crafting, shopping for new craft supplies, and writing on her blogs, EverAfterLand.com and JenEverAfter.com. You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/everafterland and follow her on http://twitter.com/jeneverafter and http://pinterest.com/jeneverafter.