A Mighty Wind

It was last Wednesday, I think, when the Student Association president at State tweeted a picture of a sign that said, “We Believe 8-0.” She announced that some students were starting a movement, and they encouraged all Bulldog fans to make We Believe signs to encourage our football team that they’d be 8-0 after the Bama game. I thought her idea was a great one, but in all honesty I wondered if it would catch on. After all, when most people announce that they want to start a movement or launch a crusade or go viral or whatever, my first reaction is a teensy bit on the skeptical side because I tend to think that sort of thing works better when it’s organic.

However, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that I don’t really know anything about anything. And also that I am pretty much a marketing person’s worst nightmare because my response to any sort of strategy is usually somewhere along the lines of Hey, I’m really more of a behind the scenes person, and I’m not real big on networking-type stuff, so how about we just all get some fried chicken and talk about last night’s episode of Scandal? Does that work for y’all?

Apparently, though, the SA president at State knew exactly what she was doing (ah, youthful courage and moxie – I do envy you), because by late Wednesday afternoon, my Twitter and Facebook feeds were COVERED UP with #WeBelieve pictures and posts. It was everywhere. And by Wednesday night, my inner skeptic was dead and buried, which means that I totally jumped on the #WeBelieve bandwagon and snapped this picture of my child.


The whole #WeBelieve thing turned out to be so fun and so heartwarming. And by the time Sister rolled in to Birmingham Friday night, we were both just as fired up as we could be about going to Tuscaloosa on Saturday. We woke up Saturday morning, watched a little GameDay, then started getting ready so that we could meet some friends for lunch before we drove over to T-town. I am normally pretty low-maintenance about my football game attire, but for some reason I couldn’t decide if I wanted to dress up a little bit or go the practical route. I bet I changed clothes four times, and in doing that I got so burning up hot that I ruined my hair and had to re-style it. Before I knew it, we were running about fifteen minutes behind schedule, and I was ILL AS A HORNET because I LIKE TO BE EARLY.

Seriously. If five minutes early is good, then fifteen minutes early is better, and thirty minutes early – well, that is just bliss.

We finally made it to lunch (I went the practical route with my attire, and that turned out to be a good call), and I was so flustered by the time we walked in the restaurant that I ran straight into a sign that was right inside the door. It made such a racket that I was certain that I’d either broken A) the sign or B) my big toe, but thankfully both remained intact. My pride, however, took some time to recover.

After lunch we drove to Tuscaloosa, where we found a place to park fairly easily and spent the better part of three hours roaming around the campus. We watched the Homecoming parade, hung out for a bit at Starbucks, checked out the tissue paper signs on sorority house lawns, and basically had a lovely time. There were a couple of strange things about the afternoon, though. One was that until we went into the stadium, Sister and I could not seem to escape cigarette smoke. I don’t know if it was the sort of thing where the more we noticed it, the more we noticed it (does that make sense?), but we apparently found the tailgating section where people were enjoying the Marlboros (or the brand of their choosing, I reckon), and we couldn’t get away from it. Over the course of the afternoon it got to be a little bit like a Saturday Night Live skit. One woman even unintentionally exhaled straight into Sister’s face, and we got so tickled that we couldn’t breathe.

The second odd development is that I noticed on more than one occasion that some of the high school- and college-aged girls had forgotten to put on their pants (or leggings or SOMETHING) before they left the house. There seems to be a trend where a long shirt counts as a dress, and I would just like to address this trend in all love and say UM, NO. I think it’s a good Rule For Life that if a really good breeze (or, for that matter, leaning down to pick up something you drop) has the potential to cause you some public embarrassment, then it really can’t hurt to put on some additional clothing. I’ve seen this same trend at work here in Birmingham, but I really noticed it yesterday when everybody was walking around in their Homecoming finery. I don’t mean it in a judge-y way at all, and obviously I am a mama and old and all that, but there were a few times when I was tempted to run up to a perfectly darlin’ girl and fashion my big ole scarf into some sort of wrap skirt.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

After Dawg Walk was over, Sister and I decided to go ahead and begin the hike to our seats in the stadium. I haven’t been to Bryant-Denny since they added the upper decks to the end zones, so I didn’t have a really good frame of reference for how high up those seats are. But MY WORD. By the fourth level of the ramp I was trying to motivate myself with some pretty spirited self-talk, and by the time we got to the sixth level, I had lapsed into a prayer language and begged the Lord for mercy. Sister and I moved up the ramp at a pretty good pace, and oh, was I ever sorry for that when we finally got to the top. If I’d known at the bottom of that ramp what I knew at the top of it, I’d have gotten in line for the little shuttle thing and let someone drive me up that ramp. I might have even faked a twisted ankle in a moment of weakness.

Getting to the top of the ramp was just half the battle, though, because then we had to make the vertical ascent to our actual seats. I’m not scared of heights at all, but the stairs in that upper deck are so steep that I was afraid to turn around and look down for fear that THE VERTIGO, IT WOULD GET ME. We were on row 29, which basically means that we hiked halfway up Mt. McKinley and then braced ourselves by holding on to the bleachers while we sidestepped over to seats 25 and 26. I had no idea that watching a football game was going to require rock wall training, but I’ll know better next time to stick some ropes and carabiners into my purse.

Even though the temperature wasn’t that cold, we noticed as soon as we sat down that the wind was going to be SOMETHING ELSE. I was wearing a scarf, but within five minutes I’d pulled an even bigger scarf from my purse and wrapped it around my neck, too. And within five more minutes I’d taken that extra scarf and used it to cover my ears because, well, they were getting a little numb. It was fine, though, and we were pretty happy and good-natured about the whole BRACING OCTOBER WINDS thing when my friend Daphne took this picture of her older son, Sister, and me before the game started.

But then.

That wind picked up even more, and it seemed like there was nothing we could do to shield ourselves from it. By the end of the first quarter, Sister and I were looking more like this.

Oh. I was so very, very cold.

And by mid-way through the second quarter, I just took that gray scarf and wrapped it around my head like a tourniquet. I WAS NOT MESSING AROUND.

You see how that printed scarf is still around my neck? That’s because I used it like duct tape to seal off the air flow into the gray scarf. It was like some sort of twisted football fan edition of Survivor, y’all, and I used everything at my disposal to stay warm. Daph wasn’t wearing her coat, so that became a blanket, and luckily Daph also had some hand warmers that I tucked inside the cuffs of my sweatshirt and am now considering bronzing because they are just that dear to me. I did have the good sense to wear some really warm socks and fleece-lined shoes, so at least my feet weren’t freezing. And I’ll have you know that my tourniquet scarf kept me from getting windburn.


The game didn’t go State’s way, and while we definitely were hoping for more in that regard, it’s tough to complain about our season so far. Alabama is an incredible team – sort of eerily phenomenal at every single part of the game – and I’ll be shocked if they’re not in the National Championship game again this year. The ‘Dogs play A&M next, and I have a feeling that #WeBelieve will be going strong again this week. Because, well, we do. Our boys have come a mighty long way over the last few years.

We’ve had our #WeBelieve sign on our front door for the last couple of days – mainly for fun since we live in the middle of a whole bunch of Bama fans – and late last night when Sister and I got home, I pulled the sign off the door and moved it to our kitchen. This morning when I got out of bed, I walked down the hall and saw that the little man had made some edits.

In case you can’t see it, it says, “Sadly, we lost.”

And listen. You have to know that the comma after “Sadly” WARMED THIS ENGLISH MAJOR’S HEART.

But as much as I loved that comma, it was what I saw at the top of the sign that made me grin from ear to ear.

That boy of ours may only be nine years old, but he is already fully acquainted with Bulldog fans’ unique brand of optimism. And hopefully he’s right, because, you know, AGGIES.


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  1. I am so excited for this weekend! My in-laws and my dad are coming to town and the combination of Bulldog Bash, tailgating, and the game are going to blow their minds. We live right in the Cotton District in the middle of all the students, so we got some white noise machines for the guest rooms. =) SO.MUCH.FUN.

    • IS going to blow their minds, not ARE. Because combination is singular. Sorry, English major.

  2. This Bama fan can symapthize… I’ve climbed into the stratosphere in those end zone seats myself…. I was afraid to even lean over.
    You are rockin’ that multiple scarf look, too!

  3. Love it!!! #webelieve

  4. Great recap. I always feel like a Sherpa climbing Mount Everest at football games. Between ALL. OF. THE. STEPS. and all of our junk it is quite a conquest just to settle in. I think your plethora of scarves may start a trend….

  5. Loved your recap!

  6. Oh the scarf self-portrait is too much! And love A’s shiny optimism! Hope your week isn’t too rough living in Bammer land! I think 8-1 has a nice ring to it, come Saturday!

  7. This post was golden! I love when I discover someone else loves to get to places early and get settled. Most of the arguments in our 31 year marriage have been due to the fact my husband just does not get how important that is to me.
    And I loved it when you said you did not know you needed rock climbing classes to go to a football game!! My husband and I do both share a fear of heights – so that is a plus!
    Thinking of you and Melanie next weekend. I like you both so much I don’t want either team to lose!

  8. In all love…wait til y’all meet Johnny Football on Saturday! Gig’em!!!

  9. This recap brought back so many Bryant-Denny Stadium Memories… I haven’t been back since they added the Mt. Everest seats. Go you for surviving the climb! And I think that scarf/tournequet idea is brilliant! I’m so gonna give that a go up here in New England next time it gets cold.

  10. Loved every word of this post! We are taking the 5 year old for her first game at Davis Wade this weekend and she is TICKLED! Hopefully, it will be a good game with great (hair) weather!

    #webelieve #hailstateforever

  11. I will be at the game this weekend – my husband and I are Aggies and we managed to get ourselves some tickets! Can’t wait! I’ll be looking for ya! :)

  12. Sophie,
    You never disappoint. I enjoyed your post and tried to imagine what it would be like to have a record of 7-1. This Kentucky girl is looking at 1-8, and feeling so sad for Joker Phillips.
    Where did you eat when you were in the Bluegrass? Hope it was good :)

  13. Re the long shirts as dresses. In a similar age-revealing moment this weekend, my husband and I were helping friends chaperone their daughter’s first teenage party. Rumor had it some uninvited upperclassmen might invite themselves and cause trouble. And that did happen. But my eagle eye spotted the trouble-makers in the driveway and I reported to our friend, “I think there might be some monkeyshines going on in your driveway.”

    Monkeyshines. If that doesn’t earn a Mamaw award, I am not sure what would. And I would bring a stack of scarves, wrap those girls’ behinds up and give them a lecture about free milk and a cow.

  14. I looked for you everywhere!!!!!

  15. Oh yes, can we discuss Scandal!!!!?????

  16. I suffer from withdrawal a bit when you go a full week between posts, but ooohhh, my was it worth the wait! My abs hurt so much from laughing so long and so hard, that I almost believe I had a great workout today–nope, but I had a GREAT laugh! Thanks, Sophie!

  17. I attended a Titans game in Nashville, 4yrs ago, and I kid you not: I sat on the very top row. No one was behind me. Just the river.

    The loud speaker didn’t reach us until 3 plays later.

    Oh- and it was drizzly. And January.

    I’m pretty sure parts of my butt were left behind on the railing at the top of that stadium.

    You are my favorite Dawgs fan! xoxo

  18. Lea Margaret says:

    We STILL Believe!!!!!

  19. Well, sorry y’all lost! I’ll root for y’all again this weekend, because I was raised to hate (strong word, I know) the Aggies. And the comma? Warmed my heart. I am no English major but I have a high appreciation for correct grammar and punctuation. Like when people use your/you’re correctly. Finally, we were behind a car today in Nashville that had an Alabama plate and a Mississippi State window sticker =)

  20. I sure was pulling for y’all but it sounds like you had a great time with Sister anyway!! Your A sure does remind me of you when we were young.

  21. He is such a sweet boy!
    I saw your Instagram & could just IMAGINE how chilly you were.
    Love the pictures!!

  22. Great post! And believe you me, I noticed that beautiful comma too. I know you were proud. The other morning when asked how she slept, Annie answered, “I slept very well, Mom.” All the parenting success I need right there…

  23. Your telling of running into the sign at the restaurant had me laughing so hard I couldn’t speak! Sophie, you are an absolute gem. That post was definitely worth the wait. No one tells a story on herself like you do! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  24. This may be my favorite blog post EVER! Where to start?

    First, I have tears streaming down my face and am in certain need of a make-up reapplication.

    Second, teenage girls. OH MY WORD. We went to a concert here in the ‘Ham a couple weekends ago and I am certain I was the only female there with clothing on below the knee. Unbelieveable. Sure, I’m old enough to be their mother, but nonetheless, pants are not the enemy! (In all honesty though, if I COULD wear that big shirt look and look good doing it, you’d never find me in anything else. I’ve said for years that the reason God didn’t give me nice legs is because He knew I’d never wear pants again and that would be, well, rude.)

    And, as much as I adore the game day detail (Where is the senior ride offer when you need one?) my favorite, most favorite, can not be topped favorite part of this tale is A. “Sadly, we lost” is perfection. I’m in awe of the correct comma usage, not to mention the ADVERB. THE ADVERB. THE ADVERB.

    Well done, parents. Well done.

  25. I absolutely love your blog! I subscribed after having lunch with my publisher, who is a BooMama fan. We were discussing how many women love football, especially college football, when your blog came up.

    Now…I have to out myself as an Aggie. Yes, those storm-the-SEC upstarts from Texas. However, we do agree to both rock the maroon and white this weekend, right? And I’ll keep reading your blog whether we win or lose. Because my publisher is right: women love college football!

    And bonus points for the story about the sign. Correct grammar rocks! :D

  26. Oh my goodness….if anything could make last weekend tolerable it was reading about your climb up Mt. McKinley! Thank you!! And we are like you — we still believe in those beloved bulldogs!! Hail State!! (Love you, friend!)