The Return Of The Football Crazy

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned how I’ve tried to back off of college football a little bit this season. It’s not that I don’t love it – because YES, YES I DO – but this fall has had more weekend commitments than I’m used to having, and I knew that if I was trying to make it to games and and plan road trips and keep up with all the message board drama, I wouldn’t have very much time at all to write, which is sort of what my publisher expects me to be doing since, oh, I have a book due in the spring.

So I’ve backed off. I’ve only looked at the message boards a couple of times since baseball season. I haven’t been to a single college football game this year. I have been to a couple of high school games because FISH GOTTA SWIM, PEOPLE, but I’ve watched very little College Game Day. I haven’t known much about the Top 25. I’ve watched my Bulldogs on TV, of course, and I’ve watched some of the big SEC games, but I think David and Alex both would tell you that I’ve been way more balanced this year. You know, sort of like a normal person might be.

But then there was Saturday.

I woke up early Saturday morning with every intention of getting some writing done, but first I wanted to to run to the post office (all the signed books that y’all ordered are on their way to you) and play a few rounds of Candy Crush before I committed to any serious writing. Just to get my fingers good and limber, you understand.

Finally, though, I sat down to write – at that point it was probably mid-morning – and the words weren’t having anything to do with me. They were distant and uninterested and uncooperative, and everything I wrote sounded like a form of writing that Melanie and I like to call “Since the dawn of time.” It’s what happens when you try to force the words, and as a result the sentences start sounding like a high school essay with a very broad purpose.

“Since woodworkers and tradesmen first started to hone their crafts…”

“Since filmmakers first began to capture moving images in story form…”

“Since man first put pen to paper…”

“Since the dawn of time, man has wrestled with…”

You get the idea.

I eventually decided that I was in no mood for “Since the dawn of time,” and since the Mississippi State / Arkansas game was about to come on TV, I figured it couldn’t hurt to watch a couple of quarters and then get back to all the not writing I’d been doing.


By midway through the 2nd quarter I was standing in a corner of the kitchen while I watched – with my face about eight inches from the TV screen. I yelled, I admonished, I encouraged, and I said, “COME ON, NOW, SON” with more enthusiasm than I have all season. By the end of the third quarter I was wiped out, frustrated, and worried that I’d managed to waste a writing day. So I decided that if I changed locations, there was a chance I might be able to write and the ‘Dogs might be able to eek out a win.

So anyway. D said he didn’t mind if I went to Starbucks for a little while, so I hopped in the car and headed that way with hopes of helping the Bulldogs (I’m really not serious about that part) (okay maybe kind of a little bit) and working my way through the writers’ block. I took my laptop so that 1) I could continue to follow the game and 2) I could at least pretend like I was writing. I didn’t have very high hopes for it, but I was so discouraged by that point that even some good old-fashioned pretense beat nothing at all.

Once I found a table, I cracked open the laptop and checked in on the game. I also opened my Word document because, well, PRETEND TO WRITE, and then I clicked over to Twitter because I think we all know what my priorities were in that moment.

The game ended up being way more exciting than I imagined it would be – and it cracks me up to see how Twitter tells the tale.

The Bulldogs had a chance to kick a field goal for the win at the very end of regulation…

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…but we missed it. And had to go into overtime. And Kelly was miserable, too.

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But overtime was unexpectedly good for the Bulldogs.

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I felt like my decision to change locations had been a good one.

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And we won.

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Kelly grieved.

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And do you know that after that game was over, I wrote more in about forty minutes than I’d managed to write all day?

Clearly college football inspires me.

So that was our Saturday. And our Sunday was delightful. What’s even better is that we have a big, wide open week ahead of us. I’m gonna soak up every bit of it.

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all!

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  1. Well, I tried to help the Gators by leaving town and not watching at all, but alas, they need more help than I could give. (Starting with a new coach) And then, my older Baylor grad daughter and I changed seats in the living room and prayed and moaned but my nephew’s Okie State Cowboys beat up on the Bears. HOWEVER, my girls remember far too well the loosing seasons they lived through in Waco so we are just tickled to death for Baylor to be 9-1 with a really good chance to end the season at 11-1 and a great bowl game.

    Clearly, I have not backed off or been more balanced this football season! Maybe next year…

    And Sophie, you can make “Since the dawn of time” writing worth reading. Happy Thanksgiving, friend.

  2. Football wouldn’t be the same without sisters who understand the great highs and the deep deep “we haven’t won a single SEC game this season” LOWS. And the agony of defeat. It was a game of the lesser of two evils I’m afraid. At least you can make me laugh about it!

    • Melissa H says:

      Kelly, I feel your pain. I am a Tennessee fan. Somehow we managed to beat South Carolina in our only SEC win and it has been all down hill since then. It is especially hard when you know what it is to be on top.

  3. I could have traveled across country but that wouldn’t have helped my Vols. I had to tell my 74 year old mama to not speak to me after the loss, I needed a few minutes to myself to get over the game, all the while plotting a drive to Knoxville to “talk” to the team. :)))

    • Melissa H says:

      Patty, that was painful. Especially after we thought we had won. I had to go pray in the bathroom before I could speak to anyone.

  4. Miranda Scheer says:

    I am feeling your pain….I am a West Virginia fan…the Big 12 have been brutal for us this season. We are going to their last game Saturday against Iowa State. I figure we will have our pick of seats, but it will be a great time for family!

  5. We’re so glad we are rid of Bret Bielema here in Wisconsin!!!

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, sweet Sophie! Love your blog! Many blessings to you and your family.

  7. Two things: 1) I can’t wait to get my book, so glad the post office was on your list for Saturday morning, and 2) love that you went all the way to Sbux to follow on twitter. We’ve been changing locations all season and can’t seem to help the Vols get a W!

  8. Man, I love you.
    And I’m Canadian — that would be very far north — and know nothing about football — and ‘nothing’ might be a bit of an overstatement.
    But bacon — I know bacon. And that I love you something wild.
    The End.

    A Hog Farmer’s Wife. :)

  9. Samantha Shah says:

    Loved this post! Love SEC football, and I, too, try to help my team (Auburn) in any way I can…watching, not watching, changing locations, yelling louder, changing shakers, whatever it takes! Happy Thanksgiving!