Life with an addict’s interesting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well, it’s here. Football season. Time to rejoice—or agonize—depending on how the Alabama Crimson Tide fares each game. I live with an Alabama football addict. I also gave birth to one. They scream, “Go, go, go!” and “Touchdown, Alabama!” Or they howl their disapproval if something doesn’t go just right. When a game is over, they rehash it, sometimes praising, sometimes complaining.

Two weeks ago today, those two enjoyed the pleasure of hovering in their chairs in our living room together, cheering Alabama to victory. During most games, however, they communicate by telephone as the action on the field moves along; our son from his home in Louisiana and my husband in his recliner in front of our television.

When I met my handsome soldier husband, I had no idea he was such an enthusiastic Alabama football fan. I hadn’t a clue as to how he would react during a game. My daddy loved baseball. Growing up, I attended games with him, but I never saw him jump out of his seat, yell at the ump, or get overly excited. He immersed himself in the game, but was aware I sat beside him. He acted the same watching games on television.

The first time I attended an Alabama football game with my husband-to-be, I should have realized what an intense fan he was. He forgot all about me at kick-off. Only when we stood when the game was over did he notice I was beside him. Love is blind, they say, so when he reverted back to his attentive, loving self after that game, I forgot all about it.

But not for long. When football season rolled around the first year of our marriage, things changed. I looked forward to his free time from his soldiering duties at Ft. Jackson, S.C. We spent our Saturday afternoons at a movie, window shopping, strolling in a park, or visiting an ice cream shop. Those carefree excursions came to a grinding halt when the first football game of the season came on the radio. My love tuned it in and tuned me out. If the going got rough for Alabama, he clinched his fists, gritted his teeth, and groaned as if in pain. He cheered them on loudly and jumped for joy, rattling the dishes on the shelves in our miniscule kitchen when they made a touchdown.

All that confused me. I couldn’t understand how “just a game” turned my sweet, loving, level-headed husband into a trembling wreck hovering over a radio one minute and a wild man leaping like a frog, raising his arms and yelling “Touchdown, Alabama!” the next minute.

At first, during those miserable moments, I tried to console him. He responded with glazed eyes and a stony stare. I stepped back, feeling hurt and neglected. He didn’t even notice. Since then, I have left him to his misery and ecstasy.

I learned long ago from my two Alabama addicts, it’s not “just a game.”