When I was little, let’s say from the time I was about eight or nine until the time I was about 12 or 13, I used to go to football games with my dad almost every Saturday during the college season. The games were generally nothing memorable, unless you consider having a mostly truly awful team something to remember. You see, Dad was a season ticket holder to the Army Black Knights, a team made of up one of the finest group of young men alive: the Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA). My brother graduated from there in 1990, and Dad kept buying two season tickets every year for several years afterwards as part of the Parent’s Club.
We would get be out the door by 9:30 or 10 most weeks for a noon or 1 PM game even though it was only about an hour away. Dad didn’t like missing any of the pageantry or pomp of the day, and neither did I. On the ride up the Parkway, we’d listen to Sinatra Saturdays and he would try to explain the rules of the game to me. While I still don’t know more than the basics, I appreciate that he tried to teach me.
We’d park in one of the many lots and take a mile or so hike up to Michie Stadium. Sometimes, we’d mill around outside, looking at the reservoir across the street, or we’d talk to some of the other parents and fans. Occasionally, we would walk over and take in the parade before heading back to the stadium to settle in, waiting for the game to begin. No matter what we did, it was great way to spend a morning, just me and my dad, in a beautiful place, with an air of excitement over the coming game.
The games began with the tradition of the ball being parachuted down to the field. Everyone would wait with baited breath, hoping the cadet with the ball would land on the seal in the center of the field. I don’t know why it was so important, as it clearly never brought any sort of good “luck” no matter what happened. The guys on this team may have been the best football players the army had to offer, but let’s face it: few of them went to West Point because they had a real hope of a becoming NFL stars.
At some point during the first half, Dad would go to the concession stand and come back with hot dogs and sodas for both of us, not to mention the occasional soft pretzels. We’d sit and eat, and drink in both the Coke and the game.
Sometime when I was about 10 or 11, one of my sister’s even got me a cheerleader costume to wear to the games. From then on, for every game, I’d get all decked out in my black and gold finery, and it somehow made the games even better. Whenever I think back on those Saturdays spent sitting next to him in the stands at Michie Stadium, I have to smile. Sitting next to Dad, wearing my costume, knowing that this was a time just ours, I felt like the most important kid there. I wonder if that’s how my kids will feel when it’s their turn to do something like that with my husband.
In response to prompt number 2 in this weeks edition of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. Head on over and check out the awesomeness.