So last weekend, my in-laws offered Frank and me their tickets to the Alabama-Florida Atlantic game, as well as free babysitting services for our kids while we traversed to Tuscaloosa and back. So obviously we couldn’t turn that sweet deal down.
But I wasn’t exactly prepared.
Each year before football season, I make sure the kids have plenty of crimson attire to represent their father’s alma mater on Game Day. And Frank, of course, does his part by wearing one of his many holey Tide T-shirts, including one that seems to be his favorite that boasts “I Bleed Crimson.” I think he got it at “Iron Bowl” blood drive at work one time. Only in the South can we tie a college football rivalry to sticking a needle in your arm and collecting a bag of A Positive.
But anyway, as I was getting ready for our trip earlier in the week, I realized I had no Game Day-appropriate clothes at all hanging in my closet.
I think this crimson and houndstooth deficiency may be due to my Auburn friends, who have repeatedly and very indignantly told me I am not allowed to cheer for Alabama because I graduated from the University of South Alabama. (Go Jags!)
“But I was raised by people who had framed pictures of Bear Bryant on their walls. And I think my grandparents did pay for an uncle to go there at least a semester or two. And my husband and all of his family graduated from there. Doesn’t that count for something? And isn’t it state law that you have to make a choice at birth anyway?” I would ask.
Faces would twist up.
“Well you can cheer for them if you want to but that will just make you a nasty sidewalk fan like the rest of them,” I remember one Auburn alum friend saying. And I think her blood pressure was actually going up while saying it.
It’s kind of given me a complex, so now I whisper Roll Tide instead of hollerin’ it.
But to hell with them.
We were going to the game and this sidewalker needed some cute clothes for the occasion. So naturally I headed to Old Navy. (They didn’t really have anything I cared for in the Bama attire section at the Winn Dixie — my first stop.)
And boy did I hit the jackpot at Old Navy.
There were these cute crimson-esque cropped pants and there were even tennis shoes to match.
“Roll Mother F-ing Tide,” I whispered.
Frank was going to be so proud of me. I usually wear “ridiculous” shoes to everything, which make me roll my ankles (Roll Ankle!) and fall and/or complain all night about my feet aching.
I scooped up the pants and sensible shoes and was so impressed with myself, I even picked him up a polo shirt in the same shade as my pants. He wouldn’t have to wear that horrible blood donation T-shirt. My god we were going to be so cute and coordinated, it would make us want to puke on ourselves.
I wanted to scream Roll Tide from the Old Navy sidewalk, but I just thought it instead.
I got home and pulled all of the clothes out of the bag and showed them to him — eager for him to say how awesome the shirt was and what an awesome wife I was.
But there was just silence followed by “Well that’s more of a maroon than a crimson.”
“You’re crazy,” I said. “This is totally crimson enough. I know I have seen Alabama caps and stuff in this color.”
“Well that’s really more Mississippi State,” he said. “But you can wear it. What does it matter?”
I looked at the pants and thought he must be colorblind.
“So you are not going to wear the shirt I bought you?” I asked, deflated.
“No, I’m going to wear these red pants and white shirt,” he said.
“But those are tomato red. Those definitely aren’t the right color,” I said, rather confused.
“Yeah, they’re probably more Ole Miss, but I don’t care, I’m going with it,” he said with the confidence of an alumnus.
But what was this nasty sidewalk fan to do?
Well … I decided my shade was definitely closer to crimson than his, and I still didn’t believe his “color commentary and analysis” was entirely accurate, so I threw on my crimson-esque cropped pants and matching tennis shoes and escorted my husband with his tomato red pants to Tuscaloosa.
We were so uncoordinated and clashed so horribly, I wanted to puke on us.
Rawl Tahd, I whispered with the disdain of an Auburn fan.
We arrived a couple of hours before the game and I was eager to hit the streets with the rest of the fans, sidewalk or otherwise, so I could show Frank how wrong he was about my pants.
About one block into our trek to Bryant Denny, I realized he was not.
I might as well have pulled out a cowbell. I have never felt so out of place while wearing pants that were one shade too dark in my life.
“Typical sidewalk fan,” I could just feel my Auburn friends saying about me from Jordan Hare with their faces twisted up.
What’s so ironic is the tomato red color Frank was sporting seemed to be completely acceptable, and even popular. I saw many girls who were obviously students sporting dresses in the same color and some stylishly dressed dudes wearing the same exact pants Frank had on.
But no one was wearing anything close to the shade I was wearing … except for perhaps in Starkville. People probably just thought we were a house divided (and a house they don’t even bother to make a license plate or flag for) and my husband had just brought his poor Bulldog wife along for the day. Bless her heart.
To add insult to injury or rather injury to insult in this case, the comfortable tennis shoes I had bought were not comfortable at all.
As we walked around the stadium in the 9,000-degree heat, blisters began forming on my feet.
By the time we got to our seats on the surface of the sun, my own A positive began trickling down my heels.
I can confirm, however, I really do in fact bleed a very accurate U of A shade of crimson. Seeing the blood next to shoes, I could really tell the stark — or rather Stark-ville — contrast between the two colors. At least I was sporting the right shade somewhere on my body finally.
“Roll Tide,” I whispered as I blotted the blood up with a napkin.
A few days later, judging by their color, I noticed my scabs seemed to be Mississippi State fans.
Somebody bring me my cowbell! And some Neosporin.