• Thursday, September 5, 2013

Today’s designated number: 153
         These are my most liked digits at the moment because they represent the total scores of my five favorite football teams in their winning opening games last week. My husband loves football – the game – and he’ll watch most any game in most any league – at least at the beginning of the season. He has his favorites, naturally, but my loyalty is best expressed by adding one word to Andy Griffith’s famous 1953 pigskin monologue. He said “What it was was football.” My addition: “teams!” I love football if I love the teams because we have a personal connection. My Fab Five include (alphabetically in order to keep peace in the family): Charleston Southern University, Clemson, Notre Dame, Summerville High School and the University of South Carolina.
The Buccaneers of CSU represent the alma mater of our brother in law Jon. We hold a family tailgate party there every year to cheer them on. Clemson is where our son David went and his blood definitely runneth Orange whenever the Tigers take the field. Notre Dame is my husband’s school and the place where we met while I attended St. Mary’s a college across the Dixie Highway. David and his sister Mary Clare both graduated from Summerville High. They were both in Gus Moody’s Marching Band and Jim and I attended EVERY SINGLE GAME, to cheer for the Green Wave from 1978 to 1985. What’s not to like about that plus bragging rights to far-flung friends and family as we remind them this is the home field for John McKissick, the winningest football coach in any league.
Victory number five was bestowed by the University of South Carolina, and here we hit the jackpot. Mary Clare graduated from this school as did her husband Mike. Their son and our oldest grandson, Jimmy, is a sophomore there now. The only time choosing sides is a sticky wicket is when USC and Clemson compete. Then we’re for everybody. Several years ago David installed a double sided picture frame with one side showing a Tiger with his hands around the neck of a diminutive Cocky, the Gamecock mascot. On the other side of course, Cocky is strangling a tiny Tiger. During this time of the year when any of these family members come to visit, I barely get a glancing kiss on the cheek before they repair to the den to switch the picture to “their” side.
I’m convinced my love of Notre Dame came, when in the delivery room after she determined I was okay, mom whispered “Go Irish!” into my newborn ear. She was of the era of Knute Rockne and she knew all this coach’s stats as well as every word of his “Win One for The Gipper” halftime speech. These memory clips made up our fairy tales as kids. She was delighted when I went to South Bend for college as it was then that she actually got to see ND in action. At her funeral in 2001, the priest called her “one of the Irish’s oldest and most enthusiastic fans.” She was.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this quintet of footballers carried on with winning games all season? To add to Andy’s Griffiths assessment one more time: “What it was was GREAT football.” I’m more than ready to cheer for any number of personal touchdowns!

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