Sunday, November 3, 2013

Football Culture by MJ Fredrick

Yesterday I went to my first college football game in Austin. My son's a student at UT, it's his senior year, and I wanted to go before he graduates. I like sports, though I don't love them, but my husband is less of a fan, therefore a harder sell.

I. Had. A. Blast. I want to go again, to the next home game in two weeks. But what intrigued me wasn't the football itself, though that was fun. It was the traditions. First of all, you've never heard "The Eyes of Texas" (AKA "I've Been Working on the Railroad") played so many ways. Fast versions, slow versions, sing-along versions. Then there was the "Fight Texas Fight" chant from one side of the stadium to the other. Then there was another chant after each score, which you clap, then say something (I think it was "Go Horns Go") and make the hook 'em sign.

Bevo was there, a real longhorn that has to stay in a corner the entire game, poor thing. There were students with no shirts and the letters for Texas painted on their skinny chests. No wonder they were skinny, they were moving during the whole game.

There's the gun, Old Smokey, which is fired at the end of each quarter and after each score. There's the big drum, Big Bertha, who is spun around and beaten. There are three cheer squads, which rotate during each quarter.

The most interesting to me, someone who went to a local university, were the people. These were people who had gone to school there, some recently, most decades ago. They wore all manner of UT shirts, and knew all the traditions and chants. Most were season pass holders, so knew each other relatively well.

(This was my favorite UT shirt of the day):

This was all educational to me, especially since my hero in my novella "Two Hearts a Leaping" is a former football star who played for Crimson Tide. When I went to Alabama for my research trip, I was astounded by all the Tide spirit I saw, everywhere I looked, and I incorporated that with my hero, Liam.

Here's the blurb:
Christmas isn’t always snow-covered with a frosty chill in the air. Sometimes it’s sandy beaches with balmy breezes. 

And sometimes we find love in the most unexpected places, a place like Starfish Shores. 

Here Comes McBride by Tanya Michaels 

Shelby James has only truly loved one man — but Finn McBride broke her heart when emotional baggage from his past came between them. Now, Shelby is serving as maid of honor at a beach wedding where Finn is the best man. Will reuniting with Finn be a Christmas miracle, or the worst mistake she's ever made? 

Two Hearts a Leaping by MJ Fredrick 

After a break-up with her high school sweetheart, Harley Blume retreats to her brother's home in Starfish Shores to lick her wounds and figure out what she's doing next. But her brother is in the Coast Guard reserves and heading out of town, leaving her in the care of Liam Channing, his best friend since they played college football together. She's never been able to keep her tongue in her mouth when good-looking, easy-going Liam is around. How is she going to find her way if she can't keep her balance? 

Cruisin’ for a Kiss by Trish Milburn 

When Avery Phillips loses her magazine job right before Christmas, she heads back home to Starfish Shores to spend the holidays with the grandparents who raised her. The plan is to hit the job search hard so that she has a new position when the New Year arrives. What isn’t part of the plan is heading up a remodeling effort at her family’s beach motel or falling for the man helping to save the business into which her grandparents put a lifetime of work. As Christmas draws closer, will Avery stick to the original plan to leave town again or take a chance with Luke Taylor and a new life she never expected?

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

What about you? Have you ever been to a college football game? Any football game? Are you a fan? Did you go to college away from home and get the "college experience?"


Catherine Lee said...

YES...I've been to both college and pro football games. I went to Rutgers games as an undergraduate; EKU games as an employee; and Tampa Bay games when I lived in that area. It is a "culture" that I'm not really into. I'm not crazy about crowds and football games have CROWDS, crazy crowds.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

MJFredrick said...

You know, I thought the crowd would make me nuts, but it was really pretty reasonable. I wasn't in line for the bathroom or the snacks long, and the only reason I took so long getting out was that we were on the top level, lol! LOTS of walking.

Anonymous said...

Haven't gotten to a college or pro game yet, but our local 40 or 50 year old rival between the oldest two high schools draws from 6-10,000 people and is crazy! The year my oldest played what would have been his last game ever, it was canceled due to a tragic incident incited by violence. The picture of him alone on the field looking at the end zone on what should have been game day still makes me cry. I'm looking forward to reading Liam's story! Oh, and my sister lives in AL--but don't mention Crimson Tide to her. She went to Auburn!