If there’s Football in Heaven, I don’t want to go!  

(Originally posted November 20, 2011)

Growing up in Alabama, it didn’t take long to see the unwavering fervor and reverence for Football that 999 out of every 1000 Alabamians holds fast: allegiance to The University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide, or Auburn University’s War Eagles…or Tigers.  Whatever.  As many of my friends can attest, I was that one token leftover, number 1000.  Big woo…. 
However, growing up in Alabama–and eventually attending The University of Alabama–valuable self-preservation skills proved essential.  Skills which continue to serve me well, even 20 years post graduation.  I will attempt to list these vital self-preservation skills for others, who like me might be living amidst contentious football fans:
#1:  MOVE!  The easiest and quickest way to pluck oneself out of the pigskin fray is to pack it up, load it on the U-Haul and find yourself a new zip-code!  Word of Caution:  Choosing a large college town as your new home could find you right back where you started, with even more uncomplimentary school colors. Plan carefully!  Another Word of Caution:  If you are addicted to Facebook, and persist in keeping in touch with friends from college days, well my friend, your pigskin is cooked!  
#2:  Keep your mouth shut and lay low.  This time of year, when emotions are running high surrounding the defense, poll rankings and Bowl contention, Laying Low is just about the best you can do.  Keeping your mouth shut can only help your cause.  Take it from someone who knows…
#3:  Learn the Essentials!  Friends can explain the rules of the game, why this coach had better be updating his resume, or the benefits of early draft picks. It matters not… those of us who are the one in a thousand will never understand, nor do we necessarily care to understand.  That being said, it is the human being’s primal desire to survive.  In a confusing world dominated by sports, specifically football, learning the essentials of a team can be a lifesaver!  
Essential 1: Memorize the History!  If there is a famous coach/player/fabled story that is revered as if blessed by God, you better take the time to learn it, and get it right!  Even for us ‘one in a thousand’ folk, there are some  things you just can’t get around.  Find out what they are and commit those details to memory.  Your life…or social standing…might depend on it.  
Essential 2:  Learn the fight song!  From personal experience, the time spent learning the words AND tune has pulled me out of more than one sticky sporting situation… A friend who cares about your health and well-being should be willing to help you with this daunting task.  
#4:  AVOID THE FATAL QUESTION: If you took the advice of #1 and got the heck out of dodge, yet find yourself chit-chatting with college friends on Facebook one Saturday in Autumn, NEVER, I repeat NEVER say, “Oh, is there a game today?” Once you hit ‘return’ on that question, there is NOTHING, and I repeat NOTHING you can do to help your cause but go straight to #2…Keep your mouth shut from that point on, and lay the lowest you possibly can.  
This all brings me to ponder how to best address the vexing evening that was last night…  Normally, on a football weekend, it doesn’t take too long to see who is the opposing rival of the week.  Yesterday was a stumper.  As I saw posts fly onto the screen of my iMac, there were so many teams names tossed about I still don’t know who it actually was that my Alma Mater, The University of Alabama was actually up against.  
Apparently there were other games influencing something about the U of A’s final standing.  There was confusing, though similar dialogue being posted from Texas friends with no obvious Alabama ties, some pulling for opposing teams, some for U of A. Alabama fans were swooning over having to cheer for USC. It was Bama and Baylor and Oklahoma and USC and even dear old Vanderbilt keeping the status updates smoking hot!  
Over the course of the evening, one friend was bidding farewell to the Ducks, the Sooners, and was finally praying for the Baptists!  There were even laments being offered for the fate of Vandy (that’s Vanderbilt in case you didn’t know…)  Much discussion surrounded one particular coach by the name of Lane Kiffin.  The general consensus seemed to be that Mr. Kiffin would be hard pressed to win a popularity contest on the UA campus or anywhere else for that matter.  If that hit to Mr. Kiffin’s self-esteem weren’t bad enough, his choice of attire on the sidelines last night was said to be reminiscent of–and I am only quoting others here–a “tampon.”  Oh my…  
I just decided that my best option was to keep the mouth shut and lay low!  Who cares what its all about anyway…I’ll just check the status feed next Saturday on Facebook and all will be clear!  
OH DEAR HEAVEN ABOVE….next Saturday….the Saturday after Thanksgiving…is the Iron Bowl!  Alabama vs. Auburn.  
Thank you God, for giving me the good sense to go with the U-Haul and a new zip code!  AMEN!!

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