Several years ago, I invited a couple of friends over for an Alabama football game. (For reference, this would have been Texas A&M-Alabama in 2013 in College Station. You’ll remember this was the 49-42 game when Johnny Manziel nearly brought the Aggies from behind to beat the Tide. It’s one I haven’t watched again, to be sure.)
Anyway, my friends arrived innocuously, but because it was midway through the first when Alabama was behind, a bit untimely. As they walked into the living room, they were met with a barrage of vitriol I was spewing toward the television set and the game. Make no mistake: I was yelling, and I had become almost completely unhinged.
They sort of side straddle-hopped around me, fearful of flailing limbs and angry words, and somehow made it to the couch. I looked over and their faces were awash with terror. (Next time, I’ll make sure and provide release of liability forms). They were almost pinned to the back of the couch, eyes agape, wondering if they’d made a serious mistake of venue.
After that incident, a couple of years passed by, and I eventually met my future wife. There were a few things I had to admit, caveats to dating me, if you will. So I warned her, among other things, “I get pretty upset at the Alabama games.” She didn’t like that too much, so I’ve made a conscious attempt to dial it back since then. It hasn’t worked. After four years of dealing with it, she now watches the games in the other room. We have a little dog named Henry, and even he won’t come in.
So it’s just me alone in the man cave. Sitting, standing, pacing. Drinking ginger ale on the rocks (my drink of choice). Changing shirts. Changing chairs. Alternating between celebratory and pissy. Texting my designated buddy whom I always text during the games (we all have that one person we like to vent to). Checking Facebook. Taking multiple bathroom breaks. Checking the box scores. Praying, if necessary. Willing the Crimson Tide to win.
As I think about it, there are a few unwritten rules to watching an Alabama football game at home. Here they are:
- Everything has to be under your control.
If you’re like me, watching an Alabama football game is the one thing in your life where you simply have to have everything in the right place. Control is the main factor. If you go over to someone else’s house, oftentimes you don’t know what to expect. Heck, the enemy (cough, Auburn, cough) might be over there. You never know. So you choose not to do that. You eliminate variables. You stay at your place, carve out your space, and brace yourself for anything. You have no control over the game, but you can control your environs.
- You have to have your cup.
Alabama fans always have a particular cup they like to use on game day. Usually, this is some form of tumbler. But one thing is true: it has to be large. Don’t bring your little shot glass of a cup into the man cave, no sir. Either that cup is 32 ounces and above or it has a handle on it. It may even be one you got at a gas station. No exceptions. Now, I’m not going to tell you what to put in that cup, that’s up to you, but Bama fans always need their cup.
- You can be as negative or as nice as you want, so long as no one questions your authority.
I can be as negative as I want, I can get upset with the players, the coaches, and say idiotic things, but don’t ever question me. Don’t ever tell me to calm down. Don’t ever tell me I’m being too loud. Don’t ever tell me I’m being too negative. My thoughts about my Alabama football team are tantamount to canon law.
- There has to be a “cooling off period” after the games.
Win or lose, I need at least 45 to an hour after the game for personal time and reflection. It’s like that button on the treadmill that says “Cool Down.” Like an exercise routine, I lose weight during an Alabama football game. Now that I think about it, that’s a decent idea. Make old Alabama games a workout video: “Sweatin’ to the Tide.”
“Darling, what are you up to?”
“Just working out to the ’84 Bama-Boston College game, hun!”
- Expect anything.
If you happen to go over to an Alabama fans’ house during a ball game, be ready for anything. Recliners may go airborne, framed pictures may get broken by flying objects, remote controls may be hurled through sheetrock. Like I said before, things may jump up a notch. You might consider wearing a helmet or some other kind of protective covering. Bring nunchucks in case you have to fight your way out of the war zone. These are just suggestions.
So there you go. The five unwritten (and now written) rules of watching an Alabama football game. Oh, and one more thing:
Roll Dang Tide. H&A
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Photo credit: Ashley Wilkes
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