In the fall, my family goes to football games with as much purple on as possible. Birthday parties, picnics, and yes even weddings were scheduled only on away game Saturdays. Why did Shea and I get married in August and not September? Football.
We traveled to bowl games complete with car flags and magnets. And apparently really untamed, teen aged hair which a few days later I died purple. Good golly somebody give me some hair gel and a flat iron.
We live about a mile from the stadium. My fall memories are filled with tailgating, hot dogs, walking to games and screaming or crying at the top of my lungs. We sweat it out during 100-degree home openers. Sat for four hours during a downpour refusing to leave before "happy trails to you" was sung. Froze to death - only surviving by drinking hot chocolate - through four long quarters.
We been through embarrassing losing seasons where beating Bowling Green was a triumph and seasons where they announced "welcome to the field, your NUMBER-ONE RANKED WILDCATS." It still gives me chills. I cried happy tears when we beat Nebraska for the first time in 40 years and cried tears of misery when we gave up the Big 12 Championship in the final seconds.
Growing up in a college town is just different. The heartbeat of your town, the color of its people (purple), the specials on the menus, the street festival pep rallies and the common bond rises and falls with your team. And if you dare suggest you're not a fan when they lose, we'll hurl all the bandwagon insults we can muster.
I haven't had season tickets since early college (due to my Minnesota residency) after a 15-year streak. But, we're back.
Tomorrow we'll arrive just in time for the huge pep rally in the middle of downtown followed by predominantly purple fireworks. Then it's a Saturday of tailgating and four glorious hours of K-State football with seats next to my equally purple-crazed parents.
My dad will have his headphones on listening to the radio while watching the game and of course yelling advice to players. My mom will smile and roll her eyes but with unfailing dedication will recite all the cheers. I'm a combination of the both of them minus the headphones but complete with "GAAAH" and "YESSS" screams. Shea will probably tell me who is going to be drafted or why we need a playoff system, and I will have to explain once again, that's not what college football is about.
It's about a town coming together every fall. Always in purple.
Previous purple love: Bleeding purple since kindergarten