When I was in college, I was so wrapped up in football. It's hard not to be when campus totally transforms beginning every Wednesday of football season, when the RVs roll into town and take over the outlying parking lots. When the tents go up on the Quad, and the energy level everywhere ramps up several notches, until we're all like quivering microbes in a petrie dish.
Then comes game day. Crowds of alumni swarm campus, 90 percent of them wearing red. I don my elephant-shaped silver earrings and poke the same red and white shakers that I've had since my first game freshman year into my back pockets.
In the stadium, the student section faces the sun. The shade creeps toward us and finally makes it five minutes before the game ends. If we're losing, we might cut out early to beat the crowd. But if we win, we stay until the last second of the game and grin at each other as we dance our way down the concrete steps, all chanting, "We just beat the hell out of you! Rammer jammer yellow hammer, give 'em hell, Alabama!"
It's tacky, and I feel a little guilty for rubbing it in, but at the same time the joy of the win is swelling in my chest and we all feel like tiny moving parts of one big animal.
I'd forgotten that feeling until this Saturday when my alma mater beat Florida. The roar of the crowd even through the TV was so loud it reminded me. Gave me that little shiver, like I felt when Bear Bryant's recorded voice mumbled on the Jumbotron pre-game.
So I'm an Alabama fan again. Since my graduation three years ago, I'd lost all interest. It was easier not to care, especially when my dad is a die-hard fan of my school's biggest rival, Auburn.
But it's nice to care again. It’s October 4, and the mornings and evenings are slightly cooler now. It's fall. It's football season.