Monday, March 11, 2013

Wolfpack Football 2012

I love football. I love football season. I love my Wolfpack.

This football season was a season of firsts.

This was the first out-of-state NCSU football game I've ever gone to. The season opener for my Wolfpack was held in Atlanta, Georgia and we were playing against the University of Tennessee. My dad grew up outside of Knoxville so us kids have half-heartedly pulled for UT for years. They were our number one pick for the SEC (that is, until I was introduced to Tim Tebow; I then started wearing blue). This game, however, our loyalty was completely with the red side of the stadium.

My extended family has talked about this game forever. This would decide the bragging rights at Christmas gatherings for the rest of time. It was huge for our tribe.

I somehow talked my best friend Josh in being my travel buddy to this game. The two of us packed up and flew down with my parents and met the rest of my family down there. Poor guy was stuck with some loud, crazy, opinionated people for an entire weekend.

Speaking of firsts, it was also Josh's first time flying. He didn't tell me this until we were on the plane.

Our weekend in Atlanta was a comedy of errors of sorts (blog post about this eventually -- ya know, six months later). The bus ride to the football stadium was no exception. However, we made it, and we headed to a catered Wolfpack Club dinner and to the fan zone to see family and friends.

Uncle J. Paul. Everyone (no exaggeration) in Big Orange Country knows him.

Ms. Denise. She and her husband, Mr. Stanley, have had season basketball tickets beside my family for years. I love cheering on "our Pack" with her!

The Bank of America stadium was no joke. I love that they even put our schools on their field.

The season opener wasn't as pretty as I had hoped (we lost, in every way imaginable) and it was a long flight home.


A few weeks laters, I woke up shaking with adrenaline. I couldn't understand why. It was a Saturday, I should be sleeping in. Then it hit me...

It was game day in Carter-Finley. It was the first day of college football in Raleigh. It was finally the day that I got to put on my red, curl my hair, paint my face, and scream obscenities that I would never say outside of those hallowed walls.
This was the first year that I paid for season tickets.

This was the first year that my little sister was drum major of the most dangerous marching band in all the land, the Power Sound of the South.

During one of the half-time shows I snuck downstairs and threw things at her while she was conducting. I'm sure she's so glad that I'm her sister.

This was also my little brother's first year playing in the Power Sound of the South. He switched to trumpet and has loved his time as a little baby freshman.

This was also the first year that both sides of my family attended football games. My Aunt Beth Ann, her husband Doug, and their two kids came down from Pennsylvania to see the family for Thanksgiving and were able to get tickets to the football game that week.

Somehow we even convinced Granny and Granddaddy to come to a football game. Hannah and Eden were running late and couldn't hop in this family photo, but we are a smashing group in red, are we not?

The game that Granny and Grandaddy came to was the Veteran's Day game. Throughout the game, our country's veterans and current military personnel were honored, which includes my Grandaddy. My sister also took on the role as lead drum major for this game!

My cousin Morgan also got to come to a game this year. To the best of my knowledge, this was her first NCSU football game. Her dad was a die-hard NCSU fan, but her mom is raising her as a Carolina girl; it hurts my heart, but I'm always glad to see her Back the Pack!

Granny and Granddaddy with their "bandchildren"

Aunt Beth Ann

This was the first season that my group of college friends hasn't been tailgating together. Since we've all graduated, no one can sneak us into the student section anymore and we can't get parking passes all together either. This was the first season that seeing friends in the stadium was truly special. Luke and Sarah came all the way from Virginia for a game (even though I know that hugging me was more important than watching the football game).

This football season was the first one in the last five years that I didn't have Ava Michelle in the stands with me. As a former roommate, co-leader, and a forever best friend, Ava Michelle and I have always bonded over a deep, deep love for our Wolfpack. Halfway through the season, Ava Michelle said "peace out America" and went to find new adventures on other continents. This was the last time I got to see her before she left on a jet plane.

My Hannie!

My Kelsey!
This year was also my sweet friend Allysa's first year on the dance team. I loved watching her shine and shake her groove thing this season.
I love you, sweet girl :)

This was also the first season that I can remember every. single. second. of our big upset game. Football is sometimes an out-of-body experience for me, and after I scream and squeal until I can't anymore, I forget the entire thing. Now, I've been in the stands for other big games but I can't tell you details. However, the FSU game from this season is a different story.

I walked into that game knowing we were going to win. I just knew it. As I watched my boys just crap around and not WANT the football, I got so angry. I have an alternate personality that can come out from time to time in the hallowed halls of Carter-Finley stadium. Football Reba does not always say nice things to the people around her. Football Reba wishes lots of ill-will on the refs  and any players who are not playing to their potential. Football Reba gets red in the face and spits a lot.

Football Reba came out in full force for this game. My mom usually tries to calm me down and tells me not to scream so loudly, but something in my manner must have told her that I wasn't playing around; she never once talked to me about my attitude.

I watched my Wolfpack come back from behind and hold onto the lead. I screamed and screamed until I couldn't scream anymore. The people in the stands around me that had originally been shying away from me and making faces at me were all of the sudden hugging me and screaming with me. As I ran up and down the aisle to attempt to get out all of my energy, people were high-fiving me and jumping up and down with me.

At one point during the game, I thought we had lost our momentum and were about to throw away our Cinderella story of a football game. I was lying face down on the concrete floor of the stadium in tears. My mom kept saying, "We're gonna win! We're gonna win!" I looked at her and hollered, "Don't you dare jinx this!!!" Praise the Lord and all of the gods of football that she didn't and my Wolfpack pulled it out!

During my post-game FREAK OUT, I turned around and saw Josh walking down the stairs towards me. When he tells the story, he says that he just followed the squeals to find me.


The best part about our FSU win? My pastor is a huge FSU fan. I made sure to text this picture to him after the game.
After the game, I went running out of the stadium to the parking lot where I knew I could find my brother and sister. I jumped into their arms in celebration and twirled them around for a cute picture.

As all good things do, football season came to an end. My Wolfpack went out in a hoopla of fireworks and cheers from the crowd. We said goodbye to the football coach of my college career, Tom O'Brien, and welcomed a new coach, Dave Doeren, with open arms. We lost our bowl game in Nashville and immediately started looking forward to what was promised to be a basketball season like we had never seen.
Here's the good news: Only 168 days until the 2013 football season opener :)
Our hearts ever hold you, N. C. State, in the folds of our love and pride.

I will also always hold this picture in the folds of my love and pride.