Well before Gabrielle was born, I bragged to anyone who inquired that I looked forward to finally having a football buddy. Neither the wife or preteen care for sports. The only competition that attracts them is trying to win a bid on e-bay, which I admit at times is more intense than the 18th green at Augusta.
But Gabby is going to be different. I’ll train her right. She’s already on the path to fandom.
She was in this world only a few hours before I had her in my lap at the hospital, the NBA Finals blinking before us. Though I can’t be sure, I believe every other fast break did catch her infantile attention (It was that or gas).
I brought her to two Appalachian football games, including Homecoming. She seemed to have a grand time, spending two hours tailgating and three hours in the stands before conking out in the fourth quarter. One of my favorite photos has her asleep against my chest as Kidd Brewer Stadium emptied behind us.
She made it to one Appalachian basketball game. It was during a blizzard in Boone. I had good cause to bring her out. The I-AA National Champions were autographing team photos before the game, and I was hoping for some nice photos and a good keepsake. Mission accomplished on both counts. National Champion MVP Jason Hunter autographed her t-shirt, and we got photos with some of the trophies.
Later she sat in my lap and watched the game as the Mountaineers put away Montreat. She was into the fast breaks, her head going back and forth like a tennis match. It kept her attention.
I recently got out her 12-18 months outfits and found that more than one is perfect for a Saturday this fall. Before you shake your head at my apparent fatherly foolishness, please note even I think this is a bit overboard. Taking a young one to a game is one thing. Indoctrination via videos quite another.
One funny aside – most people who see us at a game together comment that Gabby will make a great cheerleader one day. I always rebuff them. We have much grander plans.