“You haven’t washed that shirt in 13 weeks?”
“Nope. I’m not going to mess with fate.”
Ruston stood together – through spirit shirts, sendoffs and even superstitions – as the Bearcats and half of the city, it seemed, traveled to New Orleans this past weekend to watch the championship game.
“We’ve got to find him. We’ve all sat together at the games, and we have to sit together again. We have to.”
Neither lucky shirts nor traditions brought home a trophy this year, but while we have next season to eagerly anticipate, this past weekend was quite remarkable individually for so many reasons.
My kids had never been to the Superdome. We go to New Orleans frequently, and while they had seen it, they never had been inside to a game. We caught the end of the St. Charles and Dunham game (which was nail-biting, and I didn’t even have a team to cheer for in that one), tailgated with the Ruston crew, and then stayed up late cheering for our Bearcats.
Football games are hard with littles – parents, you know. My kids were exhausted by 9 p.m. — which was really just about an hour after kickoff. But they held on – resting their heads in my lap on occasion, eating Dipping Dots for an extra sugar boost, and yelling at the top of their lungs – especially my older daughter.
She’s at the age now that she’s asking questions about the game. She wants to understand it, wants to cheer with everyone else. Wants to boo the refs when they make a bad call (IYKYK). Wants to know why we yell “Move the chains!”
It’s really so much fun.
So she was standing in her chair, yelling as loud as she could, oftentimes not making a lick of sense – but she had the excitement, that I’ll-cheer-for-my-team-til-the-bitter-end-and-love-them-always excitement that comes from watching a team all season.
She and I – we don’t know any of these football players personally. I didn’t graduate from Ruston, and she’s too young to be there yet. But it doesn’t matter. That’s OUR team. Those are OUR players. We are Ruston, and we are Bearcats. Always and forever, Firmly Founded.
And maybe next year, she’ll even have her own lucky shirt. But I might wash it.