As far back as I can remember sports has always been a part of my life. As a child I watched what few games there were on television with my father and grandfather. As I grew up I became a cheerleader, first for peewee and midget football, then high school football and basketball. In college I continued as a basketball cheerleader for two years. I began following baseball when I met Eddie and soon became an avid fan. I announced the home games and ran the scoreboard during Eddie's senior year at Columbus College and even followed the team to the College World Series in California while seven months pregnant. After our marriage Eddie and I followed both college and professional sports together, especially football and baseball. Our involvement in sports grew after Trey came along. He began playing ball at age five and continued throughout school first in little league baseball, football, and basketball, then with high school baseball and football.
Our favorite teams were (and still are) the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Bulldogs, and Atlanta Falcons. We followed and supported the Braves and Falcons long before they developed winning programs. The opening day for each of these sports and teams was always an exciting and much anticipated time in our home. During college football season our house was always a place to gather and watch the big games. There were times when it was a family get-together, times when it was Trey having his friends over, and times when it was a get-together with the neighbors. There was always plenty of food, drinks, laughter, yelling, cheering, and fun. Of course it was better when our team won, but we always had a great time regardless of the outcome.
Now when each of these seasons starts I am reminded of those times and how much I miss them. I haven't had a get-together at my house for a game since Eddie's death. At first I was afraid it would be too hard without him here. Even now four years later I can still picture him sitting in his recliner, yelling at the television, and even ocassionally throwing a newspaper or magazine at the screen when things didn't go well. We always had to turn the sound down on the television during Georgia games so we could watch the game but listen to Larry Munson. I can smell the hamburgers, steaks, ribs, and chicken that Eddie grilled because you couldn't watch a game without something cooked outside. I can hear the talking and laughing that filled the house and spilled out onto the carport and deck. I can still feel the excitement when our team won and our disappointment when they lost. These are happy pleasant memories that I will always cherish. Now because of those memories I'm no longer afraid to host a get-together. It's time to bring the laughter and fun back to my house and make new memories with new people.
My love for these sports has not changed since Eddie's death, but the importance I place on them has. They were and always will be a great source of entertainment, but winning the big game is no longer a life-altering occurance as I once thought. I know now that regardless of the outcome of any game my life will go on as before. I was reminded of that this weekend with the opening of yet another college football season. I joined a group of friends at a sports bar in town to watch the big game - Georgia vs Clemson. There was the expected cheering, eating, drinking, and fun, but the outcome wasn't what I had hoped for. It was a tight game, but my team lost in the end, and although I was disappointed I didn't take it too seriously. After I got home from watching the game I didn't dwell on the loss; I didn't lose any sleep over it; and I didn't stew about it the following day. Because it is after all only a game, and in the grand scheme of life its outcome has very little meaning.