It’s Football Time!

Shhh!  If you listen very closely, you can hear it.  The drummers are beginning the cadence.  Whistles are beginning to shrill.  The sound of pads hitting pads is in the air.  Yep, you guessed it; it’s football time!  Tonight, the high school marching band will be tuning up the fight song as folks pile into an oversized stadium—complete with an NFL sized JumboTron screen—for the season’s first game.  It doesn’t matter that the game is just a scrimmage against the high school up the street.  Or, that our high school has only two victories in the past three years—we’re an SAT school, don’t you know.  This is the South, baby, where Friday Night Lights is not just a TV program, but a way of life.

Let’s get something clear right up front:  I LOVE football.  Even before my family relocated to Georgia, I was a pigskin junkie.  My husband fondly tells people he knew I was a keeper the first time I shushed him so I could hear Chris Mortensen’s Redskin report on ESPN.  Seriously, he kissed me right on the spot.

Going to college at a major SEC University pretty much sealed the deal for my obsession with the game.  Football Saturday is THE social event in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Thousands of students march down Peyton Manning Boulevard behind the band, while thousands more fans arrive at the 107,000 seat stadium via boat as part of the Volunteer Navy.  Everywhere you look there is a sea of orange.  Heck, even the fire hydrants are painted orange!  It’s a scene repeated in dozens of stadiums across the South—only in a different color scheme, of course. 🙂

There is nothing like SEC football.  Okay, so with that statement I’ve made a few folks mad.  Probably even my husband, a lowly ACC guy.  But that’s what makes the fall so much fun.  The rivalries, the traditions, the tailgating, the pageantry, the body painting, the true devotion to one’s team—whether they graduated from that school or not; it’s awesome.   One never knows what will happen on any given Saturday in college football.  It’s what keeps us coming back to the game year after year, dreams of a bowl bid in our heads.

NFL football will have a season this year, too.  I heard on TV this week some frustrated housewives, probably with long ‘honey do’ lists, lamenting the fact the player’s strike was over.  As you might have guessed, I’m not one of those wives.  I never doubted Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to get things resolved and the season started.  Seriously, anyone who watched him and former Secretary of State Colin Powell recite the Preamble to the Constitution before last year’s Super Bowl has to know they are the 2012 Dream Ticket.  Come on, Roger, our country’s in crisis, Washington needs you!

The hero of my first fiction novel is a football player.  Yeah, you’re not surprised, I know.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  After all, several other authors—Susan Elizabeth Phillips, for example—have made the NFL character work.  It was fun to write, although my character isn’t based on any one individual player; more a conglomeration of guys.  Only time—and the editors—will tell if I’ve been as successful as SEP, but at least I’ve got the football fantasy out of my system.  Now, I can write about…I don’t know… accountants?  Seriously, has that been done yet?

For now, like the rest of the football fans out there, I’m going to enjoy the start of another fall, where we all stand on the precipice of the “perfect season” for our favorite team.   Until the end of that first game, of course. 🙂


About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at

Posted on August 19, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Ahhhh, Tracy. So sad to think of you wearing that awful Tennessee orange. I agree that the SEC is the superior conference and that football is in the blood. Those of us lucky enough to bleed red and black and not that hideous Tennessee orange know that this is the year Georgia will win the National Championship. I’ll be your shoulder to cry on when the season is over (or in your case the first game)!

    • Um, hello! Orange, Red and Black are out! Purple and Gold are the new colors this year! Geaux Tigers!

      I am fired up about football season, too. Tonight is our school’s annual Steak Supper fund raiser and scrimmage. Guess who is working the gate at 105 degrees this afternoon? I may literally catch on fire. 🙂

  2. Hey, as long as an SEC teams takes the championship, it’s all good. After all, I now have to spread my football love among two SEC teams. 🙂

  3. Correction: Unless it’s the Florida Gators! Still a Gator hater. (All in good fun, of course.)

    • Don’t like the Gators and the Gamecocks have the taint of Spurrier, so they are tied with Auburn for second lowest on the SEC totem pole.

  4. Being a Canadian girl who has never spent a lot of time at the football stadium (those -30 degree Grey Cup games are an absolute deterrent), I’ve always envied the enthusiasm of football fans who’ve experience the Friday Night Lights response to the game.

    In fact, I’m so enthralled by the idea of a whole town — or would that be county or state? — committed to their team that like you, Tracy, I have a book with a football hero. So now I know who to call on to show me the true spirit of football rivalry. Tracy and Christy … anyone else?

    • Sheila,
      It’s definitely an experience you have to see to believe! I can’t get to the college games more than once each year, but I love going to our high school football games each week.

  5. The title of your post brought a smile to my face immediately – I can hear those words ringing in the air on a beautiful Saturday morning – in Tennessee, of course. Happy memories!!!! I don’t care what you’ve told Austin, you’ll never really be able to cheer the Gamecocks with all your heart – your blood is orange and white, baby! 🙂

  6. OMG I am so laughing right now…because you just described my hometown. I’m in Texas…where football ranks right up there with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. 🙂

    And I’m talking high school football, in a town that bleeds purple and white. People have season tickets that they bought in 1940, and have passed down their seats to their kids and grandkids. No one gives them up. You go to games on Friday night from the time you are 2 till you are 92. Like you mentioned the fire hydrants? Yep…purple. Our team is the Indians, and the fight song is Cherokee played by the marching band in a marching “I” which has been a tradition since the 50’s, and there are custom car horns made to play it. When the team makes it to the playoffs, the entire town hits the road. Small children have the obligatory cheerleader/indianette/indian spirit costumes on, watching their heroes of choice and dreaming of the day it will be them.

    I grew up in this town, lived around the country, and then came back, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen this fever anywhere else. But I’ve never been to Georgia so maybe I’m off!! LOL!

    Ours doesn’t start till next Friday, when the Fired Up Pep Rally kicks it all off.

    Love this post!

    • Sharla,
      Your town sounds like the movie Friday Night Lights was based there! Too cool! We’re trying to get there with our high school team, but I think your town wins. 🙂 I think we should fly Sheila down from Canada and meet in Texas to give her the true football experience.

  7. Hey, you inspired me Tracy. I had to blog about this on mine as well. Love it!!

  8. I’m with you, Tracy and Laura. Gator-haters unite!

    I’m just on the fringe of high school football. For me, it is Saturday afternoon high school feeder football (middle school) and it is so exciting that sometimes I don’t miss the Georgia games–until we finally manage to make one of the games and then I miss them all the more. Love, love football!

  9. And I can’t seem to change my link from my old blogspot site to my new website. It’s supposed to go to Hmmm…

    Anyway, I put some pictures on there so Sheila you can see a little bit of the crazy!!

  10. Yep, football rules in Texas! And since I have only men in my household–girl cat doesn’t count, I’ve had to learn to like it. Funny, I was in drill team in high school.

    Cool post!

  11. Well, I have to come out of my “vacation mode” for Women Unplugged, right? But I have to say that I don’t follow football all that much…basketball is my “thang”. I enjoyed reading about it, though, and had NO idea it was how you describe it, Tracy! My goodness. A lesson in American history in the making.

    • Patti, we’ve got to get you and Sheila to a game. 🙂

      • Hey Tracy! When I was younger I went to several Raiders’ games with my father. I remember once getting on a bus in our mall’s parking lot and riding with him to the Oakland Coliseum to watch them play. Now, I’m more into the SF 49er’s, mainly because of my son telling me what the heck is going on. It’s exciting to watch. I used to hate baseball with a passion until my son played it when he was in grammar school. Then I started getting into the SF Giants and went to see one of their playoff games before they won the World Series. Now THAT was way cool, especially since AT&T Park is amazing!

        • We try to visit a ballpark in every city my family visits. We’ve seen all the oldies–Fenway, Wrigley, Yankee–and many of the new ones. But the Giants weren’t in town when we were in San Francisco, so AT&T Park still on the list of things to see. Can’t wait. 🙂

      • Bags are packed. I’m on my way. 🙂

  12. Tracy, Laura, and Christy, count me in with the Gator-haters! Geaux Tigers all the way. Tracy, I’ve just been offered sweet seats to the Tennessee vs. LSU game in October. I guess we can be friends every day except October 16th.

    I’ve liberally dosed my work in progress with SEC football rivalry, enhancing detail for the small town Alabama setting. It’s Southern Culture.

  13. I’m a Seminole High Priestess who resides in a Gator dwelling…need I say more?

%d bloggers like this: