Tag Archives: football season

Homecoming Parade (October 20, 2014)

Last month, I took AJ to our first ever Homecoming Day parade. I grew up in Miami and went to school in Hollywood where our Homecoming traditions consisted of a Spirit Week and a football game. When my sister-in-law invited me to come to the parade, I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. Was it an early Halloween parade? A fall parade? A just-for-fun parade? She explained that it was for Homecoming and that just confused me even more. I had never heard of a town having a Homecoming Day Parade and I was very intrigued. I quickly decided that AJ and I would go even though Adam was working and wouldn’t be able to join them, so we made plans to meet at our friend’s house and walk to the parade from there. IMG_20141010_145031_894

I was excited that the parade wasn’t far from our house and so curious to see what it would be like. My sister-in-law told me a little bit about what to expect and also mentioned that the marching bands from the middle school and high school would be performing. I was in the marching band in high school and had been part of many parades in my four years of playing trombone, but typically it was a Christmas parade and a Spring parade and that was it. However, I had no inkling about what kind of music the band would play at a Homecoming Day parade. Maybe “The Fight Song”?

Either way, I was beyond excited to go and see for myself. So, Friday afternoon on the day of the parade I packed AJ up and drove the two seconds down the street to our friend’s house. I then pulled out his stroller, strapped his cute little behind in and we all started walking the three blocks towards Downtown. It was beautiful outside, the sun was out and warm when you stood under in it’s light, but the wind gave the most exquisite breeze and made it just chilly enough to need a sweater. It was a perfect day.

My nephews had empty grocery bags and my brother-in-law filled me in that the parade marchers often threw candy for the kids that attended the parade. I thought that was pretty cool. My older nephew and niece are in the middle school marching band, so we stopped by where they were hanging out to say hello and wish them luck before we went to find a good spot to watch the parade. On the way down, my sister-in-law pointed out a few floats with “Class of ’75”, “Class of ’85” and “Class of ’98” on the banners hanging on the sides. She explained that every year for the parade, some of the alumni would get together and make a float for the parade. They would treat it as a class reunion of sorts. I thought that was super cool.

As we walked closer to our two block Downtown strip, my eyes went wide behind my aviator sunglasses. There on the sidewalks lining both sides of the street were dozens upon dozens of people. I turned to my sister-in-law, “Does everyone in town come to this?” I asked, my eyes still taking in the hoards of people laughing and talking on the sidewalks. “Pretty much,” she answered as we parked our strollers in front of The Hair Company.

IMG_20141010_152131_809We saw so many people we knew, some of which didn’t even have kids in the parade or children waiting to catch candies. They were simply there to support their community. It instantly gave me the warmest feeling I had ever felt and I couldn’t keep from smiling as the parade finally started. The bands marched down the street, one by one, each playing a catchy song for the parade viewers to enjoy. Even the bands from the neighboring towns performed! I couldn’t feel prouder watching my niece and nephew march in our town’s middle school band with such confidence. It looked like they were having so much fun and it made me remember how much fun I had during my years in band.

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After the bands, came the alumni floats and some of the local businesses promoting their brand and showing their support for our high school’s football team, who would play in the Homecoming game later that night. The class floats came after that and it blew me away how beautiful and elaborate they were. It was obvious that the kids in the individual classes took this parade very seriously and that made me enjoy the parade all the more.IMG_20141010_151757_148

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And then the finale; the high school football team and cheerleaders proudly perched on a fire engine. It was surreal. It was so inspiring to see these kids and these people showing their pride and love for their town. I remember feeling like I had stumbled upon something so special when I agreed with Adam that we should move to this town. A town where I knew no one, but quickly felt as though I had family- real family- surrounding me and making me feel like I belong.

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The football team

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The Cheerleaders, three on each side of the engine.

I couldn’t keep myself from tearing up at how everyone was cheering, the kids shoveling candy into their bags as they were thrown by the people in the parade and I remember thinking, Thank God I have my shades on or people might think I’m crazy for crying at a parade.

 

I know it sounds strange but the fact that almost the entire town was there, in one place, for no other reason other than to support their local high school and show pride for their town was something I never dreamed I would experience. I mean, we used to have a ton of people come to our Homecoming games, but nothing- I mean absolutely nothing- compared to this. A parade thrown to celebrate Homecoming.

It’s been one of the greater experiences I’ve had in this little, tiny hidden treasure of the world and it makes me wonder what else is in store for me.

Fantasy Football For Mommys

if you love the NFL, which I do, then you may be interested in trying your hand at Fantasy Football. I know what you might be thinking, “But Amanda, isn’t Fantasy Football for guys? Do women actually play that?” The truth is, I’ve only known two other women besides myself that have played Fantasy Football; My sister-in-law (mother of five) and a friend of ours (mother of two). However, I’m sure there are many women who have played and continue to play Fantasy Football.

As silly and strange as it may sound, I believe that Fantasy Football is an untapped resource of relaxation for mothers. I have to say there is nothing quite like watching a game and having a player on your team score a touchdown after completing a 40 yard pass! Or your defense team intercepting a pass and running it down the field for a touchdown! It makes watching the games that much sweeter…especially if you’re in a league with your husband and you’re playing against him. You can also team up, help each other and ensure both of your spots in the playoffs (this is rare as there is typically ‘no love in the league’). But if you do, then you can talk to shit to the other people in your league.

tumblr_lwqy2ouqni1qhrk98o1_r4_500 I can imagine that it sounds like I’m advising you to start fights over Fantasy Football, I’m not. The truth is that it’s a great way to bond on another level with each other and can even make your everyday lives a little more interesting. For example, last year I was pregnant during football season and Adam and I had been discussing which NFL team we would encourage our son to root for (Adam is a Bears fan while I am a Lions fan). Football has always been important in both of our lives and it’s one of the things we have in common. So, we decided that the best way to settle the argument was to make a wager on Fantasy Football. I should mention that it was in fact my idea mainly because, since I was pregnant, I obviously couldn’t drink during the season and that kind of bummed me out. I needed to make football season more interesting for me. So, since we only played each other twice during the regular season and would have no tie-breaker if neither on of us made it to the playoffs, we said that which ever one of us ranked higher in our league by the end would win.

I totally won, by the way, but I am a good spouse, so I compromised and we dress A.J. in both Bears and Lions gear and will let him decide when he’s old enough to care.

By now you might be thinking that this actually sounds like fun, but you’re wondering how you would get started. Maybe you’re even saying to yourself, “I mean, I like football, but I don’t really know much about the individual players. How will I know who to put on my team?” Well, don’t worry. I didn’t know very much about individual football players either when I started playing three years ago. I barely knew any players other than those who are Detroit Lions. But believe it or not, that’s the perfect place to start!

Think about your favorite team. I’ll use the Lions as an example since they’re my favorite team. Next, think about the players you know from that team, typically you’ll know them because they tend to be very good at their position. For me, it was Matthew Stafford (Quarterback) and Calvin Johnson (Wide Receiver). When I first started playing, I didn’t really think about “stats” or who the top ten players in the league were. I honestly just wanted people I liked to be on my team, players that I knew or players who were on teams that I knew to be good teams. I was somehow able to draft both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson to be on my team and as it turned out, they are both considered to be among the top ten in their respective positions!

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Maybe you just like to watch football, but don’t really have a favorite team. Another great way to figure out who you should draft onto your team would be to Google or (if you participate in Bing points) to Bing it! For example, my second year playing, I had gotten used to how the point system worked during the previous year, so I focused on drafting good players. I had the eighth pick in the draft, which meant that I had a chance of drafting on of the top eight players in any position during my first round! So I Binged and made a list of my ideal team and granted, I didn’t get everyone I’d hoped, but I did end up with a good number of them!

A great resource for you if you’re wanting to get into Fantasy Football is Yahoo! Fantasy Sports. Here, you can look up player’s “stats” (I’m sure if you ask nicely and offer to take out the trash, your husband would be willing to help you figure out how to read them) and also do what is called “mock drafts,” which gives you a chance to practice drafting!

The best part? Almost all of the popular Fantasy Football websites are absolutely free! I like free! Who doesn’t like free?