For years, my dad and I have had a little family tradition going. We pick a weekend in October (usually around my birthday) to head down to Gainesville, Florida, to watch the Florida Gators play football.( Joe has been allowed into this club for the past three years, and my Aunt Gwen came this year, too.) Ever since I was very little, I remember sitting with my dad and watching the Gators play while drinking Five Alive fruit juice and eating popcorn. I couldn’t have been more than three or four.
Over the years we have watched a lot of great games together, both in person in front of the TV, at stadiums and over the phone. It’s not uncommon for us to call eachother six or seven times over the course of a game to discuss how things are going. We’ve been to regular season games, bowl games, and even saw Tim Tebow and the Gators win a BCS National Championship in Miami in 2008. Still one of my favorite memories and best experiences of my life.
And although it’s certainly about the football, it’s more than just football. My dad fell in love with watching the Gators play when he was just a teenager living in Florida. He can recount game after game he’s watched and been to over the past five decades, and now I have a full arsenal of stories and memories I hope to pass along to my kids someday. Gator gameday is the time each week when I sit and connect with my dad, and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is home to every single one of the best memories we have together.
Oh, and this special day of the year happens to be the only day of the year that I eat chicken. Or any meat for that matter. I just can’t miss out on the family tradition of getting Chick-Fil-A before the game.