2005-09-09 / On Second Thought

Football games, fraternities, and family Thirty–something speaks

Mike Maddock
Mike Maddock A wise person once said the more things change; the more they stay the same. As I watched Clemson beat Texas A&M last Saturday night, two people were passed out on my couch, and the next morning somebody got sick. This could have been a scene from any fraternity house or my days in a dorm room, but in reality, it was my living room.

The two people passed out on the couch weren’t my buddies visiting from the College of Charleston. They were two of my three children. They tried their best to stay up to watch the game, but my youngest daughter gave up once she found out the baton girls were not going to be part of the half–time show, and the baby (my son) celebrated the kick-off with an ear infection. He didn’t wake up with a hangover, but he did wake up with a 103º fever. He didn’t much care if Clemson won or not, and he sure didn’t make it to the bathroom on time.

The only part that did not remotely resemble any of my college days was the fact I ended the night in the company of two girls…my oldest daughter and my wife. Besides that, the house was a wreck, several things were broken, and Clemson opened the season with a quality win. It was enough to make me stop and think.

I really enjoyed my college experience, probably too much, but I may just be the only person on earth who does not miss it. These days, I would much rather watch the games in the company of my three screaming children than with a house full of marketing majors. My kids may not know what a first down is yet, but they’ll take any excuse to jump, cheer, and yell with their old man. Plus, they’re not going to ditch me for an SAE coated in Dippity Do and Polo Cologne.

The strange aromas emanating from a house full of children are enough to bring back fond and not so fond memories of my days on campus. That’s all I need. It’s a whole lot easier to get out of bed the next day when the oldest party guest is in the second grade. I don’t have to shake any cobwebs to do homework or study for an exam or two. My biggest problem is whether I can wait another week to mow the weeds in my front yard. I like it that way.

College was fun, but the closest I want to get to it now is watching the football games on television or from the stands. These days, my house and the company I keep may vaguely resemble a scene or two from Animal House, but my festivities won’t cause any permanent brain damage, and my son doesn’t look anything like John Belushi…even when he’s sick.

So I could slip on a toga and start doing the Gator for the next football game, and my kids could trash the house and sleep through the second half again. It won’t really matter. The more things stay the same; the more they change. That’s the way it should be.

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