Go Georgia Southern Eagles!
Traveling to see our alma mater play major universities is a commitment my husband and I have made since our children have entered into teenage years.
The reason is twofold. First, we are loyal to our beloved university and want to demonstrate said loyalty through support. Second, we feel it's important to expose the kids to as many campuses as possible during their pre-launch years.
On that note, this past weekend was a whirlwind of travel to beautiful Auburn, Alabama to watch our eagles face off their tigers. We visited with dear friends, walked downtown, took a selfie in front of Toomer's Corner, participated (kind of) in the Tiger Walk, watched the war eagle soar (after, of course, making our daughter look up the why behind the what . . . educators as parents, ya know), stood in awe of the sold-out stadium, and even got a front row seat right behind the tuba section (which was legit cool). And an added bonus for me—I sat behind the most enthusiastic player's mother—mad respect for that sweet sister. I needed this weekend desperately. It was the first day of football season since Matthew's (baby brother was an avid college football fan) passing, and I missed him—desperately. Being surrounded by friends who are family helped ease the pain, but, yes, I may have been oversensitive. But then again, I don't think so. You can make that call if you'd like.
Temperatures had dropped and although by halftime, the predicted outcome of the game didn't favor our side of the scoreboard, it was a good night. Except for one thing. The row behind us, inebriated to the point one of them got kicked out of the stadium, engaged in such foul language and banter, my superhero of a husband stood up and very nicely (sort of) asked that they stop because his wife and children were present. I love him.
College kids will be college kids, right? What do you expect, Amanda? It was a night game, right? Major university, alcohol consumption is expected.
Yes, I get it.
Except these were grown people (my age) donning my school colors and they didn't give a flying flip about who was around them—because why? I paid for these tickets, so I'll talk how I want to, regardless of the family of four sitting below us, or the three-year-old girl on the other side of me who watched the game from the vantage point of her daddy's shoulders (again, we were behind the tuba section #southernpride)
Y'all, believe it or not (wink, wink), I was no angel during my college years. And as an adult, I'm still no angel. A work in progress who can get frustrated and let one or two slip now and then. No judgement here. In fact, as a middle and high school teacher we would brainstorm curse words and trace back to where they originated. Super fun times, although the students accused me of sucking the fun out of everything. #Whatever (See Philippians 4:8)
No, this blog/rant/plea is more about the heart behind the words. Our world is in peril. Evidence exists all around us. But this encounter, despite hurricanes looming in the Atlantic, the horrific trauma in Texas, or threat of nuclear war, bothered me most of all.
I don't know. Maybe because my children (and yes, they are still children) were distracted to the point they couldn't pay attention to the game. Maybe because my son literally placed his arm around me out of protection because he thought the gentleman above me was going to stumble and fall on his mama. Maybe because my daughter bent her father's ear, asking him to clarify several statements that had nothing to do with football, and everything to do with sexual not-even innuendos. Maybe because I had a strong feeling these men and women would wake up in the morning and not remember the lasting impression they left on my children.
And, yes, I'm aware my kids hear the equivalent in the hallways, but still, this was somehow different. More disturbing. I encounter this type of behavior from my generation more and more every day, whether it be through cursing, wrong behavior displayed in public, or a downright disregard for what little eyes see and what little ears hear—it's not okay. I've always made it a practice of listening in multi-layers, underneath the sting of the curse words to the heart behind them. And these people were hurting and angry. Very, very angry. And not just because we were losing.
Many people are angry and tired and at the end of themselves these days, I get it. I am too, sometimes. However, a total disregard for acting in a way that is honorable, reasonable, and dignified is unacceptable.
Lord, help me to remember it's not okay.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
Praise God, on the upside, our children saw distinction of right versus wrong behavior. They heard their father stand up for them. They observed our two friends, both men, help women to their seats, open doors, and care for the general well-being of those around us. For that, I'm thankful.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.