Jackie and the kids got to my house a little bit before 9:30; and, after eating some sausage crescent rolls, we piled in the car and headed south. Both of the kids had been at a lock-in at church the night before so they were probably a little more tired than usual and both ended up sleeping some on the way down. We made a brief pit stop in Northport for Ashlyn and then headed on in to the campus. Jackie's boss also hooked us up with a parking pass which was such a blessing because I usually park at least a mile (not exaggerating) from the stadium and this spot was about 50 feet away from the stadium entrance. the closer we got to the parking lot the more people there were and I almost hit at least two, probably more, of them. Jackie had told me the parking pass was for Tutwiler and so that's where I headed. As it turns out, we were to park in a lot across the street from Tutwiler so we had to make a U-turn out of the Tutwiler lot and head on over to the correct one. We finally managed to get parked and I was thrilled at how little we would have to walk to get to the stadium.
After we brushed out hair, straightened our clothes and smiled for a few photos we were on our way. The first stop was the Kappa Alpha Theta house because no trip to Tuscaloosa is complete without me stopping by my home. We made a pit stop there and also picked up some beverages and Troy grabbed a banana. On our way to the Theta house, we passed a group of fraternity boys dressed in their traditional blue blazers and khaki pants who were walking towards the stadium with their dates. Troy made the comment, "There goes the popular squad". Y'all I thought I might die laughing. It was unprompted and so spot on. It was one of my favorite moments from the day.
We then went over to the Champions Walk (I think is what they call it) to see if the team had arrived. When we realized they had already made their way inside, we walked by the coaches' statutes and then made our way to the Quad. The weather wasn't too bad as it was overcast and there was a little breeze blowing. When we arrived at the Quad, however, the humidity and body heat from the masses set in and we all started sweating. It was not, however, as dreadful as it was when we went down for the Penn State game a couple of years ago and I thought I might die from heat stroke.
We watched the band warm up and play the fight song and some cheers on the steps of my former employer, the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library and then we headed towards the stadium to claim our seats and let the sweat dry off. We made it to the skybox around 2:00 - kickoff was at 2:39 - and everyone settled in for some free food and drink. There was fried chicken, friend catfish, cheese dip and chips, Greek dip and pita chips, brownies and cookies, biscuits, deviled eggs, cheese, fruit and vegetables, and of course all the free ice cream a kid could ever hope for. I had a piece of catfish and a couple of hush-puppies to hold me over until halftime which is when the stadium dogs were scheduled to arrive. Troy, who apparently must be going through a growth spurt, ate from the moment we arrived until the moment we left and then when we got in the car to go home wanted to know where we were going for dinner.
The four of us sat in the back row of seats for the first half and Alabama was up 21-0 at halftime. Troy, who doesn't much care for sports was having a blast and wanted to know if Jackie could get the same seats for the next game. We told the kids, don't get used to it, this is a treat. The stadium dogs came at halftime and I enjoyed two. Oh, man how I love those stadium dogs. I wish I had one right now! Man, they are so good! Another lady asked Jackie if they could sit in our seats for the second half and she said yes. I stood up most of the third quarter and watched another game on TV. I wanted to stretch my legs for a while since I had been sitting most of the day and still had a lot of sitting to do on the way home. The fourth quarter we sat in some seats closer to the front of the skybox and actually decided to leave with about 8:00 left in the game so we could try to beat some of the traffic.
Getting out of that sweet parking lot was a lot easier than I expected and I contribute that to my superior driving skills (you can stop laughing now). I managed to maneuver us through the traffic and onto the highway in a matter of no time and soon we were out of Tuscaloosa with two sleeping kids in the backseat. We were back in Huntsville in about two and a half hours - I walked through my front door at exactly 8:00 p.m. The Tide was surprisingly calm which I think I can contribute to my kind neighbor Jeff. He was sweet enough to walk over and let her outside a couple of times while we were gone.
It was a really fun day and I'm so glad I got to experience Troy and Ashlyn's first game with them. A big thanks to Jackie's boss for hooking us up with the tickets and to Jackie for inviting me along for all the fun. Can't wait to do it again!