Sunday, September 06, 2009

Seminole Night!

I lived in Tallahassee during the peak of Bobby Bowden's career at Florida State University. I count myself very lucky to have witnessed, either in person or on live tv, some of the historic Seminole victories over teams like Nebraska ('93 title game), Notre Dame, Ohio State, Virginia Tech ('99 title game), Auburn, Miami... But the game that "did it" for me was the 1991 Michigan game that silenced more than 106,000 maize-and-blue-clad fans in the Big House (Michigan's 4th largest home crowd).

You see, I had grown up in Indiana my whole life until 1986. I thought that Notre Dame was the standard in college football. I didn't even know who Bobby Bowden was before moving south. Even after arriving in Tallahassee the summer of '86, I proudly wore my navy and gold and scoffed at those who thought FSU was the new standard. To be honest, I really wasn't that much of a college football fan. That didn't last long.

For those of you who've never lived in the south, especially in a small college town, let me frame it in terms my Hoosier friends would understand. Think small town Indiana basketball on a wintry Friday night. That was how football crazed Tallahassee was in the late 80's when I arrived. So a healthy dose of Seminole Saturday Nights--the golden helmets sparkling under the lights, the flaming spear thrust into the turf by Chief Osceola accompanied by an eruption of adulation, causing the big replica spear to light up in the south end zone--was enough to make me shed my Irish garb FOREVER!

I still remember that Saturday, September 28, 1991. My friend Ronnie Byrom, once a lineman for Bowden's team, had invited me over to his fraternity to watch the historic FSU-Michigan match-up. By the end of that game, I had become a true believer. Apparently, so had the nation. Never again would I settle for the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust football I had grown up with in the midwest. I wanted to see high-arcing, 50-yard bombs to Lawrence Dawsey! I needed a weekly dose of wiley Bowden trickery, like a drugatic needs his fix!

Needless to say, after attending the university and working there for a number of years, I became a die-hard FSU fanatic. Yes, my blood runs garnet and gold. I proudly hang my Seminole flag on the porch every weekend in the fall. I am ready for this "dadgum" season to start! What about you? Are you ready for some football???

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