In the south, football is a way of life. I was born and raised outside of New Orleans where my love for LSU football was nurtured. There was no question in my mind where I was going to go to school. Yes, my academic career was determined by my favorite football team.
In January of 2004 LSU beat the University of Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game. I never imagined that later that year an Oklahoma Sooner would steal my heart.
My husband was born outside of Norman, home to the University of Oklahoma. His dad was one of the legendary RUF/NEKS who blazes their way into OU’s stadium on the Sooner Schooner before every home game. He followed in his parent’s footsteps by attending OU: a Sooner born, bred and educated. He graduated from OU in 2003 and moved to Baton Rouge to teach high school. We met when I was a senior at LSU and the rest is history.
Our first Christmas together, I bought him an LSU jacket and he bought me an OU sweatshirt. We wear each other’s school proudly. Once we were married, I bought us a house divided flag as we playfully fought over the remote on Saturdays. The house-divided theme didn’t end there. LSU vs. OU shows up in friendly games of yard football, gardening, putt-putt, playing dress-up, room decor and more. When our boys started sharing a room, we went with an OU/LSU theme. We gathered all of our old pennant banners and flags, foam fingers and pom-poms, posters and bumper stickers. One boy had an LSU bed, and the other an OU one. I then purchased a panorama of the 2004 BCS Championship Game to hang on the wall – a little reminder of whose team was on top. Not that it matters. But, you know… I’m only partially impartial.
We have waited 15 years for our teams to play together again. We always said that if that ever happened, we would go to the game. (I’mma start a GoFundMe real soon, y’all. Be on the lookout.) As soon as they announced that our teams would be playing against each other in a playoff game, our family cheered in excitement! Our three kids (ages 12, 10, and 7) were especially thrilled… until we asked the question, “So which team will you be cheering for?”
Their faces fell. How do they choose? To our kids, it felt like choosing between Mom or Dad. And that’s when it hit us: our playful banter, friendly competitions, and silly jabs at each other’s teams created an internal struggle for them.
My husband and I decided that we would no longer be a house divided, but a house united. That language shift will be important for our family in the coming weeks. Since we are traveling to Oklahoma for the holidays, I brought up the idea to our Sooner family. This year, we will all cheer for both teams on December 28. After all, “Go” and “Geaux” are pronounced the same. We will go all out with matching t-shirts and pins that will rally us together. It will be a game that our family will always remember! As my father-in-law said, “No matter the outcome of the game we all win!” One of our favorite teams will make it to the National Championship game, and we could not be more excited!