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Parental Indiscretion

The Football Follies

By Rachel Laing | Illustration by Radostina (Joy) Stiff

Parental Indiscretion

Tailgating illustration

The moment Greg saw our son’s little alien face in our ultrasound a decade ago, he vowed to indoctrinate the entire family into the SDSU sports cult. My red-and-black-bleeding, Aztec-for-Life husband lured me in with Aztec men’s basketball, which was starting to show real promise under then-new coach Steve Fisher.

While I’m neither a sports lover nor an SDSU alum, I went to the games and actually got pretty into them, coming to hate BYU’s guts as much as any diehard Aztec. Sure, we had some dicey moments, like when Greg caught me reading the Wall Street Journal during a time out, but we worked through it and somehow saved our marriage.

Then Greg got greedy and suggested we get season tickets to Aztec football for the whole family. He knew exactly how to get me to agree: the tailgate. We’d pop up a canopy and canvas chairs, fire up the hibachi, grill some burgers, and drink beer with friends.

Not to be boastful, but I am so good at all of these things. I instantly became a diehard fan … of tailgating. I created new special sauce or burger topping each week and made it a real party.

The thing is, after a couple hours, you’re expected to leave this perfectly good party to sit on hard plastic chairs and watch football for six long hours. (Don’t try and tell me football games aren’t six hours long.)

Okay, so I don’t like football. The action-to-standing-around ratio is all wrong for someone with my fleeting attention span. But my misery originates in the stands, where my husband dutifully attempts to coach the Aztecs, tough-love style, by berating them for their shortcomings.

And the kids. OH MY GOD THE KIDS. Can I have a hot chocolate what about a pretzel how come he gets cotton candy I have to pee again how much longer is this going to be can we just go back to the car why are those kids running around why can’t we run around if she gets a hot chocolate can I have a soda I don’t like this pretzel my hot dog fell on the floor this is boring the Aztecs are losing this is the worst day of my life.

After two years of this, Greg suggested this summer that he not renew all four season tickets. Instead he’d get just two, and said I could “find somewhere else to read Twitter and tell the kids ‘no’ repeatedly.”

At his suggestion, I know just where I’ll be for every home game: sitting under a canopy in a canvas chair in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot.

“You go coach the team, honey,” I’ll say. “I’ll stay here with the kids and other diehard tailgate fans and make sure the beer doesn’t go to waste.”

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