Kickoff ’12 and 10 Commandments of Football Fandom

Legendary Tim Tebow spending a little time with Robert, Laurel and two of their lucky friends.

Finally, it’s here. The 2012 SEC college football season started Thursday night with the South Carolina (W) vs. Vanderbilt game. Friday night, Tennessee (W) played  NC State.  Bob and I were hunkered down in front of the tv for those games, our appetites whetted for today’s Gator game against Bowling Green.

For the past nine months, we’ve waited for kickoff. Around the country, and especially in the South,  the date of your team’s opening game ranks in importance way above Halloween, which is now reckoned as the most popular secular holiday in America.

my children and their spouses Swamp bound–off to the game

In the Ferguson family, it is a date to which we have been counting down since  January.

Six year-old Laurel taking a half-time break

Judy, Merry, Amy, Mildred, Sophie and other readers know what I’m talking about.

Amy made this for her little Georgia Bulldog fan, Kennedy.

Those of us who love sewing can find projects for all the important components of our lives:  our families, our churches, our homes and for some, our football passion.


A little Tiger fan received this from Amy.

For tailgating, I embroidered aprons for the “kitchen staff,” which included all the ladies, even this student from our hometown.

cute tailgator design from Embroidery Library

Even off season festivities warrant some Gator stitching.

3 week old Laurel at her first Gator football event, held by Coach Zook


Laurel attended the summer Gator Club gathering wearing this little outfit, with matching cap embroidered with her name and the same bluebirds and orange ribbons.


I’ve made or embroidered Gator gear for everyone in my immediate family (starting at birth for the grandchildren), including maternity shirt

DIL Shelly, 6 weeks before Robert’s birth, with Laurel at her second Gator Gathering. Pique and pima cotton gingham were used for Laurel’s outfit.

I’ve stitched team gear for some in my extended Gator family, including my physical therapist (and former Gator football player) Roger who supervised my rehab after knee replacement.

Roger’s size 3XLT shirt

And our veterinarian and his family,

Our vet and his family, including his granddaughter Alysha.  All of whom have worn Gator shirts that I embroidered for them.

including my godchild Caitlin (Baby Alysha’s mother, not pictured), and others.

Alysha’s shirt

Tonight, I am embroidering new Gator shirts for Laurel and Robert to wear to the season opener on Saturday night.  Alastair’s shirt is in the stack. Last year’s outfit is too small, of course.


Getting their shirts ready is as much a harbinger of fall as cooler (slightly!) temperatures and color in the Golden Rain trees.

Adding to the interest and excitement of another college football season was a  recent Southern Living article.  I loved it.

10 Commandments of College Football Fandom

  • 1.  Thou shalt wear team colors.  But think twice before adorning yourself with body paint–you don’t want to be the Internet photo that goes viral.
  • 2.  Thou shalt know—and sing–your  team’s fight song from beginning to end.  Sure, you can “watermelon watermelon” your way through the alma mater, but not memorizing the fight song is a fan failure.
  • 3.  Thou shalt keep your language clean (unless of course, the quarterback fumbles on 4th and goal).
  • 4.  Thou shalt support the coach.  Even when his calls are questionable.
  • 5.  Thou shalt be respectful to visiting teams.  Remember:  Southern ladies and gentlemen never boo. JSF NOTE:  Sadly, this commandment seems to be disregarded at most SEC games.
  • 6.  Thou shalt set up a tailgate no fewer than three hours before kickoff (six if it’s a night game).  JSF NOTE:  WHAT!?$%!???  We must arrive at Norman Field in Gainesville no later than 8 a.m. for a 3:00 game, no later than 10 a.m. for a 7:00 kickoff.  Otherwise, we have to set up on the outskirts of town along the curb. Table linens and matching huggers encouraged but not required.
  • 7.  Thou shalt theme your tailgate food around the visiting rival.  Gator bites, anyone? JSF NOTE:  We serve jambalaya before LSU games, ribs before Arkansas, hot dogs for Georgia, tough chicken for South Carolina, etc.
  • 8.  Thou shalt stay through the 4th quarter–rain or shine.  That’s what ponchos are for, y’all.
  • 9.  Thou shalt respect the solemnity of Game Day by planning weddings, births, and other life events around the football schedule.
  • 10.  Thou shalt not covet other teams bowl games, national championships, or Heisman Trophy wins.  There’s always next year.

pre-game show at The Swamp

And now, it’s next year!  Hurrah!

10 responses to “Kickoff ’12 and 10 Commandments of Football Fandom

  1. Merry Gay Lape

    It is indeed that time of year! I hope your team did better today than mine. My Rebels lost by 1 point to BYU 🙁 But better luck next week. At least THE SEASON has started! Yay! You make such cute team outfits for your family! I love that little pique outfit you made for Laurel. Cute, cute, cute! Good luck with your team this year, Janice! We have a lot of fun ahead of us!

  2. I laughed so hard reading this and I couldn’t help picture the back of your HUGE vehicle with the gator across the back and little you climbing in and out of it! Who knew football could be as big as SEWING!! LOL

  3. Don’t misunderstand me–for only 4 months of the year is football as big as sewing! And I need a good sized vehicle to haul the food and supplies for an 8 hour tailgate for night games! For the other 8 months of the year, I haul sewing stuff and grandchildren.

  4. What a weekend this is turning out to be! Most of the SEC teams are doing the fans and themselves proud! No new Tennessee shirts being stitched here yet, as I have been out of town….maybe by next weekend. Love your new Gator shirts.
    Tailgaiting at the Swamp with Janice is like dining in a fine restaurant! Her table linens are wonderfully embroidered and coordinated to whatever team is visiting on a given Saturday. (and I’m quite sure we were NOT served any type of “Smokey” dog!)

  5. Not a sports fan at all, but I do love all the custom stitched clothes! I would have to support Vandy if I were. I graduated from Austin Peay State University (in TN), but they haven’t done well in decades!
    Our yell was/is “Go Peay” which is pronounced ‘pee’. Now isn’t that a great cry! LOL!

  6. oh, Beckie, what an unfortunate yell! But it surely made me laugh. You should follow Vandy. Their teams have always been at the bottom of the SEC but were considered the Harvard of the conference for their high academic standards. Now, there team is looking very respectable and very competitive. It will be fun to see how they progress. I love football. Give it a chance!

  7. Judy, this has been a good SEC weekend, but I’m afraid our Gators are not exactly shining. All the fans around me in the stadium were complaining about offense and poor blocking and tackling. I have to admit I jumped right in there. But we did come away with a win. Everyone said next week Tennessee will kill us, but I remember a Gator game in Knoxville when we were guaranteed to lose but scored 24 points in 5 minutes and came away with a win. But a repeat of that is about as unlikely as lightning striking twice on house won in a Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes. Gulp……

  8. And as I remember our visit and tailgating at the Swamp….TN was suppose to lose and in the end we had a VERY pleasant flight home! So you just never know how these things will turn out!! Definately need new shirts for the next TN/FL game! I better get busy…..

  9. Just need a “like” (or love it) button! Looks like a lot of fun, and I love all of the embroidered things you make in support of the team!

  10. Thanks, Connie. With a season that looks pretty rocky already, I will have to focus on the fun of making team gear!

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