Happy National Championship Day!

While not technically a holiday, this could very well end up my most favorite day of the year, and it’s only January 6th. That’s a big “could,” of course, and will depend on 60 precious minutes tonight and one smiley Heisman winner.

As I neared my high school graduation, I requested glossy brochures and pamphlets from schools all over the country, with an emphasis in the northeast. I looked at all of them and imagined the possibilities, feeling confident that I could garner an acceptance from at least one of those important sounding universities. I was valedictorian, after all. (I was getting close to not hitting my quota of mentioning that this month.)

nat statue

In the end, I applied to exactly one school: Florida State. I knew it didn’t have the academic reputation that made people’s eyebrows raise or the mileage between my hometown and my dorm room that I craved. But FSU was where I decided I wanted to be, and I’ve never regretted that choice.

I met some of my closest friends and experienced some of the most memorable times of my life during those five (don’t judge) years. I spotted an Anakin Skywalker lookalike my first year, and today I am married to those blue eyes and have a little girl with the same nose. I’ve stood through anxiety attacks and heart palpitations, crushing losses and miracle victories at Doak Campbell stadium. I’ve cursed those rolling hills in Tallahassee when I had to park farther than normal from a class. I’ve snuck my brother into too many games to count, once with my student I.D.

fsu group

So yeah, it’s only football. And that doesn’t float everyone’s boat like it does mine. But for a lot of us assembling our garnet and gold ensembles tonight, it’s so much more than football. I love FSU, weirdly and fanatically and probably more than I should. Despite the  boneheadedness of some of its athletes, the non-Ivy League academic requirements and the miniature size of my room at Kellum Hall, I bleed garnet and gold.

bobby b

fsu c n

For the people who I am so very lucky chose to attend FSU while I did. For the handful of girls that I got to live with and laugh with and dance with and watch Gilmore Girls with. For the guys that let me play basketball with them. For the servers that made a Friday double go by quicker. For the recreational athletes that introduced me to ultimate Frisbee. For friends that understood and encouraged my faith. For a teacher that took me on a date, and his teacher friend that still gave me an A even though I didn’t want a second date. For the English department that filled my shelves with paperbacks and helped me realize my grammar snobbery runs deep.

For all of this and more, I will be cheering–down to my core–for Florida State tonight.

nat grad


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