Today's the day. It's the season opener for the Oklahoma Sooners.
The opponent: the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. in Norman.
The thing that's different about this season opener is that usually I'm the one standing in the driveway waving goodbye to Brandy and Lincoln, sometimes a teensy bit cranky that our fall schedule has been dominated by OU football for the past nine years. On this particular Saturday I'll be the one driving away with Lincoln while Brandy is on his back recovering from back surgery. To add insult to injury, we don't have cable so he'll have to listen to the game on the radio.
A few nights ago Brandy and I were talking about the game and how much fun I was going to have taking Lincoln. "You know why you're going to love it so much?" he said. "One word: pageantry."
Ah, yes. The pageantry.
Arriving on campus three hours before kickoff, walking around Campus Corner, getting burgers on the North Oval at the grill operated by the engineering students. The smell of beer and tailgate party grills, watching the Pride of Oklahoma march down Boyd, turn south on Asp, and head for the stadium. Watching the pre-game show, a sea of fans wearing crimson and cream, seeing the Ruf Neks drive the Sooner Schooner around the field, and soaking in the sounds of 84,000 fans.
Yes, there is more to a Saturday football game than the actual game. And it will be fun. Even without all the extras, just taking Lincoln and watching his excitement is going to be fun. Beginning sometime around February Lincoln is ready for football. He starts reading the rankings, looking at the schedules, making predictions. He is his father's son and he loves the Sooners.
So in a few hours Lincoln and I will head south. And I do have to admit, there is one other small reason why I am especially excited to be going to Norman today.