First off, I’m talking about Death Valley, SC, otherwise known as Frank Howard Memorial Stadium, home of the Clemson Tigers. Of course, taking both boys to the real Death Valley may have been just as painful and definitely not painless.
At the last minute, very last minute to be exact, my husband’s boss called him up to see if we would like tickets for this past Saturday’s Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game. If we were single, no kids in tow, we would have immediately jumped on the tickets. Our situation being as it is, we hemmed and hawed before finally deciding we would go IF his boss had tickets for the boys as well. Turns out he did, much to our overwhelming dismay, I mean, er, excitement! Yes, EXCITEMENT!
So I’m being a bit dramatic. Truthfully, I was excited. I was going to do something I’ve always dreamt about since my days of matriculating at that beautiful University. I can recall the days when I was student, tailgating in the free spots (these don’t exist anymore) and seeing all the little kids dressed up in their Tiger uniforms, be it football jerseys or cheerleading outfits. I used to think to myself, “I’m going to do this with my kids one day.”
After having my boys, and experiencing first hand, the overly exhausting work of not just raising them but also keeping them AND me alive, I decided that the ole dream of spending a day at a Clemson game with my family would have to be shelved for later years. I don’t know what it says about mine and my husband’s parenting skills or perhaps the demeanor of our two boys that we CAN’T go to a game and tailgate like all the other families. Surely, something somewhere must be amiss, right?
At the start of the season, we were given four tickets to a Clemson game. After much debate, my husband and I decided we would take Davey and leave Henry with my parents. Surprisingly, the day went spectacular and I suppose it provided us with a false sense of security where sporting events are concerned. So, when the opportunity presented itself this past Saturday, and us without a babysitter since my parents were out of town, we decided, what the heck! Let’s take both boys. Apparently, my husband and I are a glutton for misery.
Why on earth would someone want to bring their kids, especially two boys aged 4 and 22 months, to a Clemson football game on a rainy Saturday for possibly one of the biggest games of the season? Why? I wish I had that answer. I wish I had the answer as to why we didn’t hesitate to say “yes”. I wish I had the answer to “where were our heads?” But really, I want to know the answer to is why does it seem that everyone else can bring their kids to tailgate and a game and still enjoy themselves? Why can’t we?
One minute and five seconds into the game, Clemson drew blood, and I was already to the point of wanting to slit my own wrists. I can’t even recall how Clemson managed to score because I was much too busy trying to keep Henry from picking up random pieces of food on the ground and eating them. By Clemson’s next scoring drive, I really just wanted to get drunk, just to numb the pain of Davey punching Henry, Henry slapping Davey, and both boys wanting to run around like a pack of wild banshees. My husband and I spent the better portions of the game holding the boys and trying to serve as referees between the two of them. It was quite literally the worst experience I’ve ever had in my beloved Death Valley, worse than any of the losing games I’ve sat through.
Moving forward, when my husband and I are offered tickets to a Clemson game, and we don’t have a sitter for the boys, we won’t be asking the question, “why not?” but instead “WHY?” To all of you parents who are able to go these games with your children I secretly despise you and loathe the ground you walk on, but I’m also envious of your magical abilities to get your children to cooperate. Please, tell me your secret.
And while we left knowing Clemson had won the game, we put the boys to bed early last night and watched an entire replay of the game just so we could really see how well Clemson played because that’s how my husband and I roll with college football.