It’s Gameday. You’ve been faking it all week. Another 8-5/M-F consumed with grown-up anxiety and schoolyard optimism. You simply don’t have time to fret over meetings when you’re worrying about the offensive line against that blitzing front 7 and the rookies in the secondary. The most you can offer is a factory installed smile and an “Oh wow, that’s great” to your co-worker describing her ongoing battle with a particularly stubborn kidney stone. You live for Saturday, and it’s finally here. So too is the crisp autumn air, and nature’s first litter of leaves. What a day for tailgating. What a day for football.
What a day for a, white wedding.
Yeah. Like chicken pox and jury duty we all eventually fall prey to the Gameday Wedding. Weddings are typically on Saturday, which is funny because so is football…weddings are popular in the late summer and fall, which wouldn’t you know, so is football, by damn what in the hell are we gonna do?
It’s a predicament facing 20 to 30-something diehards each year as ‘save the dates’ are ratcheted up and planted in mailboxes like little football bombs. Odds are, a good number of you—readers of this blog—find youselves staring down the barrel of this very bind this weekend. For the groom-to-be’s, who historically have little-to-zero say in the matter of dates or details or much of anything at all, it’s like watching a puppy manuever, adjust and eventually come to terms with his newly nuetered life.
I would know. One year ago this weekend, I was the Gameday Groom. In fairness to my sweet and lovely Mrs. Dubya, September 29, 2012 was originally Kentucky’s bye week. She “gets it,” this one. Appointments were set, venues were booked, cards were printed and tattoos inked…and before it could dry Mizzou and Texas A&M joined the SEC, effectively reshuffling the entire conference schedule and the balance of my life. It’s never an easy pill to swallow when you become That Guy.
I of course lobbed that hanging slider of a suggestion over the heart of the plate: “Well, we can just cancel the reservations and save the dates, right?” Which was gobbled up like a wounded seal in shark infested waters. My discomfort with the situation proved to be fleeting, however. After all, it’s just football…Kentucky football at that, and I felt comfortable that my friends and family would not be left playing the ‘what-if’ game at our beach wedding as UK’s worst team in decades played host to South Carolina (though it was an interesting first half…that I knew nothing about…).
Not all weddings are created equal of course, and neither are its guests. Some weddings are merely ceremonial sendoffs to a train bound for derailment. Others are far away, and some are closed casket. Are you a long lost T-Ball teammate? Skip. Are you an adopted 3rd cousin? Skip. Will there be booze? Are you skipping to watch from the stands or on TV?
There’s a lot going on in that head of your’s, I know. Here’s a handy tip sheet for those of you who may find yourselves on the Gameday Wedding fence:
You are in the wedding. If you have agreed to be an ELITE member of the wedding party I would strongly encourage showing up. Yes, that means showered, groomed, ironed, and if not sober, functional. Hey, this is real talk, not Candyland.
You RSVP’d. Again, this is entry-level courtesy here. People who intentionally shade on an RSVP are the same ones who have no use for a turn signal. Also known as The Worst.
You’re a +1. If you have no real connection to the couple outside of kind-of-dating/talking-to an invited guest, the world is your oyster, bud. Do what you want to do and don’t look back. Congrats on that by the way.
Beverages. Apologies to my Baptist, Mormon and wagon squatter friends, but the drink situaish can single handedly turn the tide for better or for worse. Open bar is an open bar. Even if just beer and wine, it’s bottomless beer and wine.
The other piece to the puzzle is, of course, tunes. Plop down a live band (preference to Motown) in any situation and the fun quotient skyrockets.
Free food and drink + live band (preference to Motown) with friends and love in the air, well that’s not a bad night, ya know?
We can all agree there’s nothing like an early autumn evening with SEC Football. No amount of weak vodka tonics, mini-hot browns and “Mustang Sallys” will change this fact. Sure, there’s a chance you may miss an historic performance or dramatic upset, but you’ll probably just end up leaving early. The divorce rate is over 50%, can you say the same for your team’s chances of winning?
The bottom line: life is all about sacrifice. If you were invited by the bride/groom, then take it as a testament to your character. Or your fun-fat-guy persona, or your dancing skills…something got you on that highly scrutinized roster, and the least you can do is show up on their big day and join in the dance. With a TV.
“ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!” No Hank, I’m ready for some commitment.