Growing up in South Louisiana the seasons are very blurred — hot, hot & humid, hot & rainy and…football season. Football season is something we count down to, something we discuss and plan all year and when it is finally here, kick-off feels like Christmas morning. I will never grow tired of the heat under the lights, the live mascots, the roar from a stadium, the drums from the band and the energy from a team about to take the field. It is intoxicating and there is no other feeling like it.
Football is in my family’s blood. More specifically, LSU Tigers Football, and dates back to my great grandfather, James Francis Broussard, who was LSU’s first Athletic Director. He played a role in some of LSU’s traditions: helping to design our beloved Death Valley stadium, choosing our sometimes-obnoxious Purple & Gold colors, and negotiating a deal for an early football coach with General MacArthur at West Point – earning him a spot in LSU’s Hall of Fame. He was also one of the founders of the SEC (South Eastern Conference) one of the most feared conferences in the NCAA.
Because of this history, every Fall Saturday of my life was filled with food, family, friends, hype, angst, and screaming at the TV or from our 50-yard line seats. For my family, football is more than just a game. It is a tradition that brings our family together on a common ground, laced with celebration. Today, we may live around the world from each other and be consumed with daily life, but each game night we find the time to connect, reminisce, and enjoy each other. Quite simply, my heart is full every Saturday night.
Football also connects me to a larger family and community. Growing up, we traveled from New Orleans to Baton Rouge for game day. I noticed even at a young age a sense of State pride at these games. Fleur de lis and the Louisiana state itself was everywhere. We loved where we were from and football brought us all together. I will never forget the first game after Hurricane Katrina, there were three successful fourth-down conversions and a pair of touchdowns via special teams…oh and a fake punt on LSU’s very first possession. Needless to say those boys won that game for their State. My city might have been gone but my team won and it was really something! People from all over the Country watched that game and felt what we felt….pride!
I am proud to have been raised in this tradition and today I am teaching my children to love the game, as I do. They wear their purple in gold with pride, they have their favorite players, enjoy watching the band march in to the stadium, and try their hardest to stay up late to watch the game. I don’t know if my boys will ever play football themselves (time will tell), but creating these experiences for them each Saturday creates opportunities for our family to come together and an avenue for them to connect with the broader community.
So whether you Hook’em, Gig’EM, or Geaux, enjoy the game. Not just for the love of the game itself, but for love of a team, a school, city, state and family. Geaux Tigers!