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A Tickle in the Tummy

Story ID:2573
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan KS USA
Person:Nancy Kopp
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A Tickle in the Tummy

Author note: This grandmother of four happens to also be a football fan. What happens to me every year is detailed below.

A Tickle in the Tummy

By Nancy Julien Kopp

I drove by the Kansas State University football stadium this morning on my way to do errands, and I got a tickle in my tummy. Happens every year about the end of July. No cars in the parking lot, the stadium is empty, and there are a only a handful of cars in the football office parking area. The season hasn’t begun, but that little tickle I get when I pass by the stadium tells me it isn’t all that far away. It’s time to begin thinking football.

By the first of August. the players will come to town from all over the USA. A few have spent the summer right here in Manhattan working on either conditioning or academics, maybe some of each. They’ll practice in the high temps and humidity that will wring them out and also pump them up. It’s been a long time since they finished the season last December 29th in a bowl game in Houston. Soundly beat by a top-notch Rutgers team, they came home unhappy and wanting more. Now’s their chance--a new page in their football career book.

By mid-August, our local paper will be featuring individual players and coaches, and each time I read about one, the tickle in my tummy will grow a little stronger. Won’t be long now, I tell myself. I’ll read about our opponents in the Big 12 conference, try to decide who is our most formidable, who’s going to be the easy win and who is going to be able to surprise us with a stellar performance. That little tickle in my tummy doesn’t want to go away.

Our first game is always at home, but not this year. This year, instead of playing a Division II team here, so we have a sure win, our guys will travel to Alabama to play Auburn on national TV. Probably not going to be a win for us, but it will give us national exposure, which in turn, helps with recruiting. We’ll wait for the second Saturday in September before we don our purple shirts. All that week, the tickle in my tummy will bother me as we make plans for our pre-game tailgate party in the stadium parking lot. When the day finally arrives, the aroma of barbecue grills will permeate the air along with the sound of bands and happy fans. Hundreds of Purple flags will fly with glory and pride all over the parking lot and on buildings and homes all over town.

As we walk down the many aisles of tailgating fans on our way to the stadium, I’ll see lots of people I know, and all I need to do is look at their eyes to know they’ve all got the tickle in the tummy, too. It’s nearly game time. The long wait is over. We’ll join 50,000 other fans to watch and cheer our K-State Wildcats.
We’ll participate in the pre-game activities, make as much noise as possible as the 2007 K-State Wildcat team runs onto the field, and stand for the first kick-off.

And once that ball sails through the air, the tickle in my tummy will stop. The anticipation is over; the season is now!

Picture: The author and a granddaughter at the Houston Bowl game December 2006 (click on the picture to make it larger)