• G-Strings & Tube Socks

    Apparently “Weagel Weagle” isn’t the only nonsensical verse of a football fight song out there.

    When I wrote about the animus good-natured rivalry between Alabama and Auburn fans, I quoted the Auburn fight song, part of which causes many a confused Alabamian to ask, “What the hell is a weagle?”

    Bodygetta Bodygetta Bodygetta Bah
    Rah Rah Rah
    Sis Boom Bah
    Weagle Weagle
    War Damn Eagle
    Kick ‘Em In the Butt Big Blue!!

    Joy wrote in to say that she’d been taught to say “Regal eagle,” and she surmised that years of drunkenly attempting such linguistics had morphed the phrase into “weagle,” which seems a good explanation.

    Kelly then pointed out that at Ole Miss the fans proudly yell a ditty which makes them seem confused, if not amnesiac:

    Hotty Toddy, godalmighty,

    Who the hell are we?

    Flim, flam, bim bam,

    Ole Miss, by damn!

    As she said, “Flim flam? Also, we wonder who the hell they are too.”

    That led me to wonder what else is being screamed in stadia* across the nation in the name of team spirit. Do share.

    If you can beat “bodygetta bah,” Tiny Kingdom readers want to know about it!

    *So excited to use my high school Latin. Thanks, Mr. Velotas!


    Many of you have insisted that I cannot technically be neutral between Alabama and Auburn, and you are correct. My parents were in a mixed marriage, commonly denoted by the license plate you see here:


    Generally my parents sat on the Alabama side, but one year my mom got pissed and said she was tired of sitting with the enemy, so my dad bought two tickets on the Auburn side and two on the Alabama side. I sat with my mom, Aunt Su sat with my dad, and Aunt Lulu stayed home with the ancient babysitter who gave her half a candied orange slice as a super-special treat. If she was really lucky they watched Hee-Haw instead of the game.

    Although I went to college out of state, I married a man who grew up in Auburn, and that sealed my fate. When pressed, marital harmony compels me to proclaim allegiance to Auburn.

    While I don’t have a problem giving my children unusual names, I’ve taken a resolute stand against double first names (heretical in the South). My main activity as an Auburn fan is to revel in the fact that at least Auburn’s quarterback doesn’t have three names. John Parker Wilson is making it difficult on the announcers who have to spit out all those syllables every time he throws the ball.


    The night before the Iron Bowl we layered up to brave the weather and visited some tailgating friends. It was a large affair, complete with heated tent and guitarist, located improbably about ten feet from the parking lot, but whatever. As the musician tuned up to play, someone in the back of the crowd yelled, “Don’t you break that G-string!”

    “That’s what all the girls say,” another man hollered.

    I cringed and glanced at the boys. Finn gave me a knowing look while managing to seem a bit embarrassed, Drew was confused, and Porter was pissed.

    “That’s not the G-string, it’s a B. I should tell that man that you remember the strings by saying ‘Easter Bunny Got Drunk At Easter.'”

    This from my fervent guitarist who once responded to a man who said, “Anybody got a request?” by asking, “Can you play an E?”

    He takes his notes seriously.


    Bill saw some childhood friends he hadn’t seen in ages. A guy named David told me that Bill was the first kid in town to wear tube socks, thus assuring himself a place in Auburn fashion history.

    I was pleased to know that Bill was sexy long before Justin Timberlake was even born, much less driven to bring sexy back.


    more tube socks

    I don’t know that I’ve ever written so much about sports in so short a time.

    Those of you who are still looking for gift ideas can look at all my gift guides for easy shopping: Boy Toys, Teachers and Babies, the Hard to Buy For, and Tolerable Kids.

    Those of you in town who are interested, I have a friend who makes the yummiest chocolate roulage! (You know, the flourless chocolate cake filled with whipped cream that’s rolled like a jellyroll).

    You can give them as gifts or buy for yourself to serve as a holiday dessert. Each is $35 and serve 12-15 people each. They come frozen. This is not a mail thing, so unless you are planning to drive to Vestavia, you are out of luck. She bakes and freezes constantly between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s first-come, first-served. Email me if you’re interested.

  • Iron Bowl: Fighting Words & Face Paint

    My boys went to their first Alabama-Auburn football game Thanksgiving weekend, and they were fired up.  I don’t give two hoots about football so first I resisted these obnoxious flags and stickers, but later I relented and let the boys decorate the minivan for the drive from Birmingham to Auburn.


    You can’t see the tiger tail hanging out the trunk, but you get the general orange and blue tiger motif.  Though the van may look somewhat gaudy to those of you from outside the state, in fact the adornments helped us blend in with all the other cars traveling southeast on highway 280.

    My sons weren’t done showing their spirit.  Thanks to Bill’s purchase of some oily (and certainly not non-comedogenic) facepaint, they carefully applied orange and blue until they looked like goofballs true Auburn fans.


    Auburn won (I forgot the score) so that was fun for the guys, but their big news was that they had seen plenty of drunk people and heard prime cuss words during the game.

    During the second quarter the Auburn fans shouted a favorite (yet nonsensical) cheer:

    Bodygetta Bodygetta Bodygetta Bah
    Rah Rah Rah
    Sis Boom Bah
    Weagle Weagle
    War Damn Eagle
    Kick ‘Em In the Butt Big Blue!!

    The boys were exulting in the coolness of being able to shout “damn” in the name of team loyalty.  Then the situation got even better.  Behind them a slurring Bama fan shouted, “What the f*ck is a weagle?  That’s a f*ckin’ stupid cheer.”

    The boys turned and stared.  No one answered the fan’s question.  (My mom, an Auburn graduate, could never give me a satisfactory response either.)

    The boys weren’t looking for answers, though.  They were mesmerized by the drunkard’s foul language and nearly empty Jim Beam bottle.  Eventually the fan was evicted by the police, and Porter reported every cuss, sip and instance of littering to me in detail when they got home.

    They had a marvelous time, and then it was over.  For us, that is.

    For die-hard Alabama and Auburn fans, the Iron Bowl is never finished.  The rivalry thrives on controversy and talking smack, and fans can always identify something that happened before, during or after the game to get riled up about.  I’ll let you Google “Fear The Thumb” to see how silly this stuff gets, if the following isn’t enough to convince you.

    This year’s controversy was about jewelry.  Actually, it began with one store’s attempt to sell jewelry, and has since descended into the usual mire of name-calling and trading insults.  Here are the advertisements the jewelry store put in the paper before the game:

    (click to enlarge)



    While it was apparent that both ads were intended to poke fun at the schools, the Auburn fans felt that  Bromberg’s went too far in when it insulted its grandmothers and accused its women of burping.  Sensing a marketing misfire, Bromberg’s Vice President apologized, saying, “If we had known this would be so offensive, we wouldn’t have run the ad.”

    He could have been accusing Auburn fans of slapping their mamas for all the good that apology did.  The ads were gasoline poured on the heated competition, and fans couldn’t wait for the resulting explosion.

    Auburn fans at Tiger Tales  worked themselves into a lather:

    Steve: Brombergs is a vanishing retailer in Birmingham, and they are true/blue
    Alabummer Fans and alumni. Who gives a damned what they think of Auburn. They are not at that high a level of class to even comment on Auburn. They will be closing their doors soon, as people like them are dying out. Good riddance

    Jane: I am offended anytime someone refers to Auburn as a Cow College. I am a college graduate (registered nurse) and my father farmed (cattle) all his life. I guess some Bammer fans are too stupid to realize where their food comes from. Fred, I am an Auburn fan and have plenty of money–€” more than enough to shop at Bromberg’s, but will spend my money elsewhere.

    Lynn: After listening to Nick Saban compare the Alabama football teams’€™ losses to several national tragedies, followed by the Brombergs’€™ classless, tasteless advertisement, it has become apparent that Saban, U of Alabama and Bromberg’s Jewelers are a perfect fit. Obviously, a person does not have to have class, nor the IQ of a houseplant to coach Alabama football or work for Bromberg’s…the mental giant that came up with idea sounds like an Alabama grad to me.

    Meanwhile, at the TideFans website, the Bama folks were hooting:

    TiderB: Although it’s downright hilarious, I don’t know why Bromberg’s thought it would go over okay with the barn.

    LeeroyI’m not surprised Barners are offended. They have been, for as long as I can remember (that’s a long time), walking around with a chip on their shoulder. I heard em’ Monday bright and early on talk radio here.  They pretty much companied (complained?) about everything Bama per usual. They just won their sixth straight Iron Bowl and all they could talk about was our touchdown(they disputed it), and that Coach Saban didn’t give em’ enough props in his presser. Very sad folks, the lot of them.

    dvldog: They are offended by people wearing shoes.

    Leeroy: I think indoor plumbing fires em’ up too.

    NativeTider: Barners can’t afford to shop at Bromberg’s anyway so what does it matter??

    Tider@GW_Law: I wonder who read the ad to them.

    As someone who couldn’t tell you from one year to the next who won last year’s game, it’s astonishing to look at the number of people who live and breath college football in this state all year long.  They’ve raised the art of insult to new heights.  The fervor won’t level off once the season is finished, because here football season never ends.  It will be time to think about recruiting, and training, and then it’s time for the games again.  The message boards will be full of Alabama fans calling Auburn a hick college, and Auburn fans accusing Alabama of being low class.

    If you’re thinking about attending an Iron Bowl, pick a team, and remember to bring your supplies: fighting words and face paint.


    (courtesy Jack Kratoville)


  • Gone to the Dark Side

    I had hoped that Bill would keep his wits about him during football season, and not fall into the same mindset as all of the other football-addled dads. Unfortunately, I overestimated the power the sport has over an otherwise rational man.

    I was getting the newspaper this morning when Chatty Mom pulled into the driveway to pick up carpool.

    “What’s up?” I asked, while Finn, Drew and Porter heaved themselves and their backpacks into her van.

    “Yesterday was great!” she beamed. “Bert’s team finally won a game. It’s the first game we’ve won. We beat the Dolphins. I know it’s just fourth grade football, but it was so good to see all those players so happy.”

    “Great,” I said, and went inside. Bill was pouring himself a cup of coffee and getting ready to leave for work.

    “Chatty Mom is all excited because Bert’s team won last night,” I told him.

    Bill stared at me.

    “You’re kidding, right?” he asked.

    “No, I don’t generally make football jokes before coffee,” I said, wiping a blob of syrup off the counter.

    “You mean they beat the DOLPHINS?” Bill asked.

    “I’m not sure,” I answered, getting a coffee cup from the cabinet. “I think that’s who they played. But the point is that Bert’s team got a win.”

    “Whoa,” Bill said, shaking his head. “That is bad timing. The Dolphins are the best team and we play them Saturday. Now they’re gonna be really pissed off and out for blood. Finn’s team is going to have to buckle down.”

    “You could look at it that way,” I said. “Or you could focus on Bert and the fact that he finally got to win a game this season.”

    “Yeah,” Bill said sheepishly. “You’re right,” he said. “I was getting carried away. That’s great for Bert– he’s been playing well all season.”

    “That’s better,” I said, opening the dishwasher to unload the clean dishes, satisfied that my real husband had returned.

    Then Bill walked over to the TV and switched it on. “What channel is the Weather Channel?” Bill asked, holding the remote. “Maybe we’ll be rained out Saturday and the game will be postponed and the Dolphins will get over being all fired up about the loss.”

    I went over to my husband and put my mouth up against his ear. He leaned in toward me, perhaps thinking I was going to kiss it.

    “Earth to Bill!” I shouted. He jumped.

    I slapped him on the bottom and pushed him toward the door. “Go to work!” I yelled. “Think about grownup things. Get a life. Get some priorities.”

    “I’m going,” Bill protested, laughing. He got in his car and drove away.


    In other news, it seems that some luckless mother reached my site
    by googling “washing football pants pads.” As you all know, I don’t do that.

  • Tackled by Football

    The busyness factor in the Tiny Kingdom rose dramatically last week when Finn started tackle football. Until then, we’d been managing everything just fine – Finn has drums on Tuesdays, and all three boys attend Pioneer Club at the church on Wednesdays. Porter and Drew are playing fall baseball and they practice on Thursdays. All of these activities have regular schedules and are considered a normal part of every week.

    I thought football would be the same: another uniform, another set of practices and games. Nothing I couldn’t handle. When Chatty Mom called to see if her son, Bert, and Finn could carpool to practice, I took the opportunity to ask a few questions about the upcoming season.

    Chatty Mom and I have been carpooling for years. She has three boys, I have three boys, and we tend to parent the same way. It’s worked beautifully for ages.

    As an added bonus, Chatty Mom is always in the know about our little corner of the Tiny Kingdom. She’s up on everything about school, teachers, social events and sports, and she wasted no time giving me the unvarnished truth about fourth grade football.

    “You are going to freak out when you see the practice schedule for the next month,” she said.

    “Why?” I asked.

    “Because our nine year olds have a three day jamboree next week to ‘teach the boys safety.’ That’s code for ‘three days to watch all the kids and divide them into teams and try to brainwash them into believing that football is more important than any thing else, including school and sleep,'” she said.

    “Wow,” I said, impressed that a bunch of men thought they could accomplish all that in just three days.

    “That’s not all,” Chatty Mom said. “You are going to die when you hear this. The following two weeks they have practice every single day. In the fourth grade. It’s the damnedest thing.”

    “We can’t go every day,” I said. “Finn has drums on Tuesdays.”

    “I know. It’s okay to tell me that, but don’t let anyone else find out that’s why he’s not going, or they’ll think you don’t take football seriously,” Chatty Mom cautioned me.

    “I’ll keep that in mind,” I said. “I can drive the first day.”

    “Great,” Chatty Mom said. “But you better prepare yourself. You are not going to believe all the dads who will show up at the practice and stay there the entire time. And a lot of the moms.”

    “No they won’t,” I said. “Dads never stay at baseball practice unless they’re coaching. And the moms have other kids to drive around. That’s ridiculous.”

    “You wait,” Chatty Mom said knowingly. “Football is not baseball. You will see every man you know in his business clothes in the sweltering heat, watching the practice. And they’re not just watching their own sons. They’re checking out all the other kids, too. They want to see who’s good, and who isn’t and who’s going to play quarterback. They really think the next Peyton Manning is out there at the fourth grade football practice. It’s unreal.”

    Chatty Mom is prone to exaggeration, so while I respected her input, I figured that she was overstating the extent to which football would take over the Tiny Kingdom.

    I was mistaken.

    I dropped Finn off at the first football practice, and saw to my surprise that there were more parents on the sidelines than players on the field. Groups of men in business attire stood in the 100 degree heat, watching their sons intently. Groups of ladies, some in tennis clothes, some in floral capris, were there too, with siblings by the hand.

    It was the biggest Tiny Kingdom get-together I’d seen since Open House at school.

    I couldn’t stand it. I got out of the car and mingled on the sidelines, listening to the conversations around me. I realized that anyone who saw me might think that I was scouting out
    the players, not the parents, so I grabbed my big sunglasses out of my purse and wore them while I prowled around.

    Chatty Mom was right. All around me, the spectators were discussing the boys’ performances, how well their older brothers had played in the past, and who might be a breakout star.

    I passed one group of guys and dropped my purse on the ground, then knelt down by them, picking up lipsticks while I eavesdropped.

    “Yeah, Jack may be one of the best players now, and he’s certainly one of the biggest, but he’s peaked in terms of growth. Look at his parents. I think by sixth grade he’ll be old news,” one dad said.

    I was dumbfounded. Old news? In sixth grade? I snuck back to the van, panting in the heat.

    That night, I let loose about the whole football thing to Bill.

    “What’s up with these guys?” I asked. “Chatty Mom says that they attend every practice. She says they think football is the only sport worth playing and that everything else, including baseball, is for wusses. They’re checking out the other kids, trying to figure out who’s going to be the quarterback. It’s unbelievable,” I sputtered.

    “I totally believe it, “Bill said calmly.

    “I was listening to some of the guys talking, and they were having a serious talk about which boys have grown about as much as they’re going to, and which boys have tall parents and should get a lot bigger, and whose dads are athletic. The boys are in the freaking fourth grade! Where are their priorities?” I ranted.

    “Honey, calm down,” Bill said. “We don’t have to be like everyone else. Finn may not even like football.”

    “Damn straight,” I said. “And I found out that they’re practicing every day for the next ten days. Well, I have a life, mister. And Finn does, too, and it’s not centered around football. If football and drums conflict, he’s going to drums. In the grand scheme of things, drums will serve him better. Look at Charlie Watts. He’s in his sixties, and he’s still drumming for the Stones and ENJOYING THE TIME HE PUT INTO HIS MUSICAL INSTRUMENT!” I shouted. “Name me a single football player who has been able to play as long as Charlie Watts.”

    “I’m on your side, Anne,” Bill said. “We’re not in an argument. I agree with you about drums. I’m not sure who Charlie Watts is, but I’m sure that Finn will be able to play the drums longer than he will be able to play football.”

    “Okay,” I said, realizing that maybe Bill was not going to be like all the other dads. “I just don’t want us to be hovering around on the field during practices so that people think we’re all fired up about Finn being the best player out there.”

    “Honey, I wasn’t at the field today. You were,” Bill reminded me.

    “That was just for investigation. I was disguised. And I confirmed Chatty Mom’s information. You won’t see me on the field again until game time,” I said.

    “Me either,” Bill said. “I think we’re on the same page.”

    The first night of the jamboree was rained out. Finn missed the second night to go to his drum lesson. He went the third night.

    It was a day where schedules were complicated. After much discussion, we decided that Chatty Mom would take Finn and Bert to football, and I would take Porter and Drew to church at 6:30. Bill would stay at work until Pioneer Club ended, then pick up the duo at church at 7:30, get Finn and Bert from football at 8, and bring everyone home.

    I dropped Drew and Porter at the church and called Bill’s cell phone to let him know where the boys would be waiting to be picked up.

    When Bill answered, I had trouble hearing him, as there was a lot of noise in the background.

    “What’s going on at the office?” I asked. “It sounds like there’s a lot of people there.”

    Bill hesitated. Through the phone I heard someone yell, “Hit him harder, damn it!”

    “Honey, it doesn’t sound like you’re at the office,” I said slowly, hoping for the best, but suspecting the worst.

    “I’m not,” Bill admitted. “I’m at the field watching practice. My meeting was done early and I was over this way so I just stopped by to see what was going on,” he whispered.

    “Gotcha!” I yelled. “This proves it! You’re just like all the other dads! Now everyone’s going to assume that we want Finn to be the quarterback and that we think football is so important that you have to leave work and watch practice! Our reputation as a family that refuses to be sucked into the Tiny Kingdom mindset will be destroyed! You’ve got to leave at once!”

    “Honey, you need to be a little quieter,” Bill cautioned. “I think people can hear you over here– they’re shooting me dirty looks. Wait, here’s Chatty Mom. She wants to talk to you.”

    I could not believe it. Chatty Mom was there, too?

    She was.

    “Hey,” she said casually, as if nothing was amiss. “You would be really proud of Finn. He’s hitting everyone really hard.”

    “And that’s a good thing?” I asked.

    “Apparently it is. I think I’m getting the hang of it,” she replied cheerfully.

    “So,” I said, “is Finn really doing okay?”

    “He really is. No one’s getting hurt, and he’s made a bunch of great plays. You’d be proud,” she added. “And don’t be too hard on Bill for showing up here. Men can’t help it. It’s something in their genes that pulls them to the field. I think they’re secretly reliving their athletic days of glory or something,” she said.

    “I know. I’ll go easy on him,” I said. “But you — that’s a different thing. If you weren’t such a dependable carpooler, I’d be steaming mad at you right now,” I told her.

    “I know,” she said. “I can’t believe I’m doing this. I should
    be embarrassed. For God’s sake, it’s fourth grade football.”

    “You know, we could make a deal,” I said.

    “I’m always willing to talk,” Chatty Mom replied. In the background I heard someone yell, “You’re never gonna hurt anybody if you keep playing like a girl! Come on, son!”

    “How about I don’t make fun of you for succumbing to football fever, and you promise to call me if Finn gets hurt or does something great?”

    “Deal,” Chatty Mom said, without hesitation.

    I’ve learned a lot about football in the last week. I’m not so sure about the rules of the actual game, but now I am extremely aware of the respect the sport must be accorded, at least superficially, if I am to exist peacefully in this town.