I wasnít in a very good mood when I showed up to the Yellow Jacket football game against Mansfield Legacy. Only an hour earlier, I had fallen down in front of my motherís house (it was ugly) and twisted my ankle. I was hobbling into the stadium when a very cheery David Davis from KSTV radio stuck a microphone in my face and asked me for a game prediction. I gave him one, but not before teasing him about saying my sonís name wrong.

According to some friends of mine who were listening, David and Boots Elliott later had a short on-air discussion about the correct pronunciation of Vanden Berge. Boots apparently said (and he was right) that he has known my family for years, and indeed, knew how to pronounce our name correctly.

By the time I made it to the bleachers and told my husband about my live radio performance, he said, ďWhat did you say that for? They always get it right. Youíre thinking about the Aledo game when the announcer kept saying it wrong.Ē

I felt instantly bad.

Boots, David, mea culpa. If it makes you feel better, Iím still limping.

Speaking of football, let me say that being a varsity mom can turn a usually composed woman into a raving lunatic. Most of you know that Iím not your average football fan. Mainly because I donít understand the game very much, and secondly, Iíve never had kids so involved on the high school level. But now Iíve got two - one on varsity and one on the freshman team.

In all the years my husband has dragged me to the games (and there havenít been many), all I could ever offer in way of encouragement was an occasional clap. Then Iíd go back to making my grocery list.

Fast forward to now and youíll find me at the games (early) donning a jersey, and when I think no one is looking, shaking a can. I even curl up on the couch during the weekend and watch the video from the week before, scrutinizing every play and gasping at the not-so-nice ones.

Scarier than that is my tendency to get excited at the games, where I have lost my voice twice now before the first quarter was over. I donít yell anything ugly and donít scream at the refs.


But I do scream, ďGet him, D.J.Ē or ďGet him, Aaron,Ē really loud - and repetitively.

On more than one occasion, it has occurred to me that my newfound football enthusiasm might have a negative affect on my femininity, generating some unwanted testosterone and unsightly facial hair.

I keep rubbaing my cheeks and chin to ensure that they remain stubble free. Iíve been worried about it for weeks.

But at the beginning of the Mansfield Legacy game, I watched the team run through the helmet (which I affectionately call ďthe hatĒ). When I looked up and saw Michael Price pushing his teammate Dominick Jokel through the hat in a wheelchair (Dominick just had knee surgery), I started crying.

I knew then that I wouldnít grow a beard anytime soon.

I was back to being a girl.

SARA VANDEN BERGE is managing editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.