I can say with certainty that Saturday, December 9, 2017, was easily one of the better days of my life. It began early and with promise. I made sure to have a blue and white striped collared shirt ironed and ready to go for this day (thanks to Brady Brandon and the folks at Take a Load Off). It had been worn to every Badger game I attended this year, and I wasn't about to jinx the state title game. I found a Badger fan flag Don and Terri used to fly on their vehicle to Badger games in my day. This old glory was ready to fly again, and fly it did.
I arrived at War Memorial Stadium a little after 10:00 am, and joined an already rowdy bunch of Badger fans tailgating in the large parking lot on the east side of the stadium. This group of people from all corners of the state (and many out of state) were united in one common cause. It served as a multi-class reunion with hundreds of ear to ear grins as former Badger players, coaches, and fans came together. Thanks again to those who cooked some excellent BBQ.
What happened next was one of the best football games you'll ever see. If you missed any of it, from the pre-game tailgate, the game itself, the post-game, or seeing the Badgers return home as state champions, it is all included in the video below.
Aside from winning the ballgame itself, one of my favorite moments surrounding the Badger win was how my grandmother used the Christmas present I got her, which was a pre-paid gift card. She saw Nathan, Hilary, and the kids open State Championship sweatshirts on Christmas eve as a gift from me. Although she's never had a connection to Arkadelphia other than us living here, my grandfather (who passed at age 35 in 1963) was best friends with John Rolfe Eldridge, the grandfather of the Badger head coach. So when she left our house on Christmas day, she went straight to the Arkadelphia Wal-Mart to stock up on her Badger gear with the gift card I got her before heading home.
This past weekend, my grandmother came over and spent the weekend with us while her nephew was visiting from Atlanta. The first time I saw her last Friday, she was proudly wearing her new Badger blue State Title t-shirt over a red turtle neck. For anyone who has ever known my grandmother, you know how big of a "blue nut" she is. She was so excited to show me her new shirt, and explained how much it meant to her due to being friends with J.R.'s grandfather. At that moment it seemed like things had come full circle.
Enjoy Badger fans!