112518 human condition (toned)

As my grandson Nicholas and I settle into our seats for the first game of the 2018 season and the Tiger band ramps up its age-old tradition of “Pre-Game,” my mind starts to wander and reminisce.

My eyes focus first on the LSU band on the field, and I fondly recall the years 1994-98 when my son Jeff (now deceased) played on the drum line.

My eyes then drift to the right to south stadium, and I’m reminded of the days in the '50s when I went to the games with my dad. The stadium was a horseshoe and south stadium didn’t even exist.

I look around my section and remember the year 1959 when I was selling Cokes in this same section when Billy Cannon made his famous 89-yard run.

I look toward the upper south end zone and remember my high schools days when I walked to the games with my neighborhood friend, Bruce, and we paid a whopping $3 for season tickets.

And, of course, I can’t forget my college days when the student section was on the west side and the men wore coats and ties and we bought corsages for our dates. Mary, my wife, and I won’t forget the famous Ole Miss game of 1972 when Bert Jones hit Brad Davis with the winning touchdown with no time left or the famous Earthquake game with Auburn in 1988.

Paul, my oldest son, and I were together for the game against Florida State in 1982 when the fans showered the field with oranges as we headed to the Orange Bowl. And I’ll never forget the game against Florida in 2007 when Jeff and I saw Jacob Hester make all those four and ones and win the game with a minute left.

Nicholas and I already have witnessed several great games during Leonard Fournette’s and Derrius Guice’s eras at LSU. I won’t forget any of them with him.

But Nicholas seemed to be preparing me for my next Tiger Stadium transition when he told me the other night: “Baba, you know I’ll be going to college soon and will probably be going to the games with my friends.”

Transitions are inevitable in life, and I’ll make it through this one.

But I hope Nicholas will remember this advice from his old grandpa: “The thrills of the great games in Tiger Stadium will always be there, but no one can ever take away the fond memories you have with the person you shared those memories with.”

I cherish all of them. Geaux Tigers!

— Nola lives in Baton Rouge

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