Written by Cole Locascio
Born into a household with a recent high school graduate for a mother, I was lacking a father for the first four years of my life. Luckily for me though, my grandfather, “Big Daddy” (as pegged by my cousin), was the missing piece to the puzzle. Acting as the primary father figure in my tyke days, the bond we shared was immediately sparked. The key to the flame? Auburn football.
Ever since my first trip to the Plains at a mere age of three months, I was drawn in for life. The soaring of the eagle, the dense amounts of burnt orange spanning across Jordan-Hare, and the roarous cheers from the student section all shaped the early stages of my Auburn obsession… but I’m leaving out the most important part. Sitting way up in section 62, I had the closest thing to a father sitting by my side, each and every week. Shaking and shouting for our defense to wrap up and tackle, I could tell that this so called “game” was a way of life down here in the south — a religion.
A new season was lingering upon us – 2006. I was nine years old at the time when the nuke was dropped directly upon my heart. “Big Daddy’s not going to be well for a while. He has cancer.” My mother’s words from that cool spring day still ring clearly through my ears. Confusion, ignorance, and slight bitterness jumbled to form the question, “So, what about the Auburn games?” My mother was floored by how “selfish” I was acting, and she immediately reprimanded me by my response. But what she didn’t realize was that it was a complete misunderstanding.
My intentions were nowhere near selfish, as I knew in my heart and mind that the weekends my grandfather and I shared were the best parts of each other’s weeks, and now my mom was telling me that they may never happen again. No more Auburn games, no more moments together in Jordan-Hare, no more Big Daddy. I remember having a pretty tough cry after the ride home, as I finally processed and made sense of the news. Even at the age of nine, I understood that the days with my college football buddy could very well be numbered.