My mom put the “fan” in “fanatic” when it comes to sports. Like my abuela, my mami’s a devout baseball fan. But unlike my abuela, my mami cheers for almost every sport imaginable.
This love for sports is something Mami passed down to me, and we indulge our affinity for athletics with season tickets to our favorite college team’s football, baseball, and gymnastics seasons.
That’s why, on most Saturdays in the fall, if you’re looking for us, you’ll have to venture amongst the mass of Gator tailgaters mobbing the University of Florida campus. Like all the other Gator fans, you’ll find Mami and me decked out in orange and blue, from our toe nails to the ball cap on our heads or the sunglasses perched on our noses, soaking up the pre-game revelry. And yes, there’s a TON of revelry when you’re talking Southeastern Conference (SEC) football.
Picture: Popup canopy tents dotting the green grass and dark grey parking lots. Tables overflowing with tasty chicken wings, chips & dip, sandwiches, and desserts. Adult beverages flowing from pitchers and filling ice chests. Picnic games like catch and cornhole in action. Vans, buses, and RVs painted orange and blue or plastered with vinyl clings of our team’s alligator logo, University of Florida flags flying from the windows. Big screen televisions and satellite dishes streaming early games and drawing crowds around them. Fans old and young proudly dressed in Gator attire--football jerseys, sundresses, T-shirts. It’s a veritable sea of orange and blue goodness, and the excitement of the game ahead remains palpable in the air.
Of course, my papi’s there for the fun. He’s definitely not one to miss a party. But as game time nears, he helps with the clean-up, then hops on his moped and heads home. He’s more a fan of air conditioning, so he’ll watch from the comfort of his recliner at home. But for Mami and me…it’s the heat and humidity and the crowd. It’s cheering and singing along with the Gator fight song as the Pride of the Sunshine band marches onto the field and our players run out of the tunnel while the cheerleaders tumble across the grassy field ahead of them.
Rain or shine, Mami and I are there. Together. It’s a ritual for us. It’s priceless moments cheering, or cursing if the situation demands it (well, I’m the one cursing, mami’s the one telling me to watch my language). And even when I’m hot and sweaty, and I know papi’s home comfy on his recliner in the AC, I wouldn’t trade this special time with my mami for anything. It’s our “thing.” And this time, these moments with her, they’re precious to me.
So, if you happen to be watching ESPN or the SEC Network and you get a glimpse of the crowd at Florida Field this fall, you’ll know that Mami and I are more than likely there, cheering and singing and enjoying our mother-daughter bonding over our love for the Gators! And if I see the camera, I’ll wave to you! ;-)
Tailgating pics: 1) Oldest & middle daughters, Mami, and me tailgating; 2) Papi & a fellow Gator fan; 3) Youngest & me enjoying Florida Field, aka “The Swamp”
A Season to Celebrate: New Release!
October 30, 2018
Novella in Anthology
Holiday ~ Multicultural ~ Contemporary
HOLIDAY HOMERUN * Priscilla Oliveras
Event planner Julia Louisa Fernandez dreams of a life in Chicago. But her family in Puerto Rico expects her to take over the catering business. Former pro baseball player Ben Thomas knows what that’s like—and when they meet, he might be the one to inspire a winning strategy, just in time for the holidays . .
Priscilla Oliveras is a 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Her books have earned Starred Reviews from Publisher’s Weekly & Booklist, and HER PERFECT AFFAIR hit #1 on Barnes & Noble’s Top 100 Book Bestseller list. Priscilla's a sports fan, beach lover, zumba aficionado, and hammock nap connoisseur. Follow along on her fun antics via @prisoliveras on Twitter & Instagram or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/prisoliveras.
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