Allen B. West

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year- Already?

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Last night after finishing a Fox News interview with Greta Van Susteren, my wife Angela, youngest daughter Austen, and I headed out for family dinner. Our oldest daughter Aubrey lives on campus locally and our Chinese exchange student Lin is on her senior retreat. We went for dinner at one of our favorite destinations for homestyle eating: Cracker Barrel. The digital uplink studio was right near the Boynton Beach location…and Dylan our server did a great job!

Anyway, we haven’t even had Halloween, and Thanksgiving is weeks away, but as soon as we walked into the restaurant we saw Christmas ornaments! Austen loves Christmas and her eyes just lit up. Heck, she and Angela ordered their meals and then headed right back in to shop. Cracker Barrel has an excellent marketing strategy. Needless to say, we are certainly at that most wonderful time of the year for Austen, with her birthday in November followed by Christmas. Matter of fact, it’s the same for Angela since she REALLY racks in the goodies in December, with her birthday, our wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, and then Christmas.

So what does this time of the year mean for me? It means I’m writing this while tuning into my favorite sport, college football! And because of that, THIS is the most wonderful time of the year for me.

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Now, my two alma maters — Tennessee and Kansas State — are not doing so well this year. Matter of fact, I still break out in a cold sweat at night when I think about the Tennessee loss to Georgia two weeks ago. This week the Vols have the ol’ ball coach, Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks coming to Neyland Stadium. Maybe Tennessee should wear those gray uniforms again, or at least all orange! I remember some really big upsets when I was an undergrad, like beating Notre Dame and Alabama after 12 straight years of losing — and even losing to Georgia in my sophomore year. But seeing a fella named Herschel Walker for his first ever game, well, that was exciting.

And yep, I am rather prejudiced towards the Southeastern Conference.

Growing up in Atlanta we were surrounded by great college football programs. Dad and I would spend Saturdays watching the college games. On occasion Mom would join us to watch some games. She loved football too. I remember how my dad and younger brother would come up to Knoxville on Tennessee home game Saturdays. Dad loved to drive up to campus, cross over the Tennessee River and watch the Vol Navy come up and dock at the stadium.

I played high school football but never college, but I developed a solid understanding and love of the game. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support another lover of college football being part of the college football playoff selection committee: former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice. Of course she is a Bama Crimson Tide fan, but nobody’s perfect. Maybe one day, Secretary Rice and I will get together and enjoy a third Saturday in October clash between the Tide and the Vols.

I think she would agree that this is the most wonderful time of the year.

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