Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let the Brainwashing Begin...

Most of you know that I am a hardcore LSU Tiger fan. I was trained early on to bleed purple and gold and some of my earliest memories are of visiting Mike the Tiger on campus and attending LSU sporting events. 

My passion for my home state’s largest University was only fueled by my sister’s attendance and membership on the LSU Tennis Team. I spent quite a lot of time on campus watching her matches, and relished in the times when she invited me to spend the weekend with her in her dorm. 

LSU fandom is an integral part of the culture in South Louisiana. Unlike Texas, Florida, and other southern states, we don’t have big in-state rivalries. You don’t see houses on the same street with Auburn and Bama flags. Nope, the love for LSU is generally universal (except for a few ULL fans who can’t get over it…). 

When you go for a run in Baton Rouge on gameday morning, everyone you pass will greet you with a cheerful ‘Geaux Tigers!’. The dogs have purple and gold collars on and the babies are wearing teeny tiny jerseys or cheerleading outfits.  Growing up, my poodle would often have purple and gold bows in his hair. As a baby, I was often dressed in LSU garb. 
Our dogs own plenty of LSU paraphernalia. 
Puppy Bailey in her LSU sweater.
Our baby will be no different.  In fact, the brainwashing has begun in utero.  My mom was the first one to find out I was pregnant. A trip to Target ensued to purchase the baby’s first LSU onsie and booties, which I later used as a vehicle to announce the pregnancy to Jonathan. 
Happy Valentine's Day!

As soon as we told Jonathan’s parents, a care package was in the mail with LSU baby books to further ensure that this baby knows that it’s part of Tiger Nation.   
My brother suggests that every day I should hold speakers up to my belly playing the LSU fight song. My nephews knew every word of this anthem when they were two years old, and the plan is for our baby to learn it just as quickly. 
2 year old Corbin, cheering on the Tigers.
It’s parallel in importance to learning the ABCs. I’m not joking.  

Living so far away, we almost have to be even more intentional about passing our LSU obsession down to our kids. They won’t be able to absorb it simply by soaking in the atmosphere at an LSU tailgate or chomping down a hot dog at Alex Box Stadium. It’s solely up to us to show them what being a Tiger is all about and as a family we take this responsibility very seriously. 

It’s not just about sports. It’s about family history, tradition, community, and camaraderie. When our baby is born, across the Atlantic in a foreign country, he or she will still automatically be accepted into the LSU family. 

As an expat parent-to-be, this is just a piece of a bigger puzzle of how to teach our kid what it is to be an American as long as we're living outside the borders. Like I said, we have to be more intentional about keeping what we love about our culture in tact within our household. Jon and I cannot define ourselves in terms of culture without mentioning LSU.  

No matter where we travel, we'll always be Americans. But more specifically, we'll be Southerners. Louisianians. Tigers.