Eleven years ago I attended my first Monon Bell game. Every year it’s the most anticipated football game for Wabash College, my husband’s small, private, liberal arts, all-male alma mater. Their rival is Depauw University, and the winner gets the bell and big time bragging rights for the upcoming year. I assume not unlike many other college rivalries, the event is steeped in painted bare chests, obscene and crude chants, and a fair amount of drunkenness. It was a bit overwhelming the first time I attended, but by the end of the game I was hoarse along with everyone else and storming the field to celebrate the Little Giants’ victory. That night I stayed up late with Jon and his brothers as they celebrated some more–by way of drinking beer from the bell. Disgusting, good times.

Today Marshall attended his first Monon Bell game with us. Instead of it being an all-day (and all-night) event, we showed up shortly after kick-off so that Marshall could get a good morning nap. And I didn’t cheer for Wabash once during the game. Not because I didn’t want them to win, of course! I just didn’t pay very close attention to the game. I was too busy bouncing Marshall up and down. Feeding him (four times!). Watching him cooing and hollering at the excitement around him. Taking photos of him. Trying to convince him to take a little nap, which was a losing battle. Changing his diaper–right there on the bleachers. Keeping him from groping the hair of the girls in front of us. Holding him close as stumbling drunk folks climbed across us. We ended up leaving a bit before the game ended because he was just done. It took him two minutes of riding in the car to be totally conked out. No hanging out with friends and celebrating this year. Definitely a very different experience.