Photo by Billy Brown
September kicks off one of the most time-honored mother/daughter bonding traditions for my mom and me. It’s one that we eagerly look forward to with great anticipation, one we have trained for all year long. As the excitement draws near, we begin texting and calling each other to discuss the latest news and the most promising new names to keep an eye on this season. We then head to our closets and begin the task of going through our clothes, packing up our summer shorts, putting aside our much loved basic black, and pulling out our favorite seasonal color combinations, making a list of any new items that we want to add to our fall wardrobe. All of this really begins to get us in the spirit of things.
All week long we strategize and make plans for our Saturday ritual and by the time the big day rolls around, we are in fighting spirit and have devised the perfect game plan for ending the day on a successful note. We are, of course, pros at this by now. We have had years of experience out in the trenches, plotting and planning, navigating our way through crowds of women with one thing, and one thing only on their minds, and that is to make the perfect score and walk away a winner. And that’s why by the time Saturdays in September get here and we settle in for a day of Alabama football, we feel sure we can coach the team to victory. Just ask us—my mom and I make great coaches. That’s what years of Saturday shopping will do for you. It’s really no different than coaching a football team.
Saturday shopping is different from shopping on any other day. It takes a whole different approach if you want to get anything accomplished. It takes preparation. It takes stamina. It takes mental strength. You don’t just wake up one Saturday morning and say to yourself “Hmmm…I think I’ll go hit the shoe sale at Belk today!” without first devising some sort of plan. That’s like saying you think you will go take a hike up Machu Picchu tomorrow afternoon.
You have to prepare. It takes years of training. That’s what mothers are teaching their daughters during regular shopping trips. It’s not just about getting the best deal on the perfect pair of pumps. It takes practice before you try and play with the big boys and score big on Saturday sales.
To come out a winner on Saturdays, you’ve got to know what you want, and you’ve got to really want it. Bad. You’ve got to know the layout, to be able to see the path of least resistance. You have to have a plan and know how to execute it, and you must stick to that plan. You’ve got to go into training, to build up the strength to be able to stay in it for the long haul—however long it takes. You’ve got know how to conserve your energy—this is a marathon. It takes mental toughness to be able to look your opponent straight in the eye when you both go for the last perfect Jessica Simpson shoe in your size and not flinch. Not even bat a perfectly fringed eyelash and give away an inkling of how badly you want it. You must be able to make the right decision quickly when it is all or nothing on the line. You cannot give in. You don’t give up just because someone beat you to it first. You have to learn to put on your game face and cross the line if you want to come home a winner. And you have to be prepared to walk away.
So on Saturdays in the fall, when my mom and I are all settled in and watching the game, it all seems obvious to us. We clearly see the best routes to get to the end zone. We can tell you who the fastest, quickest, and strongest players are. We’ve done our homework. We’ve checked the stats. We’ve been there. We know what it takes to score big and walk away a winner on Saturdays. And we willingly share that with the team, screaming at them…I mean cheering them on, yelling and shouting at the top of our lungs (which seems to be a real issue with some people. Some people even leave the room, but I’m not naming names…) and coaching them every second of the game. If only they would listen to us. We have it all figured out, my mom and me.
Of course, there are always those times when we have to accept defeat. We have had to learn to graciously accept the fact that we failed to make the score on some really close deals. It’s just life, and we have to be good sports about it. It’s a game, after all. Sure it’s disappointing after all the effort and time you put into a day of shoe shopping to come home empty-handed, but sometimes everything really does just come down to who has the best foot. That’s the real kicker.
And then the next Saturday rolls around and you go back into your closet and put on your favorite team’s colors and get back out there and do it all again. After all, there is always the next Saturday of football season. Go team! (Roll Tide Roll!)