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I walked into the lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel on Day 2 of SEC Football Media Days and was instantly overwhelmed.
There were radio station tables lining both sides of the main corridor. Photographers and TV crews with all sorts of expensive cameras and equipment were running around chasing players, coaches, and other Very Important People. Journalists and Random Nobodies like myself were milling around, drinking coffee, shooting the breeze, and trying not to get stepped on.
In case you live under a rock and don’t know, SEC Media Days is a veritable three day circus in which players, coaches, and athletic directors from all twelve Southeastern Conference football programs are in one massive hotel, while media-types descend in a piranha-like feeding frenzy among them.
I had come to The Feeding Frenzy with one primary goal:
To snag a piece of hair, fiber, or something from/touched by Les Miles (maybe even a blade of grass?) for the voodoo doll I got in New Orleans last year.
Once I got there, I was in such a daze, none of that seemed likely. All of the confidence I had when I left the house that morning was gone. I felt nervous and out of place. I had never done anything quite like this before, and I had no idea what to do now that I was there. I gripped my notebook tightly, wishing I had thought to borrow my husband’s iPad so I could try to look a little less dorky. I jumped when my phone signaled a text message had arrived, and was thankful when I read the screen.
Hey! I see you. I’m over to your left.
I sighed with relief at having been rescued, and made a break for the other side of the room. I looked around and spotted John, a longtime friend who had become a producer for a sports-radio show. I smiled at him gratefully and said “Thanks!! I was starting to freak out a little.”
John started to walk me around the room, introducing me to various people: the head of media relations for a marketing company, a couple of writers for local newspapers, the team from WJOX out of Birmingham, & a smattering of photographers.
Each one of them greeted me with bright eyes, a big smile, and a strong handshake, followed by a question I am not used to getting:
“So, who’s wife are you?”
I managed a little laugh and said “Jonathan’s. Here’s his card,” and handed them each one of the business cards for the golf store he manages.
It took them a second to realize that my husband wasn’t a coach, AD, radio personality, television reporter, or even someone remotely involved with the SEC.
Then they just…stared at me.
They were all wondering the same thing:
Okay, so…if this chick isn’t someone’s wife, who the hell is she?
John tried to clear it up by saying
“Meredith is a writer. She’s working with Clay Travis on his new site, Outkick The Coverage.”
This confused them even more.
They took in my halter-style sundress that showed, yep, I have boobs. (Boobs are a rarity on SEC media days. At least, boobs on women are). They noticed the high-heeled wedges that pushed me to a towering 6’2″ in height. They looked at the houndstooth D&G sunglasses (fake) perched atop my blonde highlighted head, and checked out the silver Prada bag (also fake) slung over my shoulder and across my stomach.
It was obvious that they were thinking She ‘s a “writer”. Yeah. Right.
One of them said “Ooookay…. that’s….interesting. Didn’t know they made a Sports Writer Barbie.”
I smiled, ignoring the jab, and said “Yep, we’re really excited about the new site. You’ll have to check it out.”
A man in a Tennessee-orange polo asked the inevitable: “So, what, exactly, are you writing about honey?”
Me: “I’ll be focusing on the SEC football season in general, following Alabama specifically because I’m a UA alum, and throwing in a little twist of perspective.”
The one in a Florida blue and orange shirt asked, “You mean, perspective because you’re a woman?”
I nodded slightly, gave a wry smile and said:
I shifted my Prada bag to the side, showing off my slightly rounded belly, delighting in watching the men’s eyes grow unnaturally wide
“… I’m 5 months pregnant.”
Now, don’t be shocked. The men I was talking to at Media Days didn’t see it coming, but since my little slice of this site is called “Pregnant In a Sundress”, I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now.
I’ll be writing for this site, chronicling not only the ups and downs of a lifetime SEC fan and Alabama grad, but doing so through they eyes of a woman who is 6, 7, 8, and 9 months pregnant throughout college football season.
Having grown up in an Alabama/Auburn House Divided, football has been a major part of my life since childhood. I always loved it for the excitement that it brought each season. Then, when I was in college, I began to learn the terminology, mechanics, and inner-workings of the sport I already enjoyed in a ploy to meet guys. (Yes, it worked).
Writing is something I’ve done as a hobby most of my adult life. I started a blog a few years back as a way to empty my brain and clear my head from all the random crap floating around in there. Blogging about sports came pretty naturally, and everything from recent scandals to my hidden love for Tim Tebow gave me plenty to write about.
My husband, Jonathan, submitted some of my pieces to Clay about 6 weeks ago for consideration for this site– without my knowledge. Jon came into our bedroom early one Thursday morning, sat on the end of the bed, and when I looked at him with adoring, sleepy eyes he stammered, “So…don’t be mad at me.”
It’s amazing he’s still alive.
But through a stroke of luck and good timing, something about my blogs caught Clay’s eye. With the twist that not only am I a woman who loves football, but I’m a pregnant woman who loves football, the idea for this column was born (awkward pun intended).
So here we are.
I have no idea what this will bring or where we’ll go on our journey over the next few months. Hang in there with me and I’ll promise you one thing:
I get worked up about football when I’m NOT pregnant.
Now that I’m overly-hormonal and it’s a 115 degrees out, this oughtta be pretty damn good.
In the meantime, I’m still looking for some Les Miles material for my voodoo doll.
(Editor’s note: Due to a technical issue, this article was previously attributed to Clay Travis. The byline has been corrected.)