Tales of a house divided

Brandon and Leslee Bridgmon

Brody, Brandon, Leslee and Barrett Bridgmon.

By LESLEE HARRIS BRIDGMON

Ernest Lee Staggs, my grandfather and longtime patron of Homewood, loved Alabama football. When the autumn leaves began to fall and there was a cool crisp in the air, I fondly remember watching or listening to Alabama football with him. I would wear my crimson and white hair bows and sing the fight song at the top of my lungs.

As I got older, I enjoyed visiting Tuscaloosa and attending ballgames with friends, hosting game parties and making traditions of my own. I still think about my grandfather when I think about football, especially Alabama football. He would have definitely given me a hard time about dating an Auburn fan, much less marrying one.

Marry an Auburn fan is what I did, and our house has been divided ever since. My husband, Brandon, graduated from Auburn University with many fond memories from his college years and would like to see our sons follow in his footsteps. He is as proud of Auburn and their football team as I am of Alabama. Although we each have our opinion about which team is best, Brandon and I have the utmost respect for both The University of Alabama and Auburn University.

Our oldest son, Barrett, visited Auburn last fall with his daddy and came home apparently an Auburn fan. He has Auburn shirts, hats, memorabilia and a gorgeous picture with his daddy on the Plains. The picture shows a moment that will always mean the world to the both of them.

Brody, our youngest child, is currently undecided as he lives in our house divided. I imagine he will say Roll Tide and War Eagle for a while. He is named after my grandfather, who would be proud if he shared his love for Crimson Tide football and perhaps went on to get a degree from The University of Alabama.

No matter what our children decide, nothing can take away the rich traditions, memories and experiences that have enriched both of our lives. Hopefully we can pass on the best of both schools to our children as both teams are exceptional and have outstanding programs. Roll Tide & War Eagle from our house to yours.

Bayless and Kim Ydel

Kim and Bayless Ydel in their team gear.

Kim and Bayless Ydel in their team gear.

We talked with Bayless Ydel about family dynamics in a split household. He is an Auburn fan, and his wife, Kim, is an Alabama fan.

Can you give us some insight on how Saturdays play out at your house?
For the sake of peace in the house, we usually divide and conquer. Kim is nice enough to tolerate sending a check to Auburn (for season tickets), so many Saturdays are spent apart. On the weekends when we are at home watching together, our rule is “do not openly cheer against the other team in front of the other person.” It works well until it is third & two and McElroy throws an interception. It is hard not to smile.

Who do your two girls cheer for and do they have gear for both teams?
The girls definitely know who went to what school. They know Mommy likes Alabama and Daddy likes Auburn. Our oldest did tell me last year that her favorite player is “Cam Newdon.”  She is obviously angling for a better car when she turns 16 (in 12 years).

What usually happens on the Iron Bowl weekends?
Iron Bowl weekend gets a little complicated. We are never in the same room – ever. The rule above gets complicated because you can’t tell if you are rooting for your team or against the other. Last year, I watched the game in the basement of my sister’s house, and Kim watched upstairs. My family thought we had lost our minds since they are from North Carolina and Vermont. Technically, we each lost our minds for exactly half of the football game in two totally different ways.

Tell us a funny story that has happened as a result of being a football couple divided.
Our first AU/UA game was about six months after we started dating, in November 2001 at Jordan-Hare. Going in we thought that our relationship was bigger than football. We were wrong. After Alabama picked up 40 plus yards on a third &  one to put the game out of reach, I gave her “a look” (as she tells it). Kim asks, “Should I go watch the game with the Alabama fans?” I moved out of the way to let her pass. About 10 seconds later, I realized I made a mistake and headed after her.  I finally caught up with her on row one in the Alabama section. I took her hand to lead her back to the breezeway to plead my case when we heard someone yell, “Leave him baby, you can do better!”  I pouted the rest of the game, and she returned to the Alabama section to celebrate the win.

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