When one of my best friends called me over winter break to tell me her uncle had six free tickets to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, in which UK was playing in, I assumed I would have a good time. I would get to take a break from doing nothing but hanging out with my family for weeks and see my friends for a few days at the least. I’m not a big sports person but I can enjoy them, sometimes, as long as I get to have fun socially as well. What I had not counted on was that it would not only be my favorite part of break but also something I’d really remember in years to come.
Before I get into the most important five minutes of the football game let me warn you, these five minutes have nothing to do with football. Ours seats were fantastic to say the least. We were in the front row right on one of the in zones! These were the best seats any of us had ever had to a game. Well, besides maybe our high school team, but that doesn’t even count. This was college football, not some pimply 16 year olds pretending they can throw pigskin around. There was a drawback though; we were on the wrong side. In a sea of purple East Carolina Pirates there were six college students decked out in blue cheering on our Wildcats. I should warn you again, this doesn't have anything to do with the Pirates or Wildcats either.
We were in blue and they were in white. I believe the only team they ever cheered on though may have been themselves. Who were these dressed in white? Well they looked like brides getting ready to walk down the aisle, the only problem was there was no wedding. These were America’s homecoming queens. Don't worry we had never heard of them either. They each wore a white dress, a tiara, and a white sash with the name of their state on it. There were multiple from the same states yet not every state was represented. My friend, who had read up on all things Liberty Bowl, informed us who they were. She also told us how they could just do this if they wanted to really but they had to pay their own way. I also suppose they had to win homecoming queen as their high school. These young ladies came all the way here for the lovely honor of standing on the field during pregame and half time. How fantastic. Although, I don’t remember the announcer ever giving them the credit they surely deserved for such a great task.
The game clock was ticking away in the second quarter and it was nearing half time. It was time for the homecoming queens to start getting ready for their big standing on the field. Where our seats were was on a wall with the football field below. We were in the first row but technically we were in row nine since the seating right there didn’t go down to the field like they did around the 50 yard line. Right below us is where all the homecoming queens started to gather and wait for halftime. Soon our section became pretty crowded as mothers and other family members came to take pictures of the young ladies. You would hear “Nicole!” and “Brittney!” as mothers tried to get their daughters attention so they could snap a picture.
At this point it was impossible to pay any attention to the game with so much going on all around us. It was then that it happened. A young girl who must have been around 12 came to the edge of our row. She was a little chubby, had valor pants on, and badly need to brush her hair. “Sarah!” she yelled one, and again, “Sarah!” She must be yelling for her sister I thought. “Sar-rah! Sar-rah!” I was really hoping her sister would look up at her soon because this girl was trying really hard.
“Sarah Evans!” I froze. “Sarah Evans!” If I had heard this merely a week before I could continue to believe that she was yelling for her sister but thanks to my well informed friend I was now wiser. Sarah Evans just happens to be a country music star who was receiving the Liberty Bowl Lifetime Music Achievement Award. An award which Elvis once received, it’s sad to see that their standards have gone downhill.
This girl is really yelling for Sarah Evans? I thought to myself. I leaned over to one of my friends, “that girl is yelling for Sarah Evans, the halftime show!” I leaned over the edge of the wall watching all the people below me scatter around. It sounded as if this girl had given up hope as I watched her beloved Sarah Evans get her lipstick applied by someone else, it is a tough task. “Erica,” my friend said to me and I sat up because Sarah's biggest fan was about to plow me over to get a closer view. I set her through as we started laughing to ourselves. No one even knows who this singer is besides this little girl.
It didn't take very long for the people seated around us to take noticed in the Sarah Evans fan. “Who is this Sarah person?” an older black women asked us. We told her it was Sarah Evans, the halftime show. “Who's Sarah Evans?” she asked. We shrugged and told her it was a country singer. Our Sarah fan seemed to have disappeared, I guess she didn't have much luck in getting Sarah's attention. After that a random guy in his late 20's started yelling for Sarah and the section responded in chuckles all around. Once the older black women realized Sarah Evans was where she could see she wanted to come up and get a lot. She figured why not? If this girl was making such a big deal might as well take a look.
“Sar-rah! Sarah Evans” She was back. Only this time she was over by where the homecoming queens has been sitting. By those seats happened to be a stairwell leading to the field where field pass holders could get on and off the field. It also happened to have security guards. The Sarah fan did not give up she kept yelling and yelling for Sarah Evans. It started to get the attention of everyone standing below on the field. Sarah even noticed and gave her a wave. Then the happiest moment of this young girls life happened. The same lady who applied lipstick to Sarah waved for the girl to come down and see Sarah.
Sarah's number one fan burst down the stairwell and greeted Sarah. Photographers below took their picture together and then Sarah give her a hug. What a hug this was, you could see tears rolling down this girls face. Our little section of observers started breaking out in loud claps for this happy ending. “I should get that girls email,” one of my friends said, “so I can send her a picture of her and Sarah that I took.” We never got the email address and we'll never see this girl again but we now know dreams can come true, if you try really hard.