Essay on The Iron Bowl Catastrophe
In life we go through many milestones. These milestones could include starting kindergarten, becoming a teenager, or beginning your freshman year of high school. One of the biggest of these milestones is turning sixteen and learning to drive. It appears we all look forward to the day we get behind the wheel by ourselves for the first time. Whenever we hit middle school all the images of our upperclassman driving drown our thoughts. This especially impacted me, my dad being a drivers-ed teacher came home with endless stories of experiences he shared with his students while they were learning how to drive. I can remember thinking when it is going to my turn to drive or when will I be able to experience this feeling all these other students have come to know. All along as I was waiting for my time to come, I never expected the disaster that was ahead of me.
It was the middle of November and football season was in full swing. Every weekend you could find a hometown packed with fans to support their team. Football season is a major part of every town where I grew up. Especially my area, where all throughout the week the hot topic was who we were facing next and how our odds matched up. We could always look forward to the Friday night lights and waking up to SEC football games on Saturday.
Football season is a time where you get to spend your weekends surrounded by those who share a love for the game. It creates the opportunity for adults and kids to come together and enjoy each other’s company. I set aside my Saturdays for quality time with my family watching the SEC network and enjoying a few too many gameday treats. While my Friday nights consisted of cheering on my high school football team and going out after the game to paint the town with my fellow classmates and squad members. I longed for the days where I had my own car and the freedom to drive wherever my nightly adventures would take me.
I, as a young cheerleader, looked forward to the going out with all the older girls after the game without having to rely on someone to give me a ride. This was one of the things I was anticipating the most for I would be turning sixteen the following semester. I was young, but I was also ready to take the next step forward in my life and reach the milestone of getting behind the wheel by myself.
In my grade I had a lot of older people that were already driving and already had their license. I, on the other hand, was in the middle half of our grade and still had my learners permit. I was anxious to be able to get behind the wheel by myself, but at the same time I still had months ahead of me before I would be able to. We were all in driver’s ed.
Being the teacher’s daughter, you would expect I would be one of the first candidates to receive my license. I was learning more everyday about how to drive and what to expect when I finally hit the road by myself. You could say I was overly prepared as to what I thought. I did everything right, I had to. I would drive to school every morning with my dad who critiqued every move I made, whether they were right or wrong, there was always something new to learn in my case.
I found out that I could never know enough about driving because we were not on our own playing field, but we were on another driver’s. My father taught me and reiterated that no matter how good of a driver I was not being aware of my surrounding drivers meant anything could go wrong. I believed him, but in my naive brain I did not fully take this in as I thought I was already good enough to be on my own.
I was counting down the days on my calendar until I hit the big day where I would turn sixteen. Football season accommodated this by making the days pass faster because the weekends felt like a roller coaster ride; at one moment it was Friday where the weekend had just begun and suddenly it was Sunday night which meant the weekend was ending.
As the days narrowed down, one of the biggest games of the year was approaching as well, the Iron Bowl. This important rivalry game and the thought of who would win began to occupy my mind more than getting my driver’s license. However, time continued to fly by and the day when I would be able to face the obstacles of the road by myself inched closer and closer. I was more than prepared for it…I thought.
Finally, the day I had been anticipating all year long had arrived. No, I would not be receiving my driver’s license, but it was still a day like no other, it was the Iron Bowl. I would have loved for today to be the day I take the next step to becoming a licensed driver but with a few months still ahead of me I let the excitement of the Iron Bowl game consume my thoughts for now. Everywhere I went there was either orange or crimson red filling the room.
As an Auburn fan I awaited this day like I a young kid looking forward to Christmas morning. We had everything set up for the game and we were to watch it at my aunt’s house in Jasper. My mother, being like all women, was taking too long getting ready and was putting missing kickoff at risk for our family. My dad, acknowledging this, was ready to go and so was I. We both agreed that it was time to go, and I had mentioned that I could drive since it was only a few months away from my birthday.
He agreed and we embarked on our trip. The drive was expected to only be an hour and half, but things took a turn when we decided to take a shortcut. I was more than capable of this drive and had done it before but this being an unexpected change of direction I was uneasy. I had all the confidence in myself, but there was a sense of discomfort I felt all over as we were driving. We had come over halfway and the feeling had still not escaped me. I was soon to find out shortly why this sense of distraught had continued to linger within me.
Considering I was still a teen driver, with only her learner’s permit, I believed I had tackled the obstacles of the road very well. The long drive had been very smooth yet monotonous. I assumed the uneasy feeling I was experiencing was mostly nerves. This led me to believe the feeling would find its way out as I came closer to our destination.
The road was clear of traffic and I had an open highway. It seemed like I was homebound without any disruptions. We were coming up on a median that was highly used and had always been a dangerous spot for drivers. As we came closer to the median, I could tell there was a car coming on the opposite side of the road with its turn signal on, I kept steady for I had the right of way. However, I could tell the driver did not seem like they were going to stop completely, and I began to wonder what if they did not. I could not put into words what was going through mind, but what I had feared would happen shortly became a reality.
I was just a fifteen-year-old girl who was soon to have her driving license, and in an instant, I became a person whose car had just been struck on the side by a driver who thought they could beat oncoming traffic. We had been side swiped. After the damage was done all I could think about was my father, and whether he was okay or not. He quickly responded the same as I had, and we did a full quick check of ourselves before we proceeded to get out of the car.
The point of impact was on the driver’s side of our vehicle, and it had projected us over the embankment on the edge of the road. We had cleared the side railing wall that was there for protection and landed nearly fifty yards from where the accident took place. Little did I know the quick actions of my father saved our lives that day. As we were struck by the opposing car, I had lost my sense of thought and my hands had left the steering wheel of the car.
My mind had gone empty and I had completely lost control of our vehicle. While this happened, my father had taken control of our vehicle and had turned us the slightest bit before the collision resulting in us clearing an embankment instead diving off a valley that was too deep to measure. With the actions of him, we walked away from the accident with no major injuries. The accident showed me that I was not completely ready to be alone on the road after all and driving is not just a walk in the park. The actions my father took that day opened my point of view toward driving by myself, because without him the outcome of my accident would have been way worse
As we grow older, we all want to drive. We want to be able to go to our friends’ or boyfriend’s house whenever we please. We think it is as necessary to us as it is to drink water. As a fifteen-year-old I found the circumstance of driving alone is not always what we expect it to be. We might be the best driver’s in the world, but we are never truly prepared for what we may encounter on our transit from place to place. I can tell you as an eighteen-year-old college student I am more likely to always check my surroundings and avoid medians if I can help it.