Curly girl,  Family,  malta,  Uncategorized

Growing Up Maltese: The Football Edition

My father is Maltese. Yes, Maltese like the cross. Yes, like the dog. And no, it is NOT where malt beverages were invented. I get asked that more than you would believe. My dad was born in Hamrun, Malta on June 18th, 1950. He immigrated with his family, to Ellis Island, on December 5th, 1952, which coincidentally also happened to be my mother’s first birthday. His family settled in Detroit, Michigan, where he later met and married my mother. I was born in Wyandotte, just south of Detroit but still in the same county. It is similar to someone being “from Atlanta” but living in Sandy Springs or Roswell, both of which are included in the greater Atlanta area or Fulton County.

I am a first generation Maltese-American. From Detroit. Currently living in Winder, Georgia. (one of these things is not like the other…)

My mom is German-Jewish-Dutch, so I feel like kind of a hybrid white girl. With totally non-white girl hair.

Now, I live in the South. Where humidity rules the atmosphere like an oppressive, angry god, and smooth, sleek Pantene hair, preferably rolled the night before and/or flat-ironed, are the only acceptable coiffures of all good Christian, Southern ladies. Somewhere, somehow I hear God and all His heavenly hosts laughing at my expense.

Also, if you don’t know anything about Winder, which, really, why would you?…we are 20 miles west of Athens, the home of the blessed Georgia Bulldogs. We live in what is known as “Dawg Country.” That is not a misspelling. Come September, red and black become the unspoken required color code of all the otherwise conservative inhabitants of our city. People here take three things VERY seriously: God, guns, and them Dawgs.

I can’t even write that and not feel awkward about myself.

College football was never a priority in our home, simply because my dad was the first in his family to even attend college and graduate when I was 11 years old. Add the fact that I married a man whose father worked his way through college, and didn’t have time for frivolous things such as spectator sports, and bought one of the first TRS-80s in the late 70s for he and his young son to “play with.” Read: I married a hardworking, turbo computer nerd who actually understands technology and loves it like Kip Dynamite.

Now, I am not saying that there aren’t those out there that love both technology and football. But I kind of believe that you either have the sports gene or you do not. I know some dads who love football, and try to coerce their begrudging sons to become lovers of the game, only to be disappointed or frustrated when little Bobby would rather read Walt Whitman and listen to The Cure. My brother and I grew up in the same household, and he loves football. For whatever reasons, though, my immediate family has neither nature nor nurture on our sides of this crucial all-American football matter.

At any rate, I married a man who simply couldn’t care less about sports, and for that I get on my knees and thank Jesus every day of my life during my morning prayers, especially during the fall. Instead of watching college football, we have family viewings of Lord of the Rings and discuss ways in which the movies differ from the books, followed by listening parties of Weird Al Yankovic albums.

I’m not kidding. My nine-year old’s favorite song?

She knows every word. Every. Word.

Now that I think of it…mine and Al’s hair look eerily similar…

Our sports of choice are karate and swimming; where being a small, skinny nerd actually works in your favor. And, they are co-ed, which truly helps cut down on the nights of the week that I have to run them all to different, gender-specific extracurricular activities.

How’s that for some nerdy efficiency?

So, just for kicks, let’s clarify all this again, shall we? I am a first generation, Maltese-American from Detroit, homeschooling nerd, with ethnic hair, who has a general disdain for spectator sports living in Dawg Country,

God. Help. ME.

I know that by typing this, I am outing myself and my poor family, risking our very lives with a potential attack by a mob of angry Bulldog fans. But I feel it is necessary, so there are no misunderstandings. Thus, I beseech you, Dawg fans and fellow citizens of Winder. Have mercy upon us. Remember that we are, first and foremost, Christian brothers and sisters. Even if only slightly first and foremost. What’s even more hilarious about all of this…I actually graduated from UGA. I am a holy and sanctified UGA alumna. During my entire college career, I only attended two games. I had no idea what was happening the whole time. I have never felt more out of place in my entire life.

So here we are. Football season has begun. The Bulldogs won their first game against Clemson, 45-21. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with status updates written by friends and loved ones in a strange language that I do not understand. Nowadays, instead of screaming at the television when a player makes a bad play or the referee makes a bad call, it is acceptable and customary to funnel all of your fury into a status update! So this is the time of year when I will happily take a Facebook respite. But don’t worry. I’m giving you all a taste of your own medicine when political season rolls around!

Stay tuned for part 2 of Growing Up Maltese: The Early Years.


Wife to Ren for 23 years. Mom to 4 amazing teens. Writer. Creative. Entrepreneur. God chaser. Disciple maker. I love Jesus, and I love His Church. I inspire, challenge, and encourage women to pursue Jesus wholeheartedly, to lay hold of the abundant life in Christ waiting for them, and to become all God created them to be.


  • Sharla

    Amen sister. Last Saturday evening whilst this first game of the season was being carried out, I sat out on the front lawn with my two very small children and we had a pizza picnic. It was quite fun. And as I sat there I watched a big yellow taxi van drop off a drunken man across the street at my next door neighbor’s house. This wouldn’t happen on any other day of the year except on a football game day. I mean, good for you man for not drinking and driving. But I personally couldn’t roll my eyeballs into my head far enough. Groan. No offense to the die hard football fans in our area, but I personally could care less.

    • Angela

      Heh heh…that’s funny, Shar. Lori has an awful story about how she had beer spilled down her back the first game she ever attended! I think that might scar me for life. Also, add the fact that I personally hate crowds…I’m just not cut out for it I guess!

  • Jessica Ham

    Love this! Dave and I both went to UGA, but neither of us are into football. I thank God every day that I have a husband who has next to no interest in sports. I could not handle being a sports widow. The first question we always get when people find out we went to UGA is, “How ’bout them Dawgs?” Now, don’t get me wrong; we hope they win. It is good for the city we now live in. Our lives, however, do not rely on the prowess of the team. We are just as happy the day after a loss as we are the day after a win. We will occasionally wear red and black. We do own a Georgia t-shirt. We teach our children about the culture of the city we now call home, but it doesn’t rule our lives or our thoughts. Nice to know there are others out there like us. =)

    • Angela

      I agree 100%, Jessica! My son has a few UGA hoodies and some Gurley photos hanging in his room. It’s good to have some local heroes to look up to, and a snazzy red hoodie for the Fall. We keep up with the scores, the wins/losses, etc. because it is so much a part of our local culture, that we honestly just want to have something to talk about with our neighbors! And it truly is important to so many people around here! We just don’t care to watch the games ourselves. 😀

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