I was 4 years old when I fell in love with college football. Bear Bryant had just passed away, and my mom was in tears.  I started crying, too.

The legendary Alabama football coach was her hero. So, we cried together that day. I remember burying my head in the couch. I can still recall how it smelled.

Since that day, I’ve created a lot of memories watching Alabama football with my mom, and know she did the same with my grandpa. Every year, I dreamt of seeing the Crimson Tide winning it all. Although they’ve played – and won – many championships, I’ve never seen them do it in person.

So when I saw the AT&T Made Me a Fan contest on Facebook, I knew immediately that I had to apply.

I never expected to win. Then the call came from AT&T Thanks. It was one of the best – and worst – days of my life. Just hours earlier, I found out that my mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

I knew that winning this opportunity was as much for her as it was for me. The whole experience was bittersweet. It was the positive news we desperately needed that day.

For years, we both dreamed of going to the game together. Unfortunately, her health won’t allow it. So as the date of the College Football Playoff National Championship draws closer, my heart beats a little faster.

I can’t wait to walk into that stadium. It’s a picture I’ve imagined many times. And it’s a picture I’ll be sending to my mom as soon as I snap it.

I’m hoping to see a stadium full of crimson and white. Maybe even a game-winning touchdown pass for Alabama in the final seconds. It will be tough to watch without my mom by my side, but I know she’ll be tuning in at home. She’ll know that her little girl is experiencing the game of a lifetime.

Thanks, mom. And thanks, AT&T Thanks. Roll Tide!

The AT&T Made Me a Fan contest is a social sweepstakes presented by AT&T Thanks in which fans were encouraged to share who or what made you a fan of college football for a chance to win one of nine trips to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa, Fla. For more information on the Made Me a Fan Contest, visit http://www.mademeafan.com.  For more information and ticket details for the 2016 College Football Playoff, visit http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/

Rachel Goodlett - Winner of AT&T Made Me a Fan 

Rachel Goodlett
Rachel Goodlett Winner of AT&T Made Me a Fan