Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why Is That Person Barking?

I met someone the other day who was decked out in the most adorable outfit. Well, I would have thought it was adorable if it wasn't red and black and worn intentionally two days before UGA's first football game of the season. I would have expected a Bulldogs fan to bark at me and whine about how they deserve to be ranked in the top ten in preseason polls because obviously they could have gone all the way last year if this that and the other excuse hadn't happened. But she didn't. Instead, she asked me if I had a college football team I was rooting for this weekend. I told her that I did, but that judging from her apparel, she probably didn't want to hear who it was. "You're a Gator, aren't you?" she asked. I nodded, with a curious smile. "How'd you know?" I asked. "Well honey," she answered. "First of all, you don't have an accent. Secondly, I can tell that you're smart."

I was speechless. I'd never heard a Bulldog refer to a Gator as smart. But you know what? We are. UF is an incredible school, especially given its public state school status. It becomes more and more competitive to get into; even when I was in high school, only the top 5% of each graduating class got in, and I suppose that was quite an accomplishment when I think about those numbers. It offers a challenging variety of programs to guide students towards a range of prestigious fields. On top of the academic knowledge it provides, UF also provides the cliché "best years of your life" that college promises to so many young adults. It's a very important part of my identity, just as UCF is a very important part of your daddy's identity.

This weekend marks the beginning of your first college football season. College football is very important to our family, but not just because we love to watch the games. College football is about so much more than that. It's about the time we spent at those games with some of our favorite people.

It's about graduating from places that meant more to us than the town we grew up in.

It's about places where we created new lifelong friendships, and gained a deeper bond with old friends who have become more like family.

It's about connecting with fellow alumni in a far-away place that would someday become home.

It's about celebrating our future, the accomplishments of our alumni, and the goals we have yet to achieve.

It's about the places where Mommy and Daddy met and fell in love.

It's about a symbol that will always warm your heart with the fondest of memories.

And now, it's about introducing you to some of the world's greatest traditions.

Today you watched your first football game at a joint watch party with the UCF and Penn State alumni associations. Both groups of people really wanted their team to win, but both groups were high-fiving the other team when something exciting happened, offering to treat each other to a round of beer, and complimenting each other on a great game. It's so nice to see fans who are not only passionate about their team, but polite about the game as well. And I think this is a really good point that you need to remember while growing up in the capital of the SEC: we're all in this together. Rivalries can be really fun, but the best part about a tough rivalry is that those tough fans understand who you are this time of year.

So if you hear someone barking this time of year, resist the urge to roll your eyes and smile instead. Because it's football season and everyone is excited about it together.

No comments:

Post a Comment