Monday, January 9, 2012

Who Cares about Football?

Being raised in the South, football is a way of life. This may sound naive, but I'm slowly starting to realize that it's not like that everywhere. I may be generalizing here, but I would say that most Southern girls - at least the majority of the ones I know - were raised on football. Growing up in a small town of less than 10,000, everybody knows everybody. Everybody knew my mama, my Daddy and my business. But I guess I knew theirs too. Our social lives centered around the football field. Friday nights were the high school football games.As a young cheerleader, I adored going to the high school games to watch the pretty cheerleaders. I was honored when my time came to step into that role. Saturdays were for the pee-wee games and watching the mighty Vols play. Back then they won most games, and we had seasons to brag about. Most families then watched the pro games on Sundays. (My family isn't into the NFL as much as high school and college ball.)

My family has held season tickets to the University of Tennessee football games for 40 years! My grandparents have sat in the same section since my dad was young. I was going to the games before I could walk or speak. I didn't have any clue what was going on, but I was there in my little UT cheerleader outfit supporting the Vols. It just feels natural to me, and I love it. I know more about football than most boys - boys who aren't from around here, of course.

My Vols have been struggling and transitioning for the past couple of years. New coaches, new players, new attitudes - it's been a bit of a mess. It hurts to lose, when I remember such greatness not that long ago. And yes, it does actually hurt me a little bit. I know that's crazy - but when something becomes a way of life for you, the setbacks take their toll. Due to Skye's new job scheduling, this will be the first year that we don't buy season tickets. It literally makes me want to cry. It means something to me to go to the games. It's just a tradition, a habit. Tailgating is the best form of socializing, and we make new friends and meet up with old friends every week. I can't imagine what I will do with myself this fall! I'm sure I will find a way to make it down to Neyland, decked out in my brightest orange.

The reason I am reflecting on football today is because the BSC National Championship game is tonight. Alabama vs. LSU. Obviously being a Tennessee fan, both of these teams are rivals to me. However, I live in a house divided. Skye (for whatever reason - best I can gather he was dropped on his head as an infant) is a huge Bama fan. So tonight, in honor of him, I am pulling for Bama to win this thing. This got brought up today at work when a few of us had a full fledged hour long conversation about football. One girl I work with said, "You're gonna watch the game tonight??". Hello? Have you met me? My response was "You're NOT gonna watch the game tonight??". If you don't care about football, then how can you live in this football-centric state? We love it, we live it, we breathe it, we bleed orange. I don't care if you think it's over the top, if you aren't from here then you don't understand it.

Tonight, as much as it makes me cringe, I gotta go for somebody. I can't easily pull for a team with the color purple. (Remember - Orange looks good on everybody! haha) So for tonight, I'm saying Rammer Jammer - Give 'em Hell Alabama! An all SEC match-up is just fine with me, that's how it should be!

2010- Me with Legendary Vols Player & Coach - Johnny Majors


emenchho said...

I have to say I'm jealous of you true southern girls! In my itty bitty hometown, there was no football. A few local schools had football programs, but we never went to any of the games. My family watched NFL games, but I wasn't ever really into that. It took until my freshman year of college at Purdue to experience football...and I've been hooked ever since! We try to make it to about 3 games a season...I don't have enough free weekends to go to any more!

Anonymous said...

I understand it all. I've been a Vol fan my whole life. Before even knowing what that meant. My mother and brother are also UT alum so I got sucked into the crazy orange madness. And I wouldn't change it for a minute. I chose not to watch the game, not because I don't love football, but because I really dislike Bama and LSU (LSU less because they don't bring out the same tension as the 2nd Saturday in October does). So I bit the bullet and didn't watch, avoided Twitter and Facebook (of course I know who won) and tried to just steer clear of any geaux tigers or roll tides for my own Orange and White sanity!