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Monday, September 13, 2004

The Story Behind The Fan 

My Blogsister Bou's comment on my thoughts regarding the spanking my Bucs took last night in Washington has spurred yet another football entry. (I did warn everyone in the very beginning of this blog that I am a Football Freak - so yes, there will be football entries).

You don't want to hear this... but we Southerners watch College Ball. Actually, our whole lives revolve around College Ball. Bull Dawgs, 'Bama, Auburn, Gators, 'Noles... it's a disease we're all happy to have. Our family plots are in the same cemetary as The Bear (as in 'Bama Ball) and whenever we bury a family member, we go pay homage to The Bear. When my 1st cousin married a direct descendent of Robert E Lee, that wasn't a big deal. The fact his family KNEW The Bear was. Just a little Southern factoid stuff for you. Go Gators!

Well let it be known, I don't hold all my love in check for just professional football. Hey, those players have to come from somewhere. Being the control freak that I am, I need to know as much as I can about as many of those playing my beloved game as possible. So yeah, I watch college ball.

I've mentioned before I grew up in Indiana. Let me be specific. I grew up in the shadow of the (Golden) Dome. Yep - I'm an Irish Fan! To My Toes (and that's a lot of real estate, let me tell you!)

One of my favorite memories is when I met Coach Parseghian. You see, when I was 10 years old I used to write letters to the coach telling him my thoughts after a game. I went to all the rally's, met them at the airport. I loved this team. When they won the championship in '73 No One was happier than I was. Fast forward to 1984. I was very ill, and had been in the hospital for 4 months. My doctor knew I was a fan, and he also knew Coach. One day, in the doorway of my room, stood Coach Parseghian. He came in and spent about an hour with me. He even had a couple of my letters. I guess my Doctor told him about me, and my admiration. He asked if he could come and visit. I couldn't believe he had those letters. He said he couldn't believe I'd written them. Very cool man. Very cool moment.


Saturday? Yep, we beat Michigan and in my book that's one hell of a way to start out the season. ANYTIME we beat Michigan it's a good day!! Add to that the Gators beat Eastern Michigan and it was football nirvana!

But let me get to my point here, ok?

When I moved to Florida I realized I needed to find a local college team to back. I'm a big one on being involved in my community so I really felt it was important.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Just pick a "local" Florida team and get involved. Not that simple. I have a long memory. I don't forgive easily, especially when it comes to football.

Way back in the 80's there was a rivalry between Miami and ND. The Catholics vs. The Convicts. Jimmy Johnson was the coach of the Hurricanes at that time (I still hate that man). It was a dirty, nasty rivalry. It spurred the one time I threw all of my ex-husbands stuff in the yard. He got tickets to the last game in the series, played in South Bend, and didn't even think to take me. Oh yeah, he came home to all his stuff in the yard. I was one pissed off woman. I still have the t-shirt from that era. I never wear it, I don't want to ruin it. Nope - can't be a Miami fan.

In 1993, ND and Florida State were in the running for National Champions. Florida State stole it from us. Flat out stole it. Nope - can't be a Florida State fan.

As for 'Bama. What can I say? That rivalry was going strong before even I started watching. Oh, I respect the Bear (he's one of the best that's ever been), but that doesn't mean I'm a fan. Ever.

'Dawgs? No way in hell. Tennessee? Get real. Stepping outside the "Southern Realm" and since I'm on a roll now - USC - not in this lifetime. Purdue? Hell, they just started playing REAL Football!!! Ohio State? Come on - think about that for a minute. NO.

So that leaves me with the Gators. And it's a good fit. They play down home football. They play rough, and they don't hide the fact that it's all about the win. Yeah - I'm a Gator fan.

There you have it. Yes, I'm a football freak. I love college and pro. I love the game. (I love the uniforms). So if you're around my house on the weekends, you'll hear 2 or 3 TV's going with a couple of different games. You'll find snacks every where. I like to open up the house, all the fresh air makes me feel like I'm at the game. I turn the TV up loud and I yell. I cheer. I curse.

I love football.


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