Saturday, December 6, 2008
I live in Wisconsin, where it sometimes snows in October, and asking for sweet tea is met with a blank stare. I don't have a Sonic, or a Chick-fil-a, and I cannot buy my groceries at Publix (where shopping is a pleasure).
But no matter how long I live "up north," I will forever be an SEC girl. Nobody does college football like the schools of the South Eastern Conference. (Sorry, Em. I'm sure you disagree). There's just something about the history, the rivalries, the school pride.
As I sit here watching the SEC championship game, cheering on my Florida Gators, I can't help but think back to my Gainesville days. I remember moving into my first apartment in Gainesville on a 100 degree day in June. I remember getting drenched while walking across campus in a summer storm. I remember the first time I walked into The Swamp (the stadium, not to be confused with the bar across the street that bears the same name). I remember wearing sweatshirts and peacoats when the weather turned colder (back when cold was 50 and freezing was 40!). I remember packing my life into a Uhaul just a few days after graduation to begin my life as a tv news producer in Knoxville, TN.
I've never lived among Florida fans since I left Gainesville in May of 2001. I spent my 3 years in Knoxville trash talking with all of my Rocky Top friends. Then I moved to the U.P. of Michigan where they were obsessed with this sport called Hockey. And now I live in Northeast Wisconsin where the majority bleeds green and gold. But I still cheer, watching every Florida football and basketball game I can up here. Karl looks at me funny when I scream at the tv and he laughs when I dance around after a touchdown. He tries to support the Gators, but it's just not the same.
My life as a solo Gator fan ends in 6 months. Monkey has no choice. He will be raised a Gator fan from day one. He will learn to respect the SEC. And someday, I hope he makes his home in Gainesville. Hey, maybe he'll want to play football. :)