I’m sitting here in my purple and gold, waiting for the game of the season century ever, if you believe the College Game Day hype. Perhaps even prophesied in the Bible. I don’t know about all that, but I do know that I’ve planned my entire weekend around it, despite the fact that I didn’t attend either school.
But that’s not uncommon. Certainly not in the south. Here in Georgia, you’ll often hear, “Most of Georgia’s fans have never been to Athens” or “…can’t find Athens on a map” or, my favorite, “…can’t even spell UGA,” depending on how disparaging you want to be towards Georgia fans. We’re a Georgia Tech & LSU family, so the answer to that decision is always, “very.”
I love sports, but I think that’s because I love having any sport on in the background. The clichéd “roar of the crowd,” the ebb and flow of the announcer’s voice building to a fever pitch with every amazing play, the crack of a bat, the fireworks after a touchdown – it all reminds me of being with my mom’s family in Reserve, LA where a game was ALWAYS on the TV. If it wasn’t the Saints, it was LSU – football or baseball, of course. If it wasn’t them it was MLB, or even high school football. We love high school football in southern Louisiana, more than most. So give me that background noise, and add the clinking of a chain hanging from a slightly off kilter ceiling fan, and it’s magical music to my ears.
Despite that, it never occurred to me to attend any of the big football powerhouses in the south. And by “never occurred to me”, I really mean, “my dad would never, ever allow it.” So, I chose Trinity University, a tiny little private school in San Antonio, Texas with a TOTAL enrollment of 2,500. We have an amazing Division III football team and even won ESPN’s Game Changing Performance of the Year a few years back. My senior roommate was the captain of the cheerleading squad and yet, I don’t think I went to more than a handful of football games. Amazingly, the Gambit had an article this week addressing EXACTLY this situation. I was thinking about this blog topic, and suddenly I run across an article written by George Rodrigue’s wife, who also went to Trinity. Wendy said it better than I could, when describing the drastic difference between her college experience and her families’: “Without question, they were the cool kids, fans of football games, dating and parties, while I brown-nosed my professors and stood waiting early-morning at the locked library door.“
Yes, Trinity was a very different experience. We talked about our double or triple majors and multiple minors way more than we talked about football scores. I thrived in an environment where I was surrounded by fellow geeks and probably would’ve been completely lost at a huge university.
And yet, surprisingly, I got my big school football experience through work, 5 years after graduation. My client is a sponsor of the SEC and because of that, for 5 years I spent many, many weekends in the fall trekking to some of the biggest football rivalries in the southeast and Midwest. Bama, Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee. Ironically, I never got to go to LSU because of a conflicting sponsorship there. However, Ashley and I did get to go to the 2007 LSU/Alabama game in Tuscaloosa. The first time LSU played Alabama after Nick Saban defected to the Tide. The game where so many LSU fans drove to Tuscaloosa that there were more people watching the game just outside of the stadium than inside of it. The game that saw more shifts in momentum than any other I’ve attended. I got to go to A LOT of major football games in my 5 years in that role, but none were more electric than that one. So tonight, I’ll scream for a team that is not really “mine.” And on Thursday, I’ll do the same for Ashley’s Georgia Tech (her adopted team). Simply because once it’s engrained from birth; it’s a part of you forever.I’m looking at my captions here and realizing I’m a hell of a good luck charm for LSU. If anyone wants to send tickets my way to ensure the continued win streak, please do so!