I would probably never refer to myself as a sports fan. I do not watch or follow a lot of sports. But I do like football, and I LOVE college football. And more especially I like following the SEC (College football’s Southeastern Conference) and other big conferences. Which brings up my personal tale of football rivalry. My Miami-area high school was a football powerhouse. It was such a big deal that we played half of our schedule in the (old) Orange Bowl stadium. After high school I went to Auburn University. College football in the south is wildly popular. On football Saturdays stadiums are often filled with 100,000 or more screaming fans.
A majority of kids from Miami made their way to either Florida State or the University of Florida. They are both good schools with big football programs and are popular in Florida. Their rivalry began in 1958. That being said, within the SEC, Florida (the Gators) and Auburn (the Tigers) have a rivalry of their own dating back to 1912! When I moved back to Florida after college, I was surrounded by Gator fans. My sister and two of my closest friends are Gator alumni. It always irritated me that their Gator logo was so popular that people ‘were fans just because of that chompin’ gator’ — at least that’s how I explained it to myself. This extended to my son who was taught by mentioned friends to say ‘GO Gators’ before he could say ‘mommy’. Well practically.
Even at a ‘certain age’, when the Florida / Auburn game comes about, we square off and send insults each others’ way until either they or I can claim victory for another year. And though Auburn has won more games overall, it seems that in recent years, Florida has won more. Galling, I’ll tell you. So a particularly fun phenomena for me is the very fact that so many, many people are Gator fans (alumni or not) and wear Gator T-shirts — everywhere. Many a time a television news story covering an unsavory character, will show said character rocking a Gator T-shirt! Much to my delight, and my friendly rivals’ dismay. I call that payback. WAR EAGLE!