Saturday, August 22, 2015

Seasonal Song of the South: SEC Football and its Fans

So, I've been thinking...

Whenever I started out with those four words in a business meeting, all the other directors and senior staff members would groan and try to hide. Hard to do that in an online meeting, though, so they always had to suffer through it. 

So, I've been thinking...about following up on the FAN vs FANATIC post of a few days ago. 

Growing up in the deep South as I did, the beginning of football season kicks off a string of highly looked-forward-to events that seem to escalate the rate of time. For me it goes like this*: 

Football season starts-UT's first game-Labor Day-UT-Oklahoma game-the Florida game-trip to Neyland Stadium to watch the UT-Arkansas game-leaves change colors-UT/GA game-my birthday-my granddaughter Rori's birthday-my husband's birthday-Alabama week-Halloween (UT/UK game in Lexington. May hit that too)-sweater weather-countdown to championship week-Christmas shopping-Thanksgiving-Army/Navy game-Vandy beatdown-SEC Championship-put up the tree-Christmas-New Year's-bowl game-NFL playoffs-championship game-NFL championship games-Super Bowl-Valentine's Day.

*some events are interchangeable depending on when games are scheduled. This represents my list for this year, 2015

Then you get a break until it's getting close to March Madness time. 

While that may sound kind of odd to some of my writer friends, or other folks who really don't like or care about NCAA football, to my friends down South--and especially the ones who, like me, really enjoy the Paul Finebaum Show and SEC football--it sounds perfectly normal. I think we all gauge our seasons that way. And while my Song of the South is hardcore University of Tennessee Orange and White (God's team--why, you ask? Because God loves to hear "Rocky Top"), there are equally fascinating and important stories from my friends who (wrongly) bleed crimson, yell "WAR DAMN EAGLE!!" or "WOO PIG SOOIE!"(misguided), or feel their team is disrespected by the rest of the SEC (looking at you Mizzou). 

So I've been thinking. The incredibly fascinating range of stories that make up this seasonal Song of the South would make for a fun series of blog posts. I've extended an invitation to my fellow Finebaum callers/Twitter moguls to tell me their stories about why they love their teams. What made them Vols For Life, or Bammers? What made them love LSU so much that they misspell 'go' by intentionally substituting "e-a-u-x" for the "o"? (Geaux Tigers! Cracks me up every time I see it)  For every true college football fan is that moment of origin, the split second that took them from fan to fanatic. Living in Ohio, I have learned that while Ohio State fans are equally loud and just as annoying and unrealistic as the worst fans of SEC teams, their loyalty to the Buckeyes seems to be genetically imprinted upon them in utero. For some reason, folks up here love their Buckeyes because they're supposed to. Back home, fans learn to love their team--sometimes outraging whole generations of their family if they learn to love the WRONG SEC team. For example--Alabama/Auburn fans. Two great schools, two storied football programs only 160 miles apart. It is not unheard of for a kid of Alabama parents to almost literally fall in love with Auburn--either as an act of teenage defiance or just because they watch the right game at the right time. Fistfights start at weddings if someone utters "Roll Tide" at the wrong moment. 

And don't get me started on trees. 

So I'm going to compile this Song of the South. After all I am a writer, and the only thing I love more than hearing a good story is the opportunity to tell one. And if nothing else, I'll get to hear all those great stories. 

What? Football season is only 14 days away! I have to do something to pass the time, and Rocky Top only has two verses.

And who can resist a team with an entrance like this?

Only fourteen more days until the Song of the South starts for my Volunteers.

Wish that I was on ole Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee hills.
Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top
Ain't no telephone bills...

"Rocky Top":lyrics by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, 1967
first released by Osbourne Brothers, 1967

No comments: