A Gator’s perspective.
“Who cares about college football?”, you may be asking yourself. Well I’m glad you asked.
Imagine college football gameday. Its an image that comes easily to me. You are in a relatively small college town that seems to double in population six weekends every fall. On Friday, the school campus begins to resemble a K.O.A. Alumni and students gather to discuss past glory and the triumph to come. On Saturday morning you awake earlier than normal (for a Saturday), with anticipation not unlike a small child’s on Christmas morning. . . kick-off is near! You make your way to campus as the afternoon approaches. As you near your destination, more and more people join you on your chosen path. You arrive at the stadium, eager to see your school take on one of it’s bitterest rivals. You feel a combination of anticipation, confidence, and doubt; but you won’t admit to the doubt. From the moment of the opening kick-off until the final second has expired from the clock, each play is agonized over until its result is known. The agony of anticipation grows with each play as the game gets closer to its end, but the outcome remains in doubt. Suddenly, from the rhythm of the game arises the “big play.” Pent up nerves are released into the depths of despair, or the heights of exhilaration. Tens of thousands of people screaming in unison are either silenced in that instant, or released into joyous pandemonium as the outcome of the contest SEEMS to become clearer. But more often than not fate is not so easily coaxed from the closet, as the so called “big play” alternately plays the champion for each team, toying with the crowds emotions before the outcome is clear. And when when the last seconds finally tick past, the crowd is left either with the hope that next year will bring better returns, or bragging rights for another year.
That brings me to a little get together that happens in Tallahassee this year. It’s an attractive city to be sure, but it’s not a college town – in the purest sense. I can’t fault the fans. A fine school and a fine team share a north Florida city with our state’s capital. While our rivalry with them is not considered our biggest, it certainly has gotten hotter of late. Our fortunes against them never seemed lower than the “the choke at Doke.” However, a little contest that decided a national championship a few years back more than atoned for that sin.
I am young, my experience is slight, and my knowledge of the history of my alma-matter’s rivalry with FSU is shamefully lacking. But this I know: we have won more often than we have lost. I say this not because we should rest easy on our laurels, but merely that it is easy to do so.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. A line has been drawn in the sand. It’s time to play the game.