All week we’ve focused on family. Today those family ties are tested. Below is my Facebook post from this morning. We are a Gator football family – I lived with one of my cousins at UF. But somehow Uncle David snuck in – a Nole in the henhouse. Regardless of your team we hope this weekend caps off a wonderful week of togetherness and relaxation. Oh…and GO GATORS.
My Facebook Post
“The only college to which I applied, Georgetown University, didn’t accept me. I had no back up plan. When I was later contacted by UF about attending on a full scholarship I shrugged my shoulders and mumbled a yes. I saw my first Gator game that fall – and then I saw all of them. In 1999 we beat Tennessee by 2 points. I lost my voice for a week. And I was in love for the first time in my life. I don’t enjoy most physical contact. I don’t drink. I’m terrible at small talk. I take nearly everything said to me literally. And I’m very blunt. Navigating the pitfalls of high school society was beyond my interests and abilities. Suddenly I stood one voice amongst 85,000 – united with a common purpose. I fell heart and soul in love. I’d found my church. My Mecca. My community. I loved the rules and the clear goal of the game – obvious at each end of the field. I loved the heart and the sweat and the high that came with winning. I loved the sense of belonging. The week after the Tenn game I was hired by UF Sports Information. The rest of my college UF games were seen from the press box above the field. Up there I was mute and polite – unable to support the team. In November of 1999 we’d lost one game (to Bama – by one point in OT) earning us the #3 ranking in the country. And FSU came to town. In the last two minutes of that game – as we were down by a touchdown and it was obvious that we wouldn’t get it back – I locked myself in the press box bathroom and cried quietly. Hopes and dreams died that day. Innocence was lost.
Today will be my 21st FL/FSU Game. Florida football is my longest relationship. My first love still here with me. From Doug Johnson to Lito Sheppard to Eddy Pinero – the players change. The coaches change. But the ideals of the Cult of Football remain the same. Do your best. Leave everything on the field. Follow the rules. Sweat. Support one another. It is the best of humanity – the struggles and triumphs – encapsulated within 60 minutes.
And so today I won’t focus on how #FSUSucks (but God they really do). I’ve worshiped at the altar of Chomp for more than half my life now. I guess you could call me a true believer – or a zealot.
All of this is what I’m saying each week when I type #GoGators “
At the end of a week of family togetherness, kindness and celebration Rivalry week can be a lot of fun. Or not.