Once upon a time, I was not a college football fan. Growing up a Jersey girl, I had the option of cheering for the Giants or Jets, or the Eagles if you lived near I-95. Rutgers was the only Division 1 school nearby that people could get even remotely excited about. I went to school there my freshman year of college and they actually had trouble giving tickets away—for free! And then I decided to come to the University of Alabama. The mecca of college football. And my world turned around.
People name their first, second, third born and pets after coaches, players and even the team colors. The SEC has won the National Championship the past seven years. The Alabama v. Auburn rivalry is arguably the biggest in the country. Down South, your first words are most likely “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle,” and don’t you dare switch loyalties. In 2011, Zack and I were 2000 miles away standing on an iceberg in the middle of nowhere Canada and a family stopped their hike to scream “War Eagle” at us. That same trip we had a note left on our windshield with “Roll Tide” written on it. It’s complete and utter madness, and I love it.
Watching the BCS Championship with friends last night, we briefly discussed why Alabama fans are a different breed. Perfection is an expectation and we get upset when mistakes are made, even if Bama is winning 42-14. We’re cocky—with good reason. Three National Championship wins in four years allows you to add some swagger to your step as you walk into the heavenly gates of Bryant Denny Stadium on a hot, sticky fall Saturday night. It’s fun to get caught up in the emotions of the game, but at the end of the day you have to remember that it is only a game and the players are young men who are allowed to mess up sometimes.
I have become a die-hard fan of the Crimson Tide after living in Alabama for almost seven years. I can hold an intelligent conversation with you about our players and statistics, but I will also unleash some Jersey rage and shout for our boys to gouge eyeballs and break legs if we’re losing. Irrational? Absolutely. But when in Rome…
I’ll be basking in last night’s perfection for the next few months until August 31st when we take on Virginia Tech once again in the Georgia Dome. The team dominated for 60 minutes, and a fan couldn’t have asked for a better win. That game did not leave anyone wondering who the best team in the country is. We will gloat for a few days, then turn our focus to next season—the returning players, the recruits, the schedules, and the countdown to the next game. Alabama fans are never satisfied. And now it’s time to start the #RoadTo16.