Down here in the South, there is an excitement in the air. Whistles are heard in the afternoons, conversations are getting a little heated, new swag is being ordered. You can't get away from it no matter where you go. It is first and foremost on the minds of most of the population. It's the only thing being discussed besides the suffocating heat. Football is coming.
I live in Alabama. There are some things one must do when living in this state, and one of them is pick a side. When I was four, my family moved from Louisville, Kentucky. By the time I'd reached Kindergarten, I'd been asked numerous times which team I pulled for, Auburn or Alabama. Now I'd been raised on Kentucky basketball, even at that young age. However, that answer did not satisfy my new young friends. I had to choose.
I had no allegiance to either side. I didn't know one person that had graduated from either university or played on either team. For heavens sake, I was a five year old transplant from Kentucky! The only thing I was sure of was that I was a proud member of the Big Blue Nation. One day, when asked the "which team" question again, I replied, "Who wears blue?" "Auburn." was their answer. So I chose Auburn. Just that simple. I've been pulling for the tigers ever since during football season. Was it peer pressure? Heck, yeah. Did I know anything about football? That'd be a negative. But I jumped on that bandwagon and have enjoyed football season from that moment on. Has it changed my love for the Wildcats come October? Never!
My oldest cannot understand how I can pull for one team during football season, and another during basketball. It's never been a problem for me. Until recently, Kentucky hasn't been in the football equation. Not even competitive. Hard to watch, actually. The BBN basically chilled and waited for round ball. My dad had no problem with me choosing a local team to support in the "off season". He even bought me an Auburn jacket. I felt like a cool kid and could take sides during recess. I was accepted.
My sister never picked a team. She could care less about football. If it didn't have to do with her dolls or ballet, she wasn't interested. That frustrated the stew out of me growing up. I desperately wanted her to jump on the tiger train and join me on Saturdays to cheer on my team. She wasn't having it. Sports were not her thing and she wasn't succumbing to any of my urgings. She was never bothered by peer pressure of any kind, which is one of the things I most admire about her to this day. Although, since she married a tide fan and her son is a student at Bama, I do believe I've seen houndstooth in her wardrobe. Crud. Can't win 'em all.
My fam jam is a mix of the SEC. Hub is Louisiana born and bred, and raised to cheer for the other tigers. My oldest chose Mississippi State in his childhood, we still don't know why, and has been a die-hard bulldog ever since. My youngest is and always has been screaming "War Eagle". Saturdays can be very interesting around our house. At the least, it's extremely colorful.
As I've grown older, my roots have gotten stronger. Basketball reigns supreme with me, and I cannot wait to hear the sneakers squeaking on the wood floors. I fly my Kentucky flag with pride, and try to get to Rupp Arena as often as possible. Most of my friends do not share this obsession, but they've come to accept it. They know not to even try to make plans with me in March unless I can be in front of a TV with my bracket. Luckily, hub is a huge basketball fan, completely understands me, and even admires that quality. He sports UK gear, takes me to Lexington, (aka "God's country") and joins me in screaming, "CATS! CATS! CATS!" Well, unless they're playing LSU, but I can live with that.
Sound off time! Who is your team? No fighting in the comment section please. Let's keep it classy.