I come from a city ruled by rivalries. South Side vs North Side. Sox vs Cubs. Bears vs Packers. Latin Kings vs Gangster Disciples. Deep Dish vs Thin Crust Pizza. You name it, people in Chicago will fight about it.
Moving to Nashville, I thought I was free from the disagreement. One NFL team. No Major League Baseball to worry about. No significant gang activity, and definitely no pizza worth getting excited about. I figured I could actually form my own opinions about things without causing major uproar. (My family still despises me for becoming a Cubs fan despite their die-hard devotion to the White Sox. Allegiances run deep in the North.)
Enter, College Football.
Prior to moving to Tennessee, my only “connection” with college football was a Purdue t-shirt my ex-boyfriend brought me back from a game a few years ago. I had no idea that college games are televised nationally, and definitely no clue anything other than the Big 10 was “big” enough to care about. Shortly after moving to Nashville, I witnessed my first college football tailgating experience. Let me tell you—it was quite an exciting day. A reason to grill hotdogs and drink beer outside for 8 hours? Sign me up. College football seemed like an excuse for people to get drunk and live out the “good ole’ days” reminiscing about their alma mater. Innocent. Harmless. All in good fun.
I was wrong.
Little did I know, college football rivalries are just as prevalent as any major league rivalry I had ever experienced living in the North. College football is a way of life in the South. The SEC is their pride and joy. I’m not sure if I will ever truly understand it, as I am still struggling to figure out why the heck Alabama calls themselves the “Crimson Tide” (isn’t that another term for a woman’s’ time of the month?), and wondering if “geaux” is actually a word, or if the Tigers just made it up.
I had several friends text message me today asking what I was doing for “the game,” and, after realizing that there were no NFL teams playing tonight, I had to ask a coworker what game they were referring to. But, as I scroll through a seemingly endless feed of Facebook status posts and tweets with the hashtag #RollTide talking about tonight’s BCS game, I can’t help but appreciate the rivalry. I can’t help but think of the tinge of pain I feel every time someone makes fun of my Cubs for not winning a World Series in over a hundred years, or my Bears Quarterback for being a total sissy (he is, I’ll admit that). Passion is something that has no borders. Whether you live in the North or the South, people are passionate about what matters most to them. It’s a universal language that needs no explaination.
With that being said…Congratulations to my neighbor to the south, Alabama, for a fantastic win tonight against LSU. Roll Tide! #bandwagon