Sunday, September 26, 2010
Be True to YOUR School!!!
I am pleased to say that I had the opportunity to attend a very fine institute of higher learning in Statesboro, Georgia. The school of my choice was Georgia Southern University and I am more than proud to wear my school colors and boast about all things Georgia Southern. This happens to include a pretty good football team that has won 6 National Championships in just 30 short years of playing football. Our first coming in 1985 and our last coming in 2000. Everyone that knows me knows that I am a Georgia Southern fan first and foremost. No other team is as important to me as my Eagles! No Team! Not even the great UGA!
This brings me to the topic in which I want to discuss. I know that I wear Blue and white colored glasses, but I really do not understand how someone that chose to attend Georgia Southern, got their degree from Georgia Southern, makes their living from the degree that they received from Georgia Southern, met and married a girl from Georgia Southern, yet wears Red and Black on Saturdays and screams Go Dawgs!! When you ask them if they are going to watch the Southern game, they look at you like you are crazy and say "Shoot no. We (meaning UGA) got Vandy today. Should be a good one!"
Let's talk about the "we" part of that statement. You are not allowed to say "we" when you are speaking about a football team unless you are an alumni of that school, or you are presently enrolled in classes at that school, or you are actually on that school's football team as a player. You can say the team's name in reference to them, but you can not say "we".
It does me no good to mention to my fellow alumni, now rabid UGA fan, that Georgia Southern happens to be playing a conference game today that has some real meaning. It is not fashionable to act like they care. You see the UGA bandwagon has become full over the past few years due to the success that the Dawgs have enjoyed in the SEC conference. GSU graduates find it more popular to pull for the bigger school. They wear their UGA hats, they fly their UGA flags, they dress their kids up in UGA gear, and they plan parties around the UGA game on ESPN. I don't mind going to the parties because I also like watching the Bulldogs, but if Georgia Southern is playing at the same time, I am wearing my headphones and listening to the Eagles!!
I just want to know why some people find it necessary to pull for a school that they never attended and why they show no love for the football team at their very own Alma mater.!?!?!?
Now don't get me wrong. I understand some of the arguments. Here are some of the most popular.
1). I grew up pulling for the Bulldogs!!
I completely understand. Everyone grew up pulling for one team or the other. I do not fault you for being a Bulldog fan if you have pulled for the team your whole life, but I do have a problem with this example of not being "true to your school". A couple of years ago, GSU played UGA in the season opener. Georgia was ranked very high in the preseason polls and talks of a possible National Championship were being thrown around. Georgia Southern plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, which is the division under UGA, and therefore has less scholarships to offer its athletes. To say Georgia was favored is an understatement. My friends and I were at a summer BBQ and football was the topic of discussion. My friends which included UGA and GSU alumni asked me who I was pulling for in the upcoming game. I said Georgia Southern without batting an eye. They said I should pull for Georgia because if Georgia lost the game they would have no shot at a National Title, but Southern could still win their National title if they lost. (That actually happened in the 2000 season- UGA defeated us 24-7 but we went on to win the Championship in 1-AA later that year) I stuck to my guns and said that Georgia Southern was my school and I hoped that they beat the ever living snot out of the Dawgs!!! They got mad at me because I would not pledge my allegiance to the good ole UGA. Even the guys that went to Georgia Southern said they were pulling for the Dawgs to beat us so that they would have a chance at an undefeated season. I say to hell with UGA when they are playing "my" team. I can say that because Georgia Southern is "my" team. I went to school there!!!
2). Georgia Southern plays in 1-AA. That is not real football!
I'll be the first to admit that Georgia Southern plays on a smaller stage than schools such as Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State, or Notre Dame, but it is good quality football played by some very good athletes. Let me ask you this. If you come from a High School that plays its football in a AA classification, do you pull for a team that plays in the AAAAA classification because AA couldn't possibly be "real" football?? I doubt it. I'm willing to bet you pull for your High School team regardless of classification. It is what it is and you play where ever they assign you to play. Georgia Southern plays in the FCS, formerly known as the 1-AA. It is what it is!
My second point on this same argument is that I would argue that Georgia Southern plays the "real" football and Georgia absolutely does not! Georgia Southern has won 6 National Championships and we have won every one of them by playing in a real championship game. That's right, we have won it on the field of play by starting out with the 16 best teams chosen to be in the playoffs and winning 4 playoff games on the way to being crowned Champion. Not one person votes on who will be the Champion of our division. There is no such thing as the BCS where the media, coaches, and a computer tell you who the Champion is. Now you tell me who plays "real" football!
3). But my kids like Georgia!
Who's fault is that??? My kids have never worn a UGA outfit, slept with a UGA blanket, drank from a UGA sippy cup, or asked to have their room painted Red and Black. I did not attend UGA, so why would I want to do that? I want my kids to be proud of the fact that their Dad supports the school that supports this family. My kids wear Georgia Southern jerseys and cheerleading outfits. We hang GSU ornaments on the Christmas tree and my daughter yells "GO EAGLES" at the high school football games even though our hometown team is named the Hurricanes. (it really is cute) If they decide when they are older to pull for another team, then that will be fine with me, but at least they know who I stand for because Georgia Southern is "my" school.
There are other arguments that I could mention but they really do not hold much water with me. I say that you should pull for "your" school with blind loyalty. After all they are "your" school. You are a part of the history of that school and you should want to be a part of its future by supporting "your" school the best way that you can. That even means pulling for "your" schools football team!!!!
So I will continue to be unpopular in this little UGA Nation in which I live by pulling for my little football team in Statesboro. I will wear the Blue and White on Saturdays, fly my Georgia Southern flag, drive around with my Georgia Southern car tags, dress my kids in Georgia Southern shirts, decorate my office with Georgia Southern pictures, customize my golf cart with Georgia Southern emblems, get my local radio station to carry Georgia Southern games, give my money to the Georgia Southern football team, and yell like hell for "MY EAGLES"!
At least I can say that I am TRUE to MY school!
Go Eagles!!!! GATA!!!!!!