It’s the most wonderful time of the year

31 Aug

No, I’m not talking about election season.  In fact, with the Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte next week, you’ll find Jason and I hunkering down and going out of our way to avoid the deluge of politics.

No, the time of the year I refer to is the start of college football season.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Johnson Photography

After watching soon-to-be-not-#9-South Carolina muddle along against Vandy in the season opener last night, I woke up this morning with more energy than I’ve felt in weeks.  You see, I’m a Gator.  So is Jason.  We love the University of Florida so much, we got married there.  The friends we made there became our family.  We don’t visit our parents in Florida at Christmas without also stopping in Gainesville, because it’s our home too.

Neither of us are religious, however we will defend Tim Tebow’s right to practice his religion and preach his faith.  And we are happy to gently remind Carolina Panthers fans that Cam Newton once played for us…until he stole a laptop and quit the team because he couldn’t get playing time with Tebow there.

Jason and I are trying to manage our expectations for this year’s team right now.  We hear they’re rebuilding, that they’re trying to figure out their quarterback situation.  The Gators have been on the top of the world before, but these past few years haven’t been easy.  But we know it’s okay, the Zook era wasn’t easy either and we came out better for it on the other side.

Tomorrow we get a glimpse of what the rest of the season is going to look like.  I’m pretty sure neither Jason nor I will get a good night’s sleep…it’s like being 5 years old again waiting for Christmas Day to get here.

Our gameday ritual (in no particular order):

  • Viewing of “Gridiron Gators – The History of Florida Gator Football.”  I get chills every time I watch it.
  • Salt & Vinegar potato chips – have to eat at least one during the first quarter.  Or if you’re like me, you love the damn things and will eat half the bag before the first quarter ends.
  • Baked goods (cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts) with orange and blue frosting
  • Breakin’ Two: Electric Boogaloo queued up to play during commercial breaks.  Don’t know why, but the Gators always play better if someone’s poppin’ and lockin’ on our tv during breaks.
  • Orange and blue outfits (this includes the dog and cat)
  • Gator flag flying on the house
  • When a touchdown is scored, someone’s jumping to hit the fan cord with their head (don’t ask, it made sense when our friend did it.  We were also drinking)
  • My dad sending intermmitent texts throughout the game expressing the full spectrum of Gator fan emotion (“They’re awesome!” “They suck!” “At least we’re not Florida State!”)
  • Singing “We are the Boys” before the fourth quarter…admittedly this is more impressive in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, where we’re surrounded by 90,000 of our closest friends

I know that all over the country, other Gators are decked out in orange and blue just like we are today, and that tomorrow the tailgating will begin early.  There will probably be an early morning trip to the grocery store, where I’m sure I’ll bump into other Gator fans.  There will be smack talk exchanged with fans from opposing teams (all in good fun of course) and I’ll congratulate the neighbor kid who always wears the Tebow jersey on his good taste.  We’ll cheer for our team when they do something good, and we’ll groan in frustration when they make mistakes.

I can’t wait.  I would trade a hundred Christmases for Kickoff-Eve.  Work ’em silly Gators.

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