Archive for April 17th, 2005

Intercollegiate dating

"I could never date someone who didn’t understand and respect my deep love and commitment to Alabama football. I could also never date someone who wore orange on Saturday. Boys need to understand they rank around 3 or 4, God, Alabama Football, husband, shoes…"
– Jessica Faye Najjar on the difficulties of intercollegiate dating
I have recently decided that it takes very special circumstances to justify dating someone whose loyalties lie with an SEC football team other than the one you hold dear to your own heart. I’m sure this is a problem within lots of different conferences, but I see it as a special issue down here in the Southeast.

"I dated a Techie for four years. It doesn’t work. Then I dated a Georgia boy and it was great. We shared the love of Georgia football that only Georgia students can share."
– Ashley Marsh on the difficulties of intercollegiate dating within the state of Georgia

I’m not saying that I might not end up married to someone who went to Ole Miss, or whose dad played for Vanderbilt, but I think it is a pretty safe assumption that I will not end up with a gator or a volunteer (orange is not my color). And you should be careful about dating someone who you can’t possibly see yourself married to, because you never know what might happen.

Now, there are some SEC teams that might be acceptable, but there are risks. I divide the SEC into four groups. The first and most hated group consists of Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. South Carolina and Alabama are the second group, Vanderbilt and Kentucky are in a third group, and the fourth group consists of Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. LSU isn’t in a group, it doesn’t deserve the degree of hate afforded the first group, but it also doesn’t fall into the other groups.

There are three football teams that I despise. I despise Florida, and Auburn, and Tennessee. I pretty much hate LSU, but I don’t despise them – I like their colors because they are my high school colors. I feel confident that I will never feel good about going to a football game and cheering for Florida, Auburn or Tennessee. Honestly, there is not much I can do about it, I just really dislike these schools (did I ever tell y’all that my dad scored a touchdown at the Georgia Florida game in 1969? I did?). I can’t see my brother and father ever truly connecting with a guy who loved any of these schools, and this is quite important to me. What am I talking about, NO ONE in my family would actually understand and be able to take anyone I dated seriously if they had a strong love for any of these three schools. I can’t image any circumstances where I would sign up voluntarily to be a part of a relationship that dedicated time, energy, and love to any of these orange clad establishments.

With regards to South Carolina and Alabama, I actually like these schools. I grew up in Augusta, which is closer to Columbia than it is to Athens, and as such I have friends who went to USC. Alabama is actually pretty far away, but I have a lot of friends from Alabama who I love and I think that Alabama has one of the most loyal fan bases around which I appreciate. That being said, Alabama hasn’t been a strong contender for a long time because of the NCAA sanctions and South Carolina has had a hard time really getting it together in the SEC east again Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, and as such hasn’t been too much of a threat. I feel that things are looking up for both programs and I might not always have nice things to say about these two schools. I know my friends from South Carolina don’t have very nice things to say about Georgia, so I could see it being hard for the Carolina fan to date me. But all in all, I could support Alabama and South Carolina in situations where Georgia was not directly involved. It would be difficult, especially when trying to decide between a big game in Athens and a big game in Tuscaloosa, but it is something that could be worked through with the right person.

I see the SEC as the only real conference around when it comes to football, and I honestly feel like that SEC championship is much more important than the national title, because personally I think at the very least the two top football teams in the country are in the SEC every year. Not to be splitting hairs, but within the SEC I see things as East and West. The East is my conference. Part of the reason that Alabama is a school I like is because they are in the West. This changes things.

In the East, I hate Florida and Tennessee as I said, and I like South Carolina as long as it is kept in its place (which I fear might soon change). Vanderbilt and Kentucky aren’t particularly threatening, and they are both in pretty places, so I am happy to have them around, especially so I can have someone to cheer for during the basketball tournament. In addition, no one is going to argue that the Vanderbilt game is going to be better than the Georgia game, and Kentucky is quite a drive. In the West, Ole Miss is a great place to visit, Mississippi State rarely even registers on the radar, and Arkansas is too far away to bother me much. Basically the teams that don’t bother me other than the two exceptions of South Carolina and Alabama are schools that don’t have cult like followings with regard to their football teams, and as such these people are available to be swept up in my cult.

The bottom line is that it is hard to imagine not being able to share one of the most serious loves of my life with the love of my life.

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