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Sundresses on Gameday

30 Jul

Two of my best friends, Lauren and Maggie, and I.
Georgia at LSU, October 25, 2008

*For the record, I had no intention of dropping off the face of the blogosphere after graduation. However,

1. This 9-5 life is exhausting (Conversation with the Director of Marketing last week:
Me: Life is exhausting.
Andrew: You think life is exhausting. You should try having kids. Wait, you don’t have kids to you?
Me: God, no!)
2. I moved. And as far as I’m concerned, moving is pretty much the most awful thing ever. Thus, it allows you at least a two week lazy period.
3. My college computer finally gave out last week. Bad — no new blog posts. Good — new Mac.

So alas, here I am. Finally ready to write again.*

SEC Media Days were last week. In previous years, I kept up with headlines only, as Mark Richt is reliably and comfortingly boring. So, unless I could scoff at Urban Meyer referring to himself in the third person, my interest has always been limited. But this year, I had Twitter. And 8 hours of work to get through on both days. So I paid very close attention.

Turns out, Tim Tebow is a virgin. Aside from thinking he’s an idiot for addressing his virginity publicly (Didn’t we learn anything from Britney Spears??), I really don’t care. I just wish he had cried again while admitting it. (But then again, if he cries at a later press conference while admitting he fell victim to the *charms* of one of those *classy* Florida girls, it’ll be even better.)

This did interest me, though: As a result of the hoopla surround Tebow’s announcement, as well as “Tebowgate” and Saban’s movie wardrobe, Andy Staples wrote a column on college football in the South. I have my edits, mostly due to my Dawg bias, but otherwise, he is spot on.

My two favorite snippets:
:: “College football is just more important to people in the South than it is to people in the rest of the country. There is a good reason for this. Pro sports ignored the South for a long time. For southerners in my parents’ generation, college football dominated the news because it usually was the only game in town. Those people passed their sports consumption habits down to the next generation, and my generation will pass it along to the one that follows ours.”
:: “People who live up north always say they could never live down here because they would miss the change of seasons. We have seasons in the South. Football season, recruiting and spring football.”
(Read the rest here.)

Don’t misunderstand, the South has faults. Lots and lots of them. And when I was 12 and hellbent on leaving the hypocrisy and conservatism, I could have spent hours naming them. People gossip everywhere, obviously. (I mean, Gossip Girl is set New York…) But in the South, they do it relentlessly, and then smile broadly and ask how you are at church on Sunday morning. And if you’re not at church, well, good luck. Southern women are often still expected to deflect to their men. And if they don’t have men, something must be wrong with them. And the persistent race issues are evident. Admittedly, all of this can be infuriating.

But in the South people smile at you. They really smile. In the drive-through window and at the cash register. At the office and in the park. People wave too. To neighbors on the sidewalk and strangers at the intersection. And as Southern women, we get to buy pretty dresses and wear them to football games. (Those *classy* Florida girls who wear bikini tops to games don’t count. For me, that may be the biggest reason Florida absolutely cannot be considered a true part of the South.) And as I apparently told Jessica a couple weeks ago at Kramer’s, as a girl in the South, “If you ever get in trouble, just bat your eyes and smile.” As Southerners, we have the most distinguishable and, if used correctly, irresistible accents in the world. Boys who do not open doors and pull out chairs are not deemed datable by girls or their daddies. Mac ‘n’ Cheese is considered a vegetable. The tea is always sweet. And as the T-shirt says, football is not a sport. It’s a religion.

And by football, I mean college football. SEC football. (My Internet Marketing Manager went to Clemson. At least once a week he lets out a frustrated sigh at one of my ACC jabs, usually something along the lines of, “Awww, 15,000 people went the ACC Championship Game? Y’all should probably stick to basketball.” Which is not to say I don’t love college basketball too — I do — just not as much.) Football in the South is spine-tingling, chill-inducing, squeeze-your-best-friend-and-kiss-the-boy-next-to-you, I’m-going-to-remember-this-moment-and-this-night-and-the-people-I’m-sharing-this-with-for-the-rest-of-my-life glorious. I have a life goal of writing about it — sharing the true experience of it — but I have doubts about whether it’s possible to accurately convey the feeling through words. But I can promise you this, IF (very, very, very big “IF”) I get married, the day will have a hard time beating a touchdown on the last play of the third quarter, watching 92,746 fans move their arms in rhythm through the air during Krypton and dancing with friends, football players and CBS sportscasters to Soulja Boy as my best day ever. (I thought Alabama 2007 was the best game. Then Florida 2007. I was wrong both times. Auburn 2007 was A.MAZ.ING.) Football in the South is truly magical. More than that, football makes the South magical.

The South still has its issues, no doubt. And I’ll entertain an (inevitably deficient) argument about the Big XII offenses, the West Coast bias and the Big Ten power. But, in the end, Staples is right: Who needs a blustery fall and a white Christmas when you have warm Saturdays on North Campus and New Years in New Orleans?

38 days till kickoff. Go Dawgs!

Auburn at Georgia, November 10, 2007

“You got your sundress on for Gameday /
Just to drink beer on an old tailgate /
You were born and raised to be a Southern Belle /
But in a place like this you like to raise a little hell /
You got your year-round tan /
You’re on the five-year plan /
You shake your little pom pom up in the stands… /
You’ve got that high school boyfriend you still think about /
And you know how to make him jealous when he comes into town /
You drive your little love bug when you’re skipping class /
And your sisters get you home when you’re drunk off your ass /
You know how to be a lady /
Yeah, you’re still daddy’s baby /
You drive the band and the boys and bartenders crazy…”

– Luke Bryan, “Sorority Girl”