Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gator Nation and those that love and hate us

We hope you kept an eye on John Clay's blog because he really stirred it up with his "Florida Gator haters abound in SEC" column.

Here's an exerpt:

"Basically, (Florida is) like the new money Internet millionaires in the old-school club of SEC football," Travis wrote via e-mail on Monday. "Everybody knows they're rich, but they insist on being showy anyway."

Oh, the Gators are Bill Gates-rich all right. They've won two of the past three BCS titles. They're favored to capture a third this season. They have Tim Tebow, the all-too-perfect robo-quarterback. They are coached by Urban Meyer, i.e., The Urbanator. And did we mention they are favored to bring home another BCS title this year?

"They're the Alabama of the '70s with Bear Bryant," said Paul Finebaum, the long-time Birmingham talk show host. "You can make your season by beating them. You can make your program by beating them. Who had ever heard of Ole Miss before they beat Florida last year?"

But the bit we really liked, was the reply Clay posted on his blog:

Dear Gator Haters…

I was born in Florida, as was my father before me (b. 1927). My mom’s from Nashville; by your reckoning, that should mean I’m a full-blooded southerner. My uncle attended UF in the ’50s, as later did my brother and I (in the ’80s, when if we weren’t a laughing stock on the gridiron, we were getting SEC Championships stripped for cheating). But darnit, I don’t sound Southern (anybody who knows diddly about Florida knows there ain’t a drawl to be heard south of the I-4 corridor).

But know this, Gainesville is as “southern” as any other town south of the Mason-Dixon line. And we certainly make no apologies for winning. Bama wants to win? Should have won over Meyer first instead of monkeying with that southern boy, Shula (wait, he’s from Maryland). Georgia wants a better QB? Should have recruited Tebow. Heck, he’s from just outside Jacksonville - that’s about as Southern as you can get.

Lookyhere, everyone starts with the same shovel in the same raw earth when birthing a football program (ours happened to first turn dirt in 1930, 24 years after we first fielded a team - not exactly spring chickens here, wouldn’tyasay?). Where you go from there is up to you (actually, your Athletic Director, who wins the hearts and minds of a coach like Meyer, who then recruits better than the competition).

So hate my school, loathe my coach (uncharismatic as he may be), mock me for not having a drawl (that’ll be a first), even curse at me while I proudly wear my colors (trust me, I’ll be in ‘em, regardless of whether we’re 12-1 or 1-12). While you were Gator hating, we were putting that shovel back in the ground again to build a shrine to our three crystal footballs.

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