By Darrell Puckett
The assumed expectations of some fans towards a certain college program or professional team sometimes seem too much. Growing up both an Auburn and Louisville fan, there were instances where I observed obsessive behavior from other fans at games. These fans were at times misguided it appeared. They seemed consumed with something other than enjoying watching their team play. They seemed consumed with winning.
I often find myself asking one question consistently. Is winning the only thing that matters? Of course, being young and ignorant I didn’t understand the winning tradition for athletics. Becoming a fan was more than giving my allegiance for this or that particular team. It was a lifestyle.
The state of Alabama takes college football seriously. Well, it takes any athletic competition between Auburn and Alabama seriously. The athletic culture down South differs from any other in our country. The culture resembles a consistent life style that’s passed on from each generation. One question is assembled and asked to every child when they’re capable of comprehension. Roll Tide or War Eagle? The answer to this question will instantly impact that person’s life until death. It’s a life style.
Making the decision to become an Auburn fan dictated my relationship with family, friends, classmates, and acquaintances instantly. The first question asked by people in Alabama is who do you root for? How crazy is that? I’ve always heard that if you’re not from here, then it’s impossible to understand. There’s truth to that statement, just watch an Auburn and Alabama game.
Individuals who refuse to chose a side are instantly considered an outcast and not from Alabama. To be honest, I wouldn’t trade growing up in this state for anything. It taught me how to deal with both sides of fans, the overly excessive and plausible types. First off, both sides have these two types. The amount of times a day I hear each fan base make claims arguing who’s classier or are better educated is uncountable. Having thick skin is essential, and how you deal with an insult exemplifies your character around here.
Outsiders are easily seen by their jealous remarks when talking about the SEC dominance in recent years. If you can’t name how many National Championships the University of Alabama have or the amount Auburn claims, then don’t open your mouth. Fans around here only acknowledge statistics, Heisman Trophies, and National Championships. People who criticize this mind set are considered ignorant and incompetent among locals.
I’m proud to be a part of something so chaotic, absurd, compulsive, and ridiculed called Alabama sports. Yes, we love our athletics, but remember it’s a lifestyle.
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