Southern Football and Crazy Competitiveness

There is so much material I could go into on this topic but maybe I’d better give the skeptics (usually male) some background on my wealth of knowledge about college football in the South. My father was all SEC-tackle at the University of Florida (Gainesville…The Gators) in 1949. He also holds one of the records for most playing time on the field because he started every game and played both offensive and tackle and they stopped doing that the year after he graduated.



I grew up a huge Gator fan, but chose to go out of state to Auburn because I wanted to do something “different”. My husband graduated from Florida, my son graduated from Auburn (we attended the national championship game together when Auburn beat Oregon in 2010 and he was a sophomore) and my daughter is currently a student at Florida. I am addicted to the new SEC network, especially the Paul Fienbaum show, which I record everyday during football season. (Listening to that show would give you insight into the depths of how serious we can take our college football down here in the South!).  We still have, and pay handsomely for, the original Gator Booster season tickets/seats my dad secured as a player in the 40’s.  My uncle Ted (my Mom’s brother) was the radio color commentator with Otis Boggs for almost 40 Gator football seasons. I have read and love the book “God and Football”, which explains every SEC school’s traditions. Paul Fienbaum has a good book too. There. That, my friends, should qualify me as somewhat of an expert on Southern football, especially the SEC.image image

This love of SEC football and competition bleeds off into other areas. There is that other non-SEC powerhouse, FSU. You may have heard of them.  You may have heard of their most recent and notorious quarterback, who got away with despicable behavior. If you are an Auburn fan (FSU beat Auburn in the 2013 national championship game in the last 13 seconds) and especially a Gator fan, you most likely do not like FSU and thoroughly enjoyed their thrashing by Oregon in the first national playoffs this past season.

Auburn’s nemesis is the powerhouse, Alabama. Both are state schools, but Alabama’s fan base is largely composed of non-graduates who merely reside in Alabama. Auburn’s fanbase is largely composed of actual Auburn graduates. At this time I would like to inform you that Auburn has the largest number of astronaut alumni and the new CEO of Apple is an Auburn alum.  Just thought I’d mention this.  In the same vein I would like to mention the University of Florida has an outstanding reputation in the academic world, now commonly being referred to as “The Harvard of the South”, and is known to be extremely competitive in their admissions process.  I hope you are getting the picture I am trying to paint here….these competitions run deep and not just on the playing field.


This leads me to a recent little incident I am happy to share.  I may not have mentioned that my daughter’s boyfriend is graduating this spring from FSU.  This is particularly annoying because he is a great young man and we really like him.  We all civilly survived football season this fall due largely in part to the fact that none of our teams advanced to, or particpated in, the national championship game (don’t you just love college football?!).  But seriously, my story has nothing to do with football.

Here goes…early in November my daughter was visiting the FSU campus and (of course) got a $30 parking ticket.  Several days later my husband gets a bill in the mail (the car is registered in his name) for the ticket, and FSU has assigned him a student number and threatens to not let him register for classes if this ticket is not paid.  It also says you may go online to pay the bill, but when I try to do this, I discover you need a student login.  I give up and write a check and mail it.  The check is processed and clears mid-November. On December 23rd, I get a second bill with a $10 late fee.  I then make copies of said bill with a lengthy explanation of how it has already been paid, explain my husband is not a student and his car was merely visiting their campus, and then attach a copy of the cleared check made out to the FSU billing department as instructed.  Because I am annoyed, I use a University of Florida return address label, just for spite.  Mid-January the third bill arrives. Trying again, I call the number as instructed on the bill for “help”.  I timed the call.  I am placed on hold for over 32 minutes. The first 15 minutes involve listening to classical music with repeated messages of “Welcome to FSU, please hold and someone will be with you shortly”. After about 20 minutes a lovely recorded speech comes on telling me how outstanding FSU is in multiple areas…how many special scholars…how many special awards, etc.  This continues adnauseum for at least ten more minutes…and then a dailtone. Yep. They hung up on me. I was not happy.

My last ditch effort is to email them.  The help section with the phone number also gives an email address. It is literally my last option. I go over step by step what has transpired, scan and attach all previous correspondence and include a copy of the processed payment.  I explain that when trying to reach them by phone, I was kept on hold over 30 minutes and forced to listen to how outstanding their University is. I tell them “That’s just great but how about let’s start convincing me with attempting to clear up this little parking fine”.  Two days later I get a return email saying all has been forgiven, the fine has been noted as paid, and the  student hold has been lifted.  Do I need to say more?  Go Gators and War Eagle!!!