The following is a conversation I have at least once a week, if not more:
“Where are you from originally?”
“Alabama?!?! You Roll Tide or War Eagle?”
“Oh, I don’t really care.”
AWKWARD SILENCE. OR EXAGGERRATED GASPS MEANT TO CONVEY SHOCK AND AWE.
Telling people you’re born and raised in Alabama but don’t care about football feels like coming out of the closet, over and over and over again. I don’t know how I emerged from that state caring so little but it happened and I really need people to get over it. I always claim it has a lot to do with the fact that growing up, no one in my immediate family was obsessed with either team or sports enthusiasts in general. We are all SEVERELY uncoordinated but have decent endurance for running, hiking, walking, etc. You know, nothing involving a ball or basket or net of any kind. My attempt to play sports in middle and some of high school was pretty sad. My Mom didn’t do tennis matches with pals, my Dad didn’t golf to do business and my sister had panic attacks before bowling class at University of South Alabama. My Dad went to law school at Alabama and both my mom and sister spent some time at Auburn but none of us really seem to give a rat’s ass. My Dad tries to act like he’s into it now but I know he’s doing more reading of the New York Times during the game than actually watching the game. And I think my Mom likes to silently observe the insanity of the fans with which she occasionally watches games as a social outlet.
Sports just don’t do it for me. I went to college in North Carolina where basketball is king. (Side note, I can’t even spell basketball – I originally wrote it as two separate words – thanks, spell check). I didn’t care much about that either but sort of made myself get into it in order to feel something besides the artistic rejection I suffered throughout college (that’s’ another blog post). My friends were all shocked I had no interest in camping out for tickets all night long. Um, thanks but no thanks.
I want to care, I really do. I love where I’m from and am very proud to be a Southerner but in a lot of ways, it’s probably for the best that I have to live in California for my career because I just don’t fit in down there. By “a lot of ways” I mean, I don’t like football and am pretty liberal. But it’s more the football. So it should go without saying, I don’t care who wins today. If you put a pistol to my head and asked me to pick a team though, I’d go with Auburn. The education my Dad received at Alabama has inadvertently funded a large portion of my life but Tide fans have gotten pretty darn smug over the past few years and I’m a little tired of being annoyed with it from [very, very] afar. So, War Eagle? I still don’t care.