Prior to moving to Alabama, we lived in Massachusetts for almost 7 years. If you are from Massachusetts and even remotely like the Boston Red Sox, you grow up with an innate hatred of the New York Yankees. “Yankees S***!” is the mantra. Your parents hate the Yankees, your Grandparents, your Great-Grandparents, and probably the relatives who came over on a boat! The Red Sox/Yankee rivalry is huge and it is well known in all areas of sports. These baseball games between these two teams are always broadcast on television. Always. It’s a big deal!
But, it doesn’t compare at all in anyway to the rivalry we have witnessed here in Alabama between the University of Alabama and Auburn University’s football programs. In the south, football is it. College football, that is. People eat, drink, live and breathe it. You can’t go into any department store (Walmart, Target, Belk, Macy’s, etc.) without seeing Alabama and Auburn gear everywhere. Even my favorite gift shop carries an abundant supply.
It’s not just the shirts and cups and flags and glasses and plates and towels, etc. that make it a huge deal. The bottomline dirty fact of being raised in Alabama is that you are taught at a very early age to love or hate one or the other. I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. This is a downright, hatred in the core of your soul type of hate. And I’ve never seen this hatred displayed more than I did this year. Last weekend. The Iron Bowl 2013. The “best football game ever!” (thanks Justin Timberlake). The game where ONE SECOND changed everything. The Iron Bowl 2013. Auburn won the game. Alabama lost. Both teams wanted it badly. Both teams played hard. But Auburn came away the Victor and earned bragging rights for the next year.
What happened next though was simply unbelievable. Cade Foster, Alabama’s kicker, was blamed for the loss. He received death threats. Social Media was blown up with negative talk about this college senior. And all of this was from HIS fan base. Yes, the people who love Bama. Who wear their houndstooth proudly. They all took this young man and nailed him to a cross and crucified him. Absolutely shameful!!
Some of my Bama friends became different people on social media. I was embarrassed for them. I am embarrassed for them. They showed different sides of themselves. The sides that make people drop their jaws. People don’t forget those things.
Some Auburn fans aren’t exempt from this. They seemed to forget that humility and grace are a huge part of winning.
Oh how I wish we lived in a world where this hatred was gone. God tells us to LOVE. Guess He wasn’t thinking about football in the State of Alabama when He said that! ~insert sarcasm~
Football is just a part of what makes or breaks a university. And it’s secondary to education. Or I’m thinking it should be??