Football: Illustrations, Reflections, and Excitement.

Well, today’s the day! Football is finally here, and I’m on my way to Nashville to see my #1 team play my #2. In honor of this fantastic day, here are illustrations of my top 4 teams featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s SEC football Preview.

*From this point forward, you may want to skip the text and just look at the awesome illustrations. More ramblings about why I love football is to follow. If you are up for the lack of girlieness, please carry on.

My number four team is the Auburn Tigers. I really only rank them because Auburn is my husband and brother-in-laws alma mater, which means that I own a couple of Auburn T-shirts, go to a couple of games a year, and am subjected to Auburn talk pretty consistently between the months of August and November. Well, all of that plus their colors are pretty awesome together (someone took advantage of the color wheel!!), and I can honestly say that they are the nicest fans I have experienced.

My number three team is the Tennessee Volunteers. I was brought up a Tennessee fan, and my youth was spent admiring Payton Manning and Phillip Fulmer. Orange and white bled through my town and my own high school played Rocky Top every time we scored a touch down. There is still a part of me that warms anytime that song is played and the orange and white will always have a special place in my heart.

My number two team is the Vanderbilt Commodores. I only have two real good reasons why I’m a Vandy fan. The main reason is because this is where I completed my graduate program, which means I feel very loyal. And secondly, they are pretty much always the underdogs in the SEC, and nothing pulls at my heartstrings more than an underdog.

My number one team is, of course, my alma mater: The South Carolina Gamecocks. It was in Columbia, South Carolina that I really discovered my true love for the game of football. I experienced heart breaks from  blown leads, last-minute losses, and mortifying brawls; I have celebrated unbelievable upsets and big time wins in the stands, parking lots, and all over 5pts with my friends; and I learned the true way to tailgate complete with snazzy attire, shagging (the dance), and of course a little bourbon. It was there that I learned that football really has nothing to do with the sport itself but instead the feeling of being a part of something much bigger than yourself.

You see, we all crave to be connected, and sports allow us to do that. Where I’m from, that sport just so happens to be football. It connects us to our fellow alum along with the stranger sporting your rival’s colors. It gives us something to talk about, something to look forward to, and in a time when all we seem to do is numb, it give us an outlet to feel.

This year, South Carolina is projected to be better than ever, and my heart is filled with hope and excitement. But I know at the end of the season (good, bad or ugly) I am a part of something bigger, and that is why I am really a fan.

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