College football means split loyalty

Published 9:46 am Monday, September 21, 2015

College football season can be hard on people who like more than one team.

It’s weird rooting for two college football teams. Many people come from split households and choose one team or the other, while others turn from both of those teams and search for their own.

For me, I claim two teams as my own. It’s a difficult concept for people who have loved a single team their whole life to understand. People expect everyone to pick a solitary team, forsaking all others.

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Being from Alabama, this was heavily apparent with the state’s deep division between Alabama and Auburn. Nearly everyone likes either one team or another. Oftentimes it’s hard to remind people there are actually other teams out there.

My dad is a Tuscaloosa native, and I was born there myself. His younger sister and he got all of their degrees from the university, and his older sister has worked for the university for years. After attending Alabama myself, the school has become a very important aspect in my life, but there is also another team out there, which will always hold a special place in my heart.

While my dad, and undoubtedly others, see this spilt loyalty as traitorous, it was the hand I was dealt in life.

My maternal granddaddy attended Mississippi State University. Two of my mom’s sister also went there and met their husbands at the school. Five of my cousins are graduates and two of them met their spouses while attending the university. Eight members of my family are season ticket holders at Davis Wade Stadium. It’s a large portion of my family who cheer for the Bulldogs, and even though I never attended the school, I love my family.

I look at people who have stood firm in the same team their whole life and think it must be nice never having to be torn.

Sometimes I wonder if my dual loyalty has led to my ability to deal with a game loss. The ability could have come from going to a high school with a losing football program, or possibly it’s just my disposition to shrug it off and look forward.

I’m not saying this outlook makes me a better person. I just feel like this outlook is very rare, especially as I watched the mass exodus of Alabama fans leaving this weekend’s game barely into the second half.

Don’t get me wrong, as I stood in Bryant-Denny Saturday night, I was hoping and praying while screaming my lungs out for a victory. The stakes were high in playing my other team’s archenemy.

Fortunately, unlike so many others, I can stand in a stadium and cheer for my team no matter what time of day, no matter what the numbers on the scoreboard. So many people give up and leave once the team gets down. They miss out on the point, which is to enjoy the experience of being there. Why should I be upset about not winning a game?

It’s sad to me to see such a large cross-section of people lose hope and faith in the very thing they once believed. Sure, the chances of Alabama coming back to win Saturday night were slim with the way they were playing, but if faith and hope are lost, what do you have?