When I was a student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, I hated Duke. I REALLY hated Duke. Even when I started dating this really cute guy (who is now my husband), Ben, from Duke, I still REALLY hated Duke. Although I will admit that being able to hassle my hubby did make it more fun. I do now on a rare occasion find myself cheering for Duke (very rare). I married into a mixed Duke/Carolina marriage and love it!
But the big thing I didn’t realize I was marrying into was the Auburn/Alabama rivalry. Growing up in Minnesota, I had never heard of Auburn University or the University of Alabama until my first roommate in college, who was from Alabama near Auburn, educated me. Then when I met Ben, I really got educated in the fine art of the most intense rivalry in the south. And now my own children are being educated.
Now that I actually live in Auburn, this rivalry takes on a whole new meaning. Each year I realize more just how intense this rivalry is and what a huge part it plays in the every day life of a fan. With the end of the AU/GA game on Saturday night came a mix of emotions – elation that we had won, anxiety about the upcoming Iron Bowl, more anxiety about the SEC Championship and great sadness at the thought that the campers, fans and football fun are finished in Auburn for another year. The whole Cam Newton issue also has put an interesting spin on the season.
Recently I was discussing this rivalry yet again with Ben. He put it into perspective for me. He said something to the effect of, “I grew up with this, and I’m just used to it. It’s just the way it is and always will be. You just need to deal with it.” So I guess it’s time for me to put on my thick skin and realize that this is just the way it is and the way it always will be. Some people are just too serious about the whole thing. I’m not going to be one of those people. I’m going to have fun watching the Iron Bowl with my family knowing that it doesn’t matter who is #1 or #50 in the nation. This game can always go either way (kinda like Carolina/Duke).
In the meantime, WAR EAGLE!