November 13, 2012
Every four years since 2000, Georgia Southern football has traveled to Athens to take on the University of Georgia. But the debate between True Bluers and Eagle fans with a history of rooting for the Bulldogs seems to be never-ending.
I will preface this column by saying that I do not limit these feelings only to Eagles who are fans of UGA. This is for all of you who attend(ed) Georgia Southern yet have another university for which you feel compelled to cheer ahead of GSU. I also will say that I cannot and will not try to tell anyone what they can and can’t do — including for whom they can and can’t cheer. However, I hate seeing fellow Eagles putting another university ahead of MY alma mater — OUR university.
I grew up in Statesboro and was one of the kids playing football down by the scoreboard. I slid down the hills on cardboard boxes. Erk Russell and Tracy Ham were my childhood heroes. My mom wrote the words to the alma mater, for crying out loud. Needless to say, I have always had only one college sports team: Georgia Southern.
I understand that not everybody grows up supporting (or even knowing about) the Eagles. I realize that there are those who end up at Georgia Southern but grew up die-hard fans of other schools. Living in the great state of Georgia, the University of Georgia is obviously the school that most often falls in this category. And there is far too much red and black in this town for my taste.
I have no issue at all with people who grew up cheering for a team and continue to want to see that team do well. It would be hypocritical of me to tell you that as soon as you enroll in classes at Georgia Southern, you have to stop pulling for a team you have spent your whole life following. Had I attended college elsewhere, I always would have had a place in my heart for Georgia Southern.
Here’s my point. If you attend or graduated from Georgia Southern and can’t figure out who to cheer for this Saturday, you need your head examined. How in this world can someone honestly root AGAINST their
school and FOR another school?
You grew up cheering for UGA (or whatever other school). I get it. But how in this world does it make sense to anyone to pull for another university to beat your own?
I am realistic. I understand the odds of Georgia Southern pulling off the upset Saturday are pretty slim. UGA plays in the SEC and has 22 more scholarships than the Eagles. But how can you be a Georgia Southern student or alum and not want to see the Eagles shock the world and win? Just look what beating Michigan did for Appalachian State a few years ago. It’s been five years, and they are still riding the momentum of that win.
Can you imagine what a win over a major BCS program would do for Georgia Southern? Why would you not want that for YOUR university? How can anyone affiliated with Georgia Southern not want OUR university to win every single time one of OUR teams takes the field?
It’s time for OUR students and alumni to starting putting OUR university ahead of all others. So, do me a favor. Take those other schools’ tags off the front of your cars, take off that other school’s hat, and start putting YOUR school first in line when it comes to your loyalties.
I’m not asking anyone to stop following those teams for which they grew up cheering. I’m simply asking everyone to take some pride in OUR university. Is it too much to ask to have some school spirit for OUR school and not someone else’s?
Georgia Southern is YOUR university — and in my opinion, it’s the greatest university in the land. Take pride in that.
Georgia Southern is the home of six national championships, Erk Russell, Tracy Ham, Adrian Peterson, Our House, Beautiful Eagle Creek, The Run, The Catch and the Yellow Buses. Freedom’s flight gives me chill bumps every time, and the sound of the GSU fight song is more than just music to my ears. There is nothing like a Saturday at Paulson Stadium, and there’s nothing like being a Georgia Southern Eagle. I just wish everyone felt the same way.
Hail Southern … and nobody else!