Article produced by The Florida Fan- for FL.U.ST. Sports
Born and Raised in the bayou, next to the world’s most beautiful beaches. I’m as Floridian as they come. I love fishing. I love spring creeks and swimming holes. I love palm trees and warm temperatures. But most of all, I love the Florida Gators. And if you are like me, it comes with cheering on every sport Florida competes at. It’s is fully and unequivocally apart of me, like the sun kisses on my shoulders- being burned one too many times as a boy running the ditches, looking for the biggest frog or snake. Competing in dirt bomb wars, after a freshly graded clay road. Competing in farm league baseball and tiny mite (pop warner now) football in the fall. Floridians are as competitive as anyone in the nation. And no other university translates that attitude as well as the University of Florida. Or as us Gator fans call it- The Everything School.
This is not an article about what makes us the everything school.. Or even an article about us being the everything school. It is about the memory, and emotion of what makes you a fan. What makes you a Florida Gator fan. Whether it’s the school you always dreamed of going to, or the school that your Dad, Mom, Aunt, Uncle or siblings went to. You love the Florida Gators. And for some of us that may just be the reason why. For me, it was simple.. Saturday’s as a youngster, in the fall, would start off with cartoons and end with football. Football gave me that competitive spirit, a primal feeling of wanting to run harder, hit harder and just plain hurt the opponent. And you wouldn’t get a deeper sense of that feeling anywhere else better than, the Swamp. There is nothing like 90k plus fans attending a home game.
In 2017, 90 thousand fans attended the Homecoming game. I’m proud to say that I am one of those fans. Sadly enough, it was the same week that American Rock legend Tom Petty passed away. The game ended with a loss, but we were left with something more than an ‘L’. Something pretty special. WE, the fans, started a great tradition of a 90 thousand fan (including the team) karaoke to Tom Petty’s (and the heart breakers) “I Won’t Back Down”. So even though we lost, it was worth the money and time spent. This is why attending games is important, as a fan.
I’ve been to several games, but I’m not a season ticket holder. Living in upstate NY really makes that dream hard. But even though I live in upstate NY, I save money throughout the year to try and make 2 games (1 away and 1 home) every season. It’s not the cheapest hobby, but it’s worth every penny! Why? Because watching my team lose on TV isn’t something I remember every detail of… But starting a tradition with 90 thousand other fans is special. Something I won’t forget. Seeing my daughters cheer on the team I love, with huge orange and blue bows in their hair. It’s a tradition.. It’s an event.. It’s quality time. It’s bond forming. It’s family time. And anyone in that stadium wearing those same colors, is my family for 3 hours.
So that being said. This Florida Fan is without a doubt a fan of going to a stadium to watch our boys beat down a rival. Understanding that it’s just a game to some, but for people like me, it’s far more. It’s about supporting a sport that I love. It’s about supporting a school that I love. It’s supporting a great tradition. But most importantly, it’s about the comradery, family and tradition. So do yourself and team a favor! Start your own tradition, and go to the game! Support The Game!