[October 09, 2010]
When the score is 2 – 2, it sounds more like a futbol game than a football game. But in our “house divided”, the Tigers have 2 and the Gators have 2…wins. Since 2007, G and I have attended the LSU/UF football games together. Every year it’s been the same friendly smack talk between us during game week. Followed by the same puzzled looks from fans trying to comprehend how a Tiger and a Gator can still walk out of the stadium post-game holding hands—because clearly one of us had to lose.
2007 was a happy game for me. We were in Death Valley and LSU pulled out a close win during a fourth quarter littered with controversial calls. The stadium was easily dominated by Tiger fans, but I was fairly on my own in the visitor section and constantly being “chomped” at by Gators. Final score, 28 – 24. Tigers also clenched the BCS championship game at the end of the season. Geaux Tigers!
2008 was just plain embarrassing. It was my first visit to The Swamp and I tailgated with an all Gator crowd. If I closed my eyes, I could have mistaken it for Louisiana. The smell of boiled crawfish and jambalaya permeated the humid air along with a sprinkling of y’alls and football talk. Aside from my purple and gold shirt, I managed to “blend” in and everyone was more than friendly. With a roadie in hand, I trekked to the stadium alongside Gator friends hungry for a win. And they had a feast! The score was 17 – 0 at the end of the first quarter. I showed up to The Swamp, but LSU missed the turnoff from Interstate 10. Growing up a Saints fan, optimisim is in my blood. But by the third quarter of this game, I was bored, embarrassed, and ready for a liquid dinner. At least the loss secured me a warm bed in the loser’s corner as opposed to the driveway at G’s parent’s house. 😉 Final score, 51 – 21*, Gators (*which should’ve been 14, but I think UF was embarrassed for us and gave us a TD).
2009 had potential and it was back to Death Valley. Both of us had a lot of friends and family at this game so our entire day was spent tailgate hopping. Since my brother managed to score tickets for me that year, I was finally seated amongst LSU fans and G had a taste of what my last two years were like. Well, sort of. UF was solid, but we were hungry for a win. Two weeks before the game, UF’s star player, Tim Tebow, suffered a concussion and his playing status was a mystery until game time. He played and they won. But the score was easier to digest this time, 13 – 3, Gators. G had just flown in from Amsterdam so jet lag was abated with a ‘W’ for UF…especially one in Death Valley.
2010 was back to The Swamp and a Gator gave me the “courage” award for proudly donning my LSU shirt with coordinating purple and gold beads. After our long flight from Amsterdam, I think we both deserved the fan-that-traveled-the-furthest-award. As with previous years, it was a close one to call in advance. While LSU was undefeated to date, the wins were close and sometimes lucky. Florida just lost to Alabama and L’s aren’t what the Gator Nation is accustomed to as of recent years. Our seats were in a very Gator section and not a single Tiger within earshot. No one to reach across a few rows to for a quick high-five when TDs were scored. The lead toggled between the two teams and then it was down to an intense fourth quarter. I’m pretty sure G and I didn’t speak a word to each other during this time. Not due to bitterness or rivalry, just sheer tension as the clock ticked down, plays were continuously reviewed, and we each quietly hoped the other would lose. With a final TD in the remaining minute, LSU won 33 – 29. I was surrounded by unhappy Gators and appropriately kept silent as the colors on my hat, shirt, and beads were loud enough. Back at the tailgating site, our Gator friends offered congrats and we all enjoyed a beer as we waited for traffic to die. G’s dad even taped a “Geaux Tigers” sign on the door to greet the divided (and very tired) couple. I took this as a sign I was allowed to sleep inside.
Now the score is even. We’ve each experienced both a win and a loss at home and away. We always joke that the loser has to wear the winner’s colors to the next game…but we’ve never reinforced it. Basically because it just won’t happen. But if you have an idea for the 2011 game, I’m open to suggestions!