Saturday, November 19, 2011

Southern Gridiron

Photo by arkorn
By Micah Lambert
I was a soldier in the military on the infamous date of September 11th, 2001. I was greatly affected by the events of that day, just as the people around me and in my life were. This fall, we as a nation celebrated the 10th anniversary of the event that resulted in a surge of national pride and unity. And nothing symbolizes that unity to me more than football.
The remembrance ceremonies caused a brief delay in the schedule of the NCAA and NFL. Our country is certainly far more important than any game to be played. However, it can be said that the best medicine is normalcy. Keeping the schedule and tradition of the football season is part of this reliance on the mundane. Yet, no one seemed to complain. Despite the brief delay of the opening games of the season, football fans displayed their patriotism in stadiums across the nation, which made me very proud.
Nowhere is that more true than here in South Carolina. Football is not just a sport in the south: it is a cult. As football fans, we breathe, live, eat and soak it in for roughly five months a year. The pigskin enthusiasm is everywhere, and you can see it in our license plates, t-shirts, wallets and even personal checks. Everywhere we look, we can see symbols of the college and professional teams we embrace. It isn't just special because of the sport or the time of year, but it is special because of the individuals with whom we spend those countless Saturdays and Sundays.
Before we know it, the season that we waited for all year will be gone. One more blink, one more yawn, one more nap, and it will all be over again. Then it will be the "wait 'til next year" talk and "we have the bragging rights now.”  How does it slip by us so quickly? How does it come and go?  Why did it grip us so tightly? No matter the answer to all of these questions, it does. Football clearly serves as not only a sport, but a pastime that has been bringing friends and family together throughout the years.
We may come together to remember the 10th anniversary of a national tragedy like 9/11. However, tragedy is not the only unifying element in our culture. We also have football.


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