It is the time of year we sit down with family and friends to feast together and fellowship over turkey and dressing, giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives. After our bellies are full and the thankfulness is over and done, we get down to what we have waited for all year...good old-fashion hate.
Its rivalry week. It's the week that lasts 365 days.
It's the reason we love to hate. It's the reason that in a convenient store in Alabama, I watched as a man entered the store looked at a display of Alabama and Auburn styrofoam coolers and took it upon himself to rearrange the display by placing the Auburn cooler on top of the Alabama cooler.
"Did you see that?" I asked the cashier.
"Happens all day, every day." she said.
It's the reason, in 1992, I witnessed the Georgia Tech band pull a tarp with the Tech logo and place it over the G at midfield at Sanford Stadium, home of the Georgia Bulldogs. It may have been one of the best performance the Tech band has ever put on but nobody heard a note due to the longest continuous boo that I have ever heard.
It's the reason why I once asked a doctor at an ER in an Alabama hospital what was the slowest day of the year, expecting to hear Christmas.
She immediately responded, "That"s easy, it's always the day of the Alabama-Auburn game." She told me that one year they only saw one patient and he was admitted due to a heart attack he suffered, you guessed it, watching the Alabama-Auburn game.
It's the reason for T-shirts stating "One for the Thumb" and bumper stickers that read "Punt, Bama, Punt."
And phrase like "Free Shoes University." It's reason why you see grown men in cars on the interstate doing the Gator Chomp or the Tomahawk Chop in taunting gestures even with kids in tow.
It's reason there are trophies shaped like an egg that both teams covet. And great names like "The Iron Bowl" and "Good Ole Fashion Hate."
It's the reason Robert T. Daugharty, owner and proprietor of Daugharty Gas Station in Valdosta, Georgia, once said "I hate Tennessee, I despise Auburn, and I loathe Florida."
"Gosh I hate to see who you abhor," I said. "I have no idea what the word means but it sounds like it fits Georgia Tech."
It's the reason I asked a South Carolina fan what would happen if his son grew up to play for Clemson and he stated, "I'd disown him, I raised him better than that." I couldn't tell if he was joking or not.
It's the reason when the score of our rival is announced and they are losing we cheer and it's one of the loudest cheers of the day. It's why we have differing overall series records in our media guides, apparently games during WWII are counted or not counted depending on which side won those games.
It's the reason we would rather go 1-11 with the one win being over our rival. It's the reason our rivals name is in our fight song, usually telling them a destination we would like them to go to. It's the reason the final score this Saturday will be remembered for an entire year, and the winner will be proudly reminding the loser.
And the loser, having the score seared in his mind, counting the 364 days until that score is no longer relevant. It's the reason the winner gets to rub it in and pull all kinds of great practical jokes. It is the best time of year!
Rivalry Week...It's the reason we love to hate. Now you'll have to excuse me I have to go eat some turkey, give thanks and put a Georgia flag in my Tech friend's yard.
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