When You're an SEC Fan Up North, It's Like Living on a Different Planet

Richard TuttleContributor INovember 12, 2008

I am a transplanted Southerner.  I am an SEC fan in Yankee land and it's like living on another planet.  I went to a college that didn't field a Div. I football game, but followed the SEC teams around me with great interest.

I went to Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia games with friends and even went to an SEC championship game in 2004 where I didn't care who won, I just wanted to see the game and a buddy had tickets.

Now in Yankee land I miss those times.  I recently went to a Big 10 game where there was no large crowd like the SEC.  I missed the hundreds of motor homes and miles of tailgating.  There were no jabbing insults insults of the people in other colors.

It was like attending a wedding or a birthday party, lots of watching, little involvement and only a few moments of excitement.  It just wasn't life or death like in the South.  The losing home team didn't pull their hair, yell and moan, throw their caps down, swear or outwardly seem to care.

It was like going to a play where there were a few polite applause and then everyone quietly filed out and went home.

A football game in Tuscaloosa for example starts days before, with everyone claiming "their spot."  Tailgating is almost as important as the game in the ritual of the event.

The game itself is a mixture of standing the whole game, yelling, swearing, high giving high fives to any stranger sitting near you and each play has a life or death feel about it.

And the party isn't over after the game, there's more tailgating and partying and drinking and celebrations to last the entire night. 

When I was 45 years old I was asked to come by a frat house after a game and total strangers treated me as if I were a long lost brother.  What happened that night is between me and God, but it was a night I'll never forget (and never repeat).

That is football in the South.  Here it's like a different planet.  I think the SEC should host "exchange students" to spend a week at at their campus during football season to learn that football is so much more than just a game.

I'm planning a trip back to attend a game soon.  I need to recharge my batteries and tailgate with complete strangers once again.  I've found a couple of slabs of Dreamland Ribs and a quart of sauce can get you an invitation to the best of parties and I can't wait to do it all again.