Previewing the Noles and Gators

Nov 20, 2012 -- 11:05am

By: Nick O'Bryan

It’s Florida State vs. Florida week, or as it is called in Tallahassee, UF Hate week.  I would like to take the time to reflect on this rivalry.  Not to relive the momentous wins and saddening losses, but to reflect how growing up hating the Gators has changed for me over the years.  I’m sure there are people who can relate. 

            There are very few things in life that NEVER change for a person.  When I was 6 years of age, your drawings never included orange.  The first thing we would do as kids was open up our fresh pack of Crayola’s and break the Orange crayon in half and throw it in the trash and go about the day.  If a girl had the misfortune of having parents that dressed her up in an orange and blue dress, she was thoroughly berated on the playground for her involvement in this crime.  When I was 6 years old, I hated the Gators.

            So many things in my life have in fact changed.  In 4th grade I was all about yoyo’s, AND hating Steve Spurrier and the Gators.  In middle school I really liked and band Korn, AND hating the Gators of the University of Florida.  I used to have TONS of hair on my head.  I mean, like an annoying amount of hair.  I would get a haircut and wake up with a full head of the stuff pretty much the next day.  In those days I hated the Florida Gators.  Now I am bald, but my hatred remains strong to this day.  The point is that being a fan of FSU and having a disdain for the Gators is one of the few unchanging factors in my life.

            I’m sure there are many people who grew up Gators that have a similar story, but it seems so strange when you have lived your whole life being so against a team.  When I see a Gator shirt on someone to this day, my first thought is always, “why are they wearing that?  Don’t they know that they are the bad guys?”  It has been a lifelong thing.  Now, I live in Jacksonville Florida where my wife and I have to shake our heads when we go out and see all the Gator fans out and about.

            It may not be the same rivalry it was when the winner usually went to a national championship, but it is becoming great again.  UF is ranked no. 4 and FSU no. 10, which will be the first time these teams have met both ranked in the top ten since 2000.  This is an exciting time for the state in general.  After last year, things seemed strange in college football without the state involved in talks of BCS bowl glory, but we are back.    

            This is a week that comes every year.  It’s a week that everywhere else in the country people are getting ready for a nice Thanksgiving with family, being thankful for what they have; eating lots of food and taking tryptophan induced naps.   We will do all that, as there is so much to be thankful for, but in Tallahassee this isn’t Thanksgiving week…..its Florida State vs. Florida week.   

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