I have a confession to make – I don’t care about football. (Gasp!) I live in Alabama, and I think that it’s against the religion here to say that I don’t watch, like, or pay attention to football. So I know that I am taking a chance by confessing this publicly.
If you don’t live in Alabama, you may not realize the seriousness of my admission. Football here is important. COLLEGE football, especially. Alabama is a wonderful place to live, but if you decide to move here, you need to be aware that a requirement of living in the state is that you “declare.” Likely, within the first few hours of moving here (if not the first few minutes), you be asked that one, all-important question: Who are you for? Auburn or Alabama?
You must choose. It is not even a thing not to choose. People here in Alabama are very intelligent, and can engage in very spirited political or philosophical debates. Unless you don’t know the answer to that one question. “I don’t know” (or its companion “I don’t care”) does not compute. You will be met with blank stares. Or worse.
Adults can generally cope with the astonishing news that you won’t declare, though they don’t understand. Kids on the playground are another thing entirely. When we moved to a new school district once, my son told the kids that he didn’t like football and he was not going to declare. He got beat up.
Football season is a big deal in Alabama. Everything pretty much stops if Alabama or Auburn are playing. The Iron Bowl matters, a lot. Plans center around game time. Weddings, baby showers, family celebrations – almost all scheduling is dependent upon kickoff time. There are some who have even tried to plan babies’ arrivals around football. I once saw a doctor put his arm around an expectant father, telling him conspiratorially, “If she’ll let me break her water, we can get this show on the road and not miss the game.” I kid you not.
On the other hand, if you like to shop but don’t like crowds, during an Alabama or Auburn football game is the best time to hit the stores. You will have the undivided attention of the sales staff, because you are likely the only customer they have seen in hours. Watch out for the crickets.
It isn’t a good idea to wear, say, an LSU or a Florida Gators shirt into an Alabama restaurant on a Saturday during football season. You might be refused service. It happened to my sister-in-law once. In a Mexican restaurant. I think she ended up putting on a jacket just so they would bring us our chips and dip.
So there you have it. I’m coming out of the closet. In a state where the number one pastime is college football, I would rather be curled up with a book, or watching Doctor Who with my kids, or hanging out with friends. Or anything. Besides watching football. I love my friends who love football, and who bleed red and white, or orange and blue. But I don’t care, at all, about football, even Alabama football. I hope my friends will still love me. (My daughter says that even if you don’t, she still will.)
[images via HD Wallpapers Window and Pintarest]