Filled with Gator memories
Jared Lang | Highlands TodayOf all the subjects of conversation at my lunch table, none are approached with more zeal than my friends' debates about college football. The cafeteria features a melting pot of University of Florida fans, Florida State University fans and fans of many other schools including the University of Miami, the University of South Florida and the University of Georgia, just to name a few.
Published: October 24, 2012
Published: October 24, 2012
Since the beginning of college football season in the last week of August, each week of school has seen a slow progression of arguments transitioning from analysis of the past week's games on Monday to predictions of games to come on Friday. Most of the jawing occurs between Gator fans and Seminole fans and usually only the bell can table these debates.
Both of my parents attended the University of Florida and were actually married on campus so I've grown up watching Gator football. I was born only a year before the Gators won their second national championship in 1996. I attended my first Gator game at the age of 6 and have gone to several since. At that first game I fell in love with Gainesville. Everything about the atmosphere from the orange and blue everywhere, to the palpable buzz in the air, to the 90,000 people awaiting kickoff makes it one of the most magical places on earth. Gator fan or not, one can't help but be in awe of Gainesville on game day.
While I'm not much help with statistics in arguments about college football, I try to represent the Gator Nation with my unquantifiable memories of Gator success in the past decade. The University of Florida's national championship season in 2006 is the first time I have ever genuinely followed a sports team's season in its entirety. For this reason, that season holds a special place in my heart and I genuinely believe that the 2006 Gator football team is one of the best in history. The team featured a plethora of future and current NFL players and even several first-round draft picks.
Urban Meyer's combination of quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow set a standard for dual quarterback offensive systems and this dynamic has been often imitated but never duplicated. Chris Leak won the Offensive Most Valuable Player award after the 2006 BCS Championship game and Tim Tebow (as many are quite aware) went on to win the Gators' third Heisman in 2007 as well as lead the University of Florida to its third National Championship in 2008.
Some of my favorite memories are watching these games with my dad. Both he and I are very animated fans when watching Gator football and commercial breaks sometimes seem to give us more of a rest than the players on the field. We jump up at a Gator touchdown and jump even higher when the other team scores, screaming all the way up and down.
My dog Payton hates the games because she can never get comfortable on the couch with us moving around so much. I always say I will teach her to bark when I yell "Touchdown Gators."
There is never a clear winner in our college football debates but no matter the outcome of each game on Saturday, I would rather be a part of Gator Nation than any other fan base. We've been so successful in my lifetime that I even fear I'll be spoiled if there is ever a drought for winning seasons in the future.