Today, Auburn vs.Georgia. This contest brings out the tribal attributes amongst the population of two of the larger Southern States. Many in both Alabama and Georgia have gone to both Universities, and remain loyal to their Almer-Maters.
In most cases, I would not give a Tinker's damn about any of this, excepting it give me such joy to watch the unabashed pent up anger and venom sane and decent folk can work up over a bunch of guys running around in too tight pants chasing a pointy ball, for no money, and few bragging rites. The most I get out of the game is the rest of my brothers stash of cold Popeye's spicy chicken, part of the tailgate ritual.
Another ''inside story" is that most in the State of Alabama are either loyal to Auburn, or to Alabama. House divided. They are dead serious in their allegiances. I don't know that a loyal Alabama fan or an Auburn fan would recognize the other team if the were the Number One team in the country. How's that for branding.
Finally, the soft underbelly of the Georgia, Auburn rivalry...those bound by holy matrimony who must coexist in the same household the day of the Georgia Auburn game. Janice's son Michael went to Georgia, Rebecca, his wife, went to Auburn. Rebecca got her Doctorate at Ohio State, and now works at the Univ. of Kentucky. They have not "cottoned" well to these graduate degree fan bases, but the Auburn-Georgia game is a big deal in the Epps household.
Another mitigating factor is young Thomas. Thomas is 8 years old, has been subjected to this fray since birth, as you can imagine. I talked to him last night, and I think he's pretty much blown it off...as one of those "It is what it is" household dilemmas. Thomas went to the Georgia-Kentucky game dressed in Blue, sitting next to Dad in Red and Black. Mom took the picture. Not sure what colors she flew.
Thomas has decided, wisely, that he will root for which ever team occupies the territory in which he lives. Being a Georgia or Auburn fan in a Lexington, Ky elementary school will not make friends and influence people. The Wildcat faithful, and their offspring, have been less than enamored with their football prowess over the years, and gloating about Georgia's stomping of Kentucky last week, would not strengthen peer bonds. That's a good lesson to learn at an early age. Hope he can keep the peace.
I hear the House Rules state that gloating is on a time clock in the Epps household. Civility will return by morning over coffee, I'm told.
Whatever the outcome of this contest in Athens, Ga on bitter cold night, temps in the low 30's and wind, tempers will be flaring, keeping all warm. I promise lots of sad talking and slow walking at the end.
If the Chapel Bell tolls after the game, it'll be a hot night in Athens. If not, it'll be a long cold walk to your car.