As a graduate of the University of Tennessee settled in Knoxville, I have long said that I cheer for the Vols and anybody playing against Alabama. It’s nice to reminisce about previous seasons with fellow fans, especially about our undefeated team in 1998 and our national championship that year. Ahh, good times. Good times. We know what it’s like to win. We also know what it’s like to lose. The last few years have been rough for my alma mater. We’ve lost quite a few games and we’re well aware that we have a lot of room for improvement. You win some, you lose some. Life goes on, right? Well, yeah. Mostly.
Thanksgiving weekend is full of traditions for many people. For some, there’s a family feast. For others, there’s midnight shopping madness. For football fans, there’s Alabama vs. Auburn. As much as Vols love to see the Crimson Tide ebb and wane, the rivalry between the Yellow Hammers and the War Eagles is far greater. Everybody around here knows the annual Iron Bowl is a big deal. Even my mathlete son, who has to pause to recall whether football is the sport with a touchdown or a home run, got excited over this year’s game.
The SEC Championship Game was on the line for both teams. For Alabama, the next stop would be playing for a third consecutive national title. Auburn was ready to take down a giant and rise in the rankings. It was a big deal either way. The whole country tuned in to watch the spectacle. Our house, along with many others, celebrated a Thanksgiving miracle as Auburn returned an attempted field goal kick 109 yards for a winning touchdown in the final second of the game. The shocked looks on the Alabama fans’ faces were precious. The disgusted look on Coach Nick Saban’s face was priceless. Take that, Rammer Jammers!
Around my house, that was the worst of it. I wish I could say that’s as ugly as it got. Around the internet universe, there were immediate slams and slurs and death threats. From Alabama fans. Against their own team. Against 20-year-old kids. I’m not saying ALL Bama fans were hostile, plenty of fans stood by their team, but I saw one claim that UA football was more important to him than his wife and family and he was very disappointed. Another claimed that he would burn his Bama gear. I had a Facebook friend that basically said anyone who didn’t believe that Auburn cheated/the refs were blind/Cade Foster was paid off/etc was an idiot. There was no civil discourse. There was no reasoning. Really? It was just a football game, right? I said I HAD a Facebook friend. The rant got so bitter and vile that I clicked the unfriend button. Whew! It felt really good to not see the venom in my feed anymore. Thank you to my Bama friends who maintained sportsmanlike conduct – even if it was only because you were stunned into silence.
Social media can be a pain. It can also be a blessing. If you’re into arguing, finger-pointing and name-calling, there are forums for you. Find them. If you’re into hanging out, having a laugh and winning stuff, I invite you to join my page. Gentle jesting and good-natured ribbing are allowed, but I promise, if anyone says mean or hurtful things, they’ll be benched or ejected. Come on over! Even if you’re an Alabama fan. https://www.facebook.com/imawordnerd
Sit on a bench? I’d love to! Hope y’all like this idea as much as I do. I’m working on hopefully getting one installed at our local elementary school. :o) http://www.today.com/video/today/53733368#53733368