Football fervor, revisited

As many of you know, I live in Alabama, where our allegiance to God, country, and football is legendary and not necessarily in that order. In fact, the joke goes that once you cross the state line you must declare your loyalty: Alabama or Auburn, Roll Tide or War Eagle, the Crimson and White or the Orange and Blue.

For my part, I grew up chanting “Roll Tide, roll!” My dad was an alum, so choosing sides was a matter of tradition and family legacy.

That is, until we moved to Texas when I was in eighth grade. I find it interesting how much our surrounding culture shapes our passions. Living apart from the Tiger and Tide hotbed for a number of years, and then marrying a wonderful man who happens to be an Auburn man through and through led to a measure of indifference on my part.

We now live in Alabama, but despite the joke I referred to earlier, I don’t declare loyalty one way or the other. My husband is raising four of the biggest Auburn fans you can imagine, and no doubt it would thrill his heart for his wife to also don the Orange and Blue. Instead, I now say I’m non-denominational when it comes to football in Alabama: I just want everyone to be happy.

But sometimes I wish I were one or the other as I have observed the very real sense of community and commaraderie that arises between fans of like persuasion. My boys will be out somewhere sporting some of their various Auburn paraphenalia and should we encounter another Tiger fan, here in town or in another state, there is immediately a sense of commonality and unity. “War Eagle” from one fan to another and instantly, a connection based on a common passion.

Not to mention a common enemy and common hatred. My friend whose husband is a purebred Auburn fan made the comment that if Alabama were playing water polo against the university of Osama, then her hubby would no doubt root for the bin-Ladens. Oh, many fans will claim they only cheer against the other when playing each other, but I never half believe them. To be an Alabama fan is to hate Auburn, zealously so, and vice versa.

Several months ago, our usual pest control man was replaced with a young guy who was–and I do not exaggerate in the least–an Auburn fan from head to toe. Literally. Auburn cap, Auburn shirt, Auburn pen, Auburn key chain, Auburn tattoo(s). I’ve never seen anything like it. His allegiance was more than obvious. He wore it literally on his sleeve.

While in no way condemning the football fan, Alabama or Auburn, I can’t help but think in terms of our spiritual fervor. To consider that it is a game that inspires such fierceness of emotion–and in the end it is really only a game–in contrast, things of eternal value often engender only a vague indifference.

Oh, that I might have the same unwavering boldness in declaring my allegiance to Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior! How I pray for passion, zeal, and fervor that marks me as a follower of Christ! May we His church be united, may we know kinship and community with other blood bought believers, and may we be diligent in the fight against the enemy of our souls!
*Originally posted, December 2007

Author’s note: We will be making a trip to the plains this weekend for the Kentucky/Auburn game, our first Auburn game to attend as a family. My longstanding indifference will be put to the test as my husband has indicated his belief in the necessity of me wearing something partisan. I’ll let you know…

Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

7 thoughts on “Football fervor, revisited”

  1. What a great post to read this time of year. Once sitting in the student section at the University of Washington in my 40's (hubby went back to school in his late 30's so was technically a student) when we were beating USC royally and everyone was on their feet screaming and yelling and cheering with joy I couldn't help but think that we'll all be cheering feverishly and raising our hands to our Savior when we finally all meet together with Him and it will be a whole lot better then beating USC…

  2. LOL on the nondenominational approach to football.Well, curious to know if you end up wearing colors this weekend.Have fun!

  3. Well said.And how many folks will go to a football game no matter how miserable the conditions, yet if it rains on Sunday morning, they stay home from church. . . .

  4. A great post. I used to be an Alabama fan, too, until I married an Auburn alum. And now my daughter is at Auburn. AND we will also be at the Kentucky game this weekend. So if I recognize somebody that looks like your profile picture, I'll venture out a "War Eagle, Lisa writes!" and you'll know it's me, Lisa notes… 🙂

  5. We attended our first Auburn game last year. Some wonderful friends gave us their great seats. It was such an awesome experience, even though Auburn lost the game. Have a great time this weekend.WAR EAGLE!!

  6. As I read your post this morning, my son is eating out of an Auburn plate, with an Auburn fork. 😉 It's in my blood; I can't help it. Have fun at the game. (I miss that place!)

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