Florida State, Florida State, Florida State… who?

I am one conflicted woman. I considered praying about this decision, but I think that might be taking it too seriously. 🙂

This has been a difficult football season. Alabama has won only four games to date, even after holding some mighty fine teams to small spreads. Florida State looked to be making a national championship run until they tripped up against Clemson. Let’s not even turn attention to the NFL – my Jaguars have had it rough!

The players and coaches aren’t the only ones dealing with changes. Even at this point in the season, I’m still adjusting to attending a different football school.

I didn’t approach this year with high expectations, at least so far as the number of victories was concerned. On the other hand, I anticipated an entirely different football experience than what I’ve had.

You see, I’ve been a fan of Alabama football for as long as I can remember. Even before I understood and appreciated the sport, I knew that victories for the Crimson Tide meant good things in my household. My daddy was known to award $20 bills to my sisters and I after a successful Iron Bowl. The gift of choice for that man has always been an Alabama t-shirt for his birthday and often a sweatshirt for Christmas.

It is with this mindset that I dubbed Florida State my #2 as I became a Seminole in 1999. The university was my back-up in case none of the others worked out – and they didn’t. I mourned the decision for a night and then turned toward the future with determination. I made up my mind that I would make the most of my years at FSU – and I did.

The three and a half years (and four football seasons) I spent in Tallahassee, Fla., were the best I’ve experienced to date. I won’t try to encapsulate all that I experienced during those years, because regardless, you won’t be able to appreciate those memories. I imagine that anyone who has lived through their own four year college experience can relate. Those memories are not quick to fade.

Football played a significant role in those years. As a freshman, I watched my team win their second national title. I can’t imagine a better cap to an amazing first semester. After toliet papering property of 26 guys the night before, I was barely able to keep my eyes open as we played Duke in 2000. It was at a football game that I hid my disappointment at being rejected by a boy. My final game before moving to Alabama was the 2003 Sugar Bowl. We anticipated a loss going in, but the weekend in New Orleans was worth it.

FSU set the bar high. Though Seminole tradition isn’t as established some fans may think, four hours in Doak Campbell is time well spent.

I’ve found that I’m not always able to say the same of Saturdays in Bryant Denny.

I haven’t regretted any of the games that I’ve attended this season, but the experience doesn’t begin to compare to years past. It isn’t because we’ve walked away from many of those games defeated, nor is it a lack of enthusiasm for a losing team. Just the opposite is true – I’ve been impressed by the dedication of fans. On the evening of the first Alabama loss I witnessed, the student section was still three-quarters full as the team ran off the field. The players were serenaded with “Yay Alabama!” as they headed into the locker room. Fans waited through the rain delay to watch the Tide lose to Arkansas in overtime. There’s no lack of spirit.

Still, I’m struggling. My enthusiasm for the team that I’ve supported since childhood is waning in favor of the school where I spent some of the best years of my life. I’ve been fiercely loyal to Alabama throughout the years… but now I’m considering relegating them to my number two.

Is that wrong?

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