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I Hate Florida, But I'm Going Anyway

First things first. I hate Florida. And like vineyarddawg, my hatred borders on the thermo-nuclear variety. But, listening to the Dawgone Podcast the other night and the round table of rants and gator-bashing, I realized I wasn't alone - it was downright therapeutic.  I was in good company.

I hate Florida and I'm not just referring to our football rivalry; I even hate the state of Florida. Someone once said that the south went to hell in the cab of an air-conditioned Chevy. I don't know about the south, but I do know that if it wasn't for air-conditioning, millions of northern retirees sure wouldn't have taken I-75 south and parked their wrinkled behinds in such a God-forsaken swamp.

I do a lot of traveling with my job; I love the fact that I get to see the great landscape of this country. Last fall, I even enjoyed a week driving over a thousand miles around Oklahoma; absolutely beautiful country - I've driven across the mid-west, New England, the Rockies, all through the South including one particularly relaxing trip from Vicksburg, Mississippi to Opp, Alabama. But, when I get assigned south of the Georgia border, I cringe. I once had to drive from Crestview to Clearwater; from the nothingness of the panhandle to the bumper-to-bumper retired blue-hairs in the vastness of suburban trailer sprawl. That state is such an armpit that even the mullet sacrifice themselves to have their lifeless bodies thrown back over into Alabama by drunk rednecks.

Nor do I find anything classy about their state school. Example. Last year, my company hired a pair of interns for our summer program, one each from the University of Georgia, the other from the University of Florida (we're an EEOC workplace). I take the UF student to help on an out-of-town job, and while we're at dinner one evening, I get a phone call. Now my phone rings with a very loud and clear rendition of Glory, Glory by the Redcoat Band. We'd been talking football, so I give a little laugh and admit I didn't plan the interruption. The response? "That's okay. We never have to hear it during the game anyway." You know, if I'm over at someone else's house and I think their kid's ugly or their dog stinks, I keep my mouth shut. The truth hurts, and when I'm paying for your damn dinner, I don't wanna hear it.

I've got Gamecock and Tide colleagues at work, many of whom I call friends, and I'm perfectly at ease with self-deprecating jokes and Munson-esque woes when I start rambling on about football by the coffee pot. But there's just something about Gators that just flips a switch in my brain transforming me from southern lady to colossal b&^ch. Fortunately, we only have one UF grad in the company and he wouldn't know a football from cow pie. He had the nerve to Gator chomp at my door a few years back after yet another loss; I had an out of body experience and I can't quite remember what I said, but he hasn't done it since.

Apologies for the rant, but because most of my formative football watching years (and later, the ticket-holding years) have suffered the lopsided record against the Gators and the fact that I hate being south of the border anyway, I've resisted going to the Georgia-Florida game. I've been to Stillwater, but never to Jacksonville. I just haven't been able to throw myself into an atmosphere of drunk obnoxious, gross Florida fans and then make that long drive back on a loss. But, last fall, as I paced back in forth in front of the television watching our freshman quarterback finally play like a freshman, I made a verbal vow - hell or high water, I'd watch the 2011 game in person.

So, Friday morning, I'm headed south from my native north Georgia. If anybody else is going that direction, give me a wave - just look for the red SUV with a gator noosed up to the back bumper.

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I'm packed and ready to go....Go Dawgs!!!

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