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My Conflicted Relation with the University of Florida

You're the reason Daddy is having a heart attack. - Doug Benc

I was not born a Bulldog fan. I wasn’t born a fan of any school, really. Both of my parents attended Western Carolina University, and neither of them instilled any Catamount Pride in me. Of all of my family, only one ancestor attempted at all to sway my collegiate rooting interests: my grandmother.

My grandmother attended Florida State back while it was a female-only college. Later, I believe after her divorce from my grandfather, she attended the University of Florida to either complete her degree or to begin working at a graduate degree. I am unsure which, but it does not matter. All that matters is she was a Gator.

Her Gator-dom and dislike for UGA was evident by the college merchandise she gave me as a kid. One of my most cherished possessions is an old UF stitched Albert keychain. She also gave me a Georgia Tech mini-basketball and a George P. Burdell joke book which exclusively mocks UGA. She did not like the Bulldogs.

One of her friends in Florida (and coincidentally a next-door neighbor decades later when she bought a cabin in southwest North Carolina) married Mr. Two-Bits’ wife’s sister. My grandmother was also friends with Mr. Two-Bits. I have not met the man, but I am only two degrees separated from him through multiple paths.

A couple of my best friends from law school are Gators, and they find it incredibly funny that an ardent Bulldog supporter such as myself has that many close connections to UF, that the team which I should root for by blood is also the team I desire to beat the most. Yet, here I am, bleeding red and black.

There is not much flow to this, meant to be more free-flowing and letting it out. My grandmother passed away twenty years ago on October 25, 1993. Unlike my other grandparents, she did not live to see how much UGA came to mean to me. However, unlike my other grandparents (who cared in varying degrees ranging from not at all to "well it’s something to talk about with him"), I know she would have fervently cheered for the Silver Britches when she saw how I did. I know I meant so much to her that she would have come to love the Bulldogs because I did, and she meant so much to me that I can never truly hate the Gators.

And yet... To hell with Florida.

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