Being an SEC football fan means more than just cheering on your team for five months a year.
The fate of college football, and even more specifically, SEC football, hangs in the balance right now. 2020 has thrown blindside blocks our way from every direction, but fans in the SEC will remain steadfast in their passion, loyalty, and unbreakable spirit.
It’s incredible to see how this narrative has changed and the goalposts have been moved since the COVID-19 pandemic took root in March.
First, there was talk of the SEC just going it alone.
Then we moved to looking with hope to a new season.
Then, as harsh truths began to set in, a less optimistic outlook took root.
The 2020 college football season may be a shortened one with or without postseason play. It may be a delayed season. Worst case scenario, the season may not happen at all.
What do SEC football fans say to that notion?
They say Roll Tide! Go Dawgs! War Eagle! Geaux Tigers! Woo Pig Sooie! Hotty Toddy! And on, and on, and on.
Every fan of every SEC football team would be visibly upset if the season is canceled. But not a single one would let the pain of a lost season become the thing that drags them down to the knee-deep, immobilizing mud-bog of despair that kills all hope.
To SEC football fans, the season is just the apex of the year, with five or more months of rowdy hootenannies, high-cholesterol food, face paint, bright colors, mama’s sweet tea, red Solo cups, and a whole lot of arguments (both within the family and outside the four walls). The passion, the fandom, the true onus of being an SEC fan is in your heart, not contained to a calendar’s binding dates.
Yes, it’s great to be an SEC football fan. It’s a family and behaves like one.
Yep, families fight. Siblings torture one another. Uncles, aunts, and cousins become disinvited guests. But in the end, it’s still family with bonds that are just as strong as any blood-tie found in the Kentucky hill country.
You want to make an SEC football fan mad? Say something bad about their team.
You want to make an SEC football fan so mad they step to you puffed-chest and threaten to end you? Be an outsider and bad-mouth anyone from the SEC.
Beat us on the field, if you can, but don’t smear my kin.
In other words, Vanderbilt may be a doormat, but they’re our doormat. You outsiders don’t get the privilege of poking fun at them. That’s like picking on the little sister of the biggest kid in the playground. You’re asking for it, bah gawd.
And what if the season is lost? What if college football doesn’t happen at all in 2020? What if just a handful of games are played, but the meaningful championship games, bowl games, and College Football Playoff fall victim to this insidious virus?
SEC fans will stick together through this crisis, season or not. You may see the equivalent of weepy southern funerals, complete with food trains that stretch down the longest dirt road in the county, but they’ll get through it together.
Alabama and Auburn fans will mourn together while planning on the utter destruction of each other next season. Georgia and Florida fans will raise a toast together to the next Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans will swap bow ties and cowbells. Tennessee and Vanderbilt fans will probably try to form an alliance to stop everyone else.
The message? I don’t like you, but we’re family and we’ll get through this.
The greatest fanbase in all of college football will sit on the front porches of their world and spin tales of “what could have been” in 2020 while flying their banners high and hollerin’ just as loud as if they were standing on hallowed ground in an SEC football stadium.
It truly does mean more, and it’s a simple way SEC fans have of looking at things when it comes to football.
Everyone else don’t matter.
Others don’t get it. We don’t expect them to.
Damn, it’s good to be an SEC fan.