I was the fourth generation of my family to attend the University of Alabama. My great-grandfather and grandfather -- along with cousins and uncles -- played football for the Crimson Tide, and the names of my family members swell the pages of the annuals throughout the generations. There is always somebody I am related to attending Alabama.
But my father joined the Air Force and I ended up in Georgia, and it was here that I married outside of my religion. My husband went to Georgia, so we have a “mixed marriage.” Studies have been done on intermarrying between races and religions, but I am here today to tell you that there are real consequences between marrying outside of your chosen SEC school.
Your own child might betray you.
It was actually my own fault. As a mother I endeavored to teach my firstborn son about Jesus from the cradle, and I just assumed that the Alabama half of him would win out over the Georgia half. After all, my connection to Alabama -- did I mention the four-generation thing and that my Papa knew Coach Bryant -- would surely win out over my husband’s sketchy Georgia connection because my father-in-law went to Tech.
My own actions came back to haunt me as I sat in an auditorium at transfer orientation on the campus of the University of Georgia last week.
I thought I had actually made my peace with Ronnie’s decision some time ago. After all, I named him after his father, so I guess it’s OK that he wants to follow in his daddy’s footsteps and yell “Go Dawgs” instead of “Roll Tide.” I might have mentioned about 1,000 times that Alabama has an engineering school, too, but Ronnie never even considered Alabama.
So there I am at the University of Georgia with my son. I guess God was bored that day and thought it would be funny to send me on my own -- my husband, the UGA graduate who started all of this -- couldn’t get off work to go. I have crimson blood in my veins but I am also a football fan, so I was impressed by our trip to the Butts building and all of Georgia’s trophies and accolades. We saw the stadium, where Ronnie’s classes will be, his dorm, basically the grand tour and I had just about settled into a form of guarded acceptance.
But then it happened.
I was sitting in an orientation session, where I had heard several speakers -- housing, parking, etc. -- discuss their programs, all of which worked a dig in at Alabama because Georgia and Alabama play this year. Even then, I was OK. After all, they want to beat us as badly as I know we will beat them.
But when the final speaker concluded the session, he said the words that have haunted me every day since.
Due to the fact that our children were attending the University of Georgia, he wanted to welcome us as members of the Bulldog Nation. When I relayed this statement to my husband, he found it highly amusing.
I have been a good sport about it. Let me clarify, I have been as good of a sport about it as I am capable of being. But there is one thing I told my husband I would not do.
He can write the check to Georgia. I just couldn’t sign it. The whole state of Alabama might turn over in their graves.
Alline Kent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 396-2467.