Crow’s-Feet Chronicles: First and ten…
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Sep 17, 2018
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Rivalry comes in many forms. And, by the way, it’s alive and well in Alabama. The Internet shows a group photo of an elementary school in Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama. You know the type of picture---kids are positioned on bleachers in varying heights and the teacher stands to the side. A sign is positioned on the floor in front of the classmates, and it spells out the name of the teacher, the school, and the school year.

Here’s where it gets cute. The group of students poses together at the far right of the photo on the bleachers. A lone boy sits at the opposite left end of the bleachers, all by himself. The kicker? The segregated boy is wearing a jersey bearing the logo of Auburn University, the chief athletic rival of the University of Alabama.

There are, by the way, many differences between North and South football. College football stadiums in the North hold 30,000 people. In the South, high school (“Friday night lights”) football stadiums hold 30,000. Fathers up North expect their daughters to understand Elinor Wylie. In the South, daughters must understand crackback block.

Statues are marvelous ways to decorate campuses. The Northern schools have founding fathers in bronze. The South---Heisman trophy winners.

When you roll into town for the game up North, you ask, “Where’s the stadium?” When you find it, you park and walk through the gate. In the South, you’ll hear it when you get near it. On game day, it becomes the state’s third largest city.

In the North, men in the stands will say, “Nice play.” Men (and women!) in the South say something like: “%#*#, you slow &#*^! Tackle him and break his legs!”

Some say there’s a smell in the air after the first score. In the North, however, there is no change. In the South, there is the smell of bourbon.

Game announcers in the North are paid, and they have little expression in their voices. In the South, however, the announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he’s so proud of his team.

In the North, the stadium is empty way before the game ends. After the game in the South, another rack of ribs goes on the smoker, while somebody goes to the nearest package store for more beer, and planning begins for the next week’s game.

When the “National Anthem” is played up North to a half-empty stadium, less than half the people stand and a couple of players take a knee. In the South, all 30,000 fans AND players stand and sing in perfect four-part harmony.

Tailgating up North is a matter of throwing raw meat on the grill, drinking beer with lime in it, and listening to the game on the radio. In the South, a 30-ft. custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at the first break of day. Cooking is accompanied by live performances of the Admiral Poopy Pants and His Dancing Teeth band.

 With Netflix and “Blind Side,” I stay on top of my game.