My husband and I have a marriage divided. What does that mean exactly? Well it’s only divided in one way…when it comes to football. I met Judd almost 5 years ago in our college dorm hall on a cold December evening the night before exams. We hit it off rather quickly talking for hours! At the time I had no clue what his college football preferences were but I knew he had a favorite team. A few weeks before we met, I saw him in the TV room at the dorms watching one of the games on TV. The Florida Gators were playing LSU Tigers and we were not playing well. I was angry. I was yelling at the TV. I was burying my head in my hands. He kept looking over. He probably thought I was strange! It wasn’t until a few weeks after we started dating that I found out something I couldn’t really use as motive not to date him: he was a Tennessee Volunteer fan. Yes an SEC rival of the Florida Gators but not big enough of a rival to demote him from his newly appointed “boyfriend” status. I knew we could live in harmony but I knew I would struggle with my competitive nature.
Every year our teams play each other at the end of September. Our first year of dating we decided to throw a watch party at our house with our friends-most of which were Florida fans. We made a bet with each other. If our particular team lost, then we would have to wear the opponents shirt in a Facebook picture and set it as a default for a week. I was thrilled when my beloved Gators won and Judd had to hold up a Tim Tebow Jersey for a photo! The next few years pretty much went the same way. We had a few people over, my team won again and Judd stayed loyal to both his team and his crazy football-loving girlfriend. But I had to learn a lot of control during game time. I tend to get wild when my team is losing. I’d yell and get mad. I had to ring it in!
That brings us to last year. When the football schedule was released for both teams we noticed that our rivalry game was scheduled for…OUR WEDDING DAY. Totally not planned. I was livid. My maid of honor texted me to tell me the date of the game and I just kept thinking, “this day is supposed to be our wedding day not another Florida/Tennessee rivalry game!” I knew my family would probably want to watch the game. And then they released game time. Noon. On our wedding day…right when the reception was supposed to start. GREAT. The day came and I could give to craps about the game itself. I had bigger things to worry about like not tripping on my way down the aisle and being respectful to everyone. This day was much more to us then game day but it made for a fun wedding!
My aunt is a massive Gator fan and happened to be officiating our wedding. She added settle hints of team pride: her blue dress paired perfectly with orange flats, her officiant book had a “Go Gators” print on the back visible for the audience to see. It was perfect! She discussed our rivalry during our ceremony which we both loved. At our reception, our DJ updated us with the score which was horribly close. He played each team’s fight song and the guests cheered on to each. It was a lot of fun. On our way home from the wedding we found out who won…the Gators yet again. Judd shrugged it off and we continued to revel in the fact that we were finally married! (He has always been a really good sport about it!)
In a few weeks, we will be heading to Gainesville, FL to the swamp to watch our two teams battle it out. Sadly one of us will have a long car ride home. That’s how it will always be for us every Florida/Tennessee game day. We have both come to terms with the fact that our marriage will forever be divided when it comes to college football. We enjoy the rivalry! I wouldn’t ever want to change my husband’s interests. Our rivalry is good! Go Gators!