One of my Alma Maters has a very "to the point" motto: For God, For Country and for Yale. While I can totally get behind this, every fall I'm reminded of the south's unofficial motto of "God, Country, Family and Football, but not necessarily in that order." It's football season y'all and once again, I'm all in. . . and completely alone out here on the west coast when it comes to understanding the need to schedule my life around Georgia games.
While I love living in California, have an amazing job, amazing friends, and no plans to leave this enchanted place in which I live; every fall I would give anything to be able to see some live southern college football. How did I get this way you ask? Well, when you consider my past, it's really no wonder. I'm mean really, when you're in marching band from 9th grade to your senior year of college, how can you not become a fan of football?
My parents were never big college football fans. I don't come from a long line of worshipers at the alters of Danny Ford or Vince Dooley as many of my friends do. But from about the age of 5 to age 22, my life centered around high school and college football every fall. I grew up in Clemson, SC from the mid 70's until I went to college in 1991. Many of the fond memories of my childhood center around Clemson football. They won a national championship when I was 7. I remember (I'm not sure where) sitting in William "Refrigerator" Perry's lap at age 7, diligently trying to explain the difference between treble clef and bass clef to him. (He was in my dad's music appreciation class at the time.) I remember getting tempura paint from Mr. Knickerbocker's or Judge Keller's and roaming the tailgates at home games, painting tiger paws on peoples faces to earn enough money to by a ticket to go the the game. In high school/college my dad helped me get a job as a tutor in the athletic department where I tutored Clemson football and basketball players in music appreciation. I remember attending the 1990 Georgia vs. Clemson game my senior year of high school, standing at the top of the upper deck when Clemson beat Georgia and feeling the entire stadium rock, not knowing at the time that I would end up attending the University of Georgia the next fall and swiftly changing allegiances.
In 1991 I went to the University of Georgia for undergrad, and promptly joined the Redcoat Marching Band. This university quickly became "home", the people very quickly became "family", and the primal belief (fact) that all things Georgia are Godly and good, and all things Florida are evil incarnate quickly became "religion". These aspects of southern college football are a real and palatable thing. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a random airport, or even another country wearing a Georgia shirt and someone came up to me, shook my hand, and greeted me with a hearty "Go Dawgs!" I've even had fans of rival teams come up to me in airports, or the streets of San Francisco, shake my hand and respond with "Roll Tide", "Hoddy Toddy", and in one delusional fan's case - "Anchor Down". These greetings are the football fans way of saying "Howdy, fellow football fan, I acknowledge your passion, but hope we will beat your ass to the ground in our next meeting on the battlefield."
So with a couple of weeks behind us, the two teams I have rooted for for most of my life have both had a glorious win, and a heartbreaking loss. And so it goes. . . Go Tigers! (except when you play Georgia) and most of all Go Dawgs!!
It’s when I left the south that I realized how naïve people are about it, sometimes exposing in themselves their own prejudices. It’s not uncommon for someone to make the following comments after I tell them where I am from: “I bet you are really glad you got out of there”, or “what the hell is wrong with everybody down there?” – this is usually in reference to some crazy politician. Just remember San Francisco, South Carolina may have Nikki Haley, but we have Leeland Yee. I even had a well-educated Californian ask me how it is that I got into Yale being from there.
(An aside: I just attended my nieces high school graduation - the same high school I graduated from. Her senior class of barely 200 students has over $9.8 million in college scholarships.)
At any rate, I just spent a week back home and it has prompted me to set a few things straight. I live in California and I love it, but I also love the south. I am not naïve about its history, nor am I naïve about the fact that some people in the south still need to get their heads out of their collective asses, but it is a beautiful place, with great people and amazing traditions.
Here are just a few things that I love. . .
That’s all for now.
Oh, and "It's great to be a Gator Hater"
Why this? Why build a website that is for all intensive purposes just my own personal outlet?
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure. Over the past few months I've realized more and more that I have a lot to say about a lot of things and gradually came to the conclusion that I needed some type of public forum, whether people read it or not. I also caught the blog bug a little bit last year when I wrote a couple of entries for the Community School of Music and Arts where I have worked for the past 12 years.
In addition to a blog I wanted a place where my students could go to get information about performances and lessons, and my family can see where I've been. So, I just decided to lump it all into one place.
You will find a lot of topics here as my life seems to be filled with a wide variety of things:
I'm quite sure nothing I have to say will be backed up by science or receive a million hits but I hope you enjoy something, and thanks for indulging me.
I am a musician, teacher, non-profit program director, transplanted southerner, cancer survivor and college football fan. And will probably write about all of it.