Monday, September 7, 2015

Divided Loyalties: On Brave Old Army Team, Gig 'em, and Woo Pig Sooie!

Ah, college football season. That time of year when people wear Razorback gear pretty much every day, when I start checking the AP rankings to see who's overrated, and when I upgrade the cable package to ensure I can see every one of the hapless Army team's games.

At this point in my life, I am firmly a divided loyalties fan. My first love, the Army team (also known now as the Army West Point Black Knights, which I'll save for another rant sometime), has had years of performances ranging from lackluster to uninspiring to downright embarrassing. A thirteen year drought of beating Navy has even the most die hard fans like me wondering what has happened to the Pride and Dream of every heart in grey.

Despite knowing they would break my heart with regularity throughout the coming football season, I got online last Friday morning and upgraded our uVerse TV package to ensure that our channels included the CBS Sports Network. In a sign of indulgent modern consumption, we pay well north of $100 a month so that I can watch about five hours of TV a week, more when the Astros are in the pennant hunt as they are this year. Anything for the Army team, my first sports love.

While I'm not a Former Student and have no expectation of ever enrolling in a class, I've been a fan of Texas A&M and its sports teams literally for as long as I can remember. I am the daughter and sister x2 of Aggies, and if you know anything about Ol' Army, you know that I'm as close to bleeding maroon as one can be without wearing the Aggie ring. I could sing the Aggie War Hymn at the age of three, and I can "hump it" like a native for Spirit of Aggieland.

Most college football weekends, I'm grateful for this genetic love of the Aggies because, at least for the last few years, they've provided heart stopping excitement and enough wins to boost morale when the Army team comes up short. This past weekend was yet another thrilling season opener, I'm sure in large part because my super-adorable niece is part of the 12th Man!!

I come by the Army team honestly, being a grad; I bear allegiance to the Aggies by virtue of close relation. My third loyalty is a matter of geography: I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Make no mistake about it, either - Arkansas is CRAZY for their Hogs. My analysis goes like this: there's only one major University in Arkansas, so you don't have the A&M - t.u. - all the other schools dynamic like you do in Texas. On top of that, you don't have any professional sports teams, so there isn't an NFL team vying for the attention of football crazy, SEC Nation Arkansans. And, when in Rome... well, Woo Pig Sooie (affectionately abbreviated as WPS which, for the first couple of years that I lived here, confused the crap out of me, as I assumed it was West Point Society. Notsomuch).

College town living is fun (except for the college kids, but what can you do about that), and SEC college towns peg the charts on fandom. I look forward every season to this one house in my neighborhood where Superfan lives, to see how he'll display his loyalty. One year he mowed "GO HOGS" into his grass and painted it red; another year he had red and white lights spotlighting lawn decorations. This year is excellent, in my opinion:
However the season goes, for all three of my teams, there's one thing that can guarantee my sports-fan happiness, one thing that qualifies it as a success regardless of what the Win-Loss columns say. All I really, really, REALLY need this year is to

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