Over the past 5 or so years I have developed a very unhealthy dislike for rival schools such as University of Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and TCU (although they were not yet in the Big 12). I am not necessarily proud of my incessant disgust for those schools; it’s just the way it happened during my tenure at Texas A&M. Sometimes it had to do with the university, sometimes it had to do with friends that attended the university. In the end, the truth played out like this: the Aggies swam in the sea of mediocrity that of which caused me to be insecure in my fandom, which ultimately led to the manifestation of my antipathy. Simple equation… negative results.
I would assume many Aggies fervently supported the Big 12 and desired to be a part of the strongest conference at any given moment. I did not do that. I wanted the teams named above to lose, and to lose badly, every weekend. My blood boiled and there seemed to be no hope.
Now I am not trying to act as if I am now above all the petty rivalry hatred; it would have undoubtedly continued if we remained in the Big 12, but fortunately I was given an out… the SEC. I was given the opportunity to leave behind conference angst that once consumed me.
One thing I loved about the Big 12 was its geographical advantages, everyone was neighbors; everyone had a friend at all the Texas schools. But beyond the benefit of proximity, I became quite fed up with the Big 12. Good riddance to your poor leadership, your lack of regulation, and your nonexistent accountability. I am done with puppet commissioners and uneven revenue splits. Take me to the ol’ South. I most definitely think the grass is greener on their side.
Everyone I have encountered that is tied to the SEC genuinely LOVES the SEC. They root for their respective team first, the SEC second. Now I am sure there is still a large amount of unhealthy hatred (Alabama-Auburn for example) in various areas… no conference is above that, nor will they ever be, but as a whole I feel inclined to say the SEC treats each other right. And (attempting to remove as much bias as possible here) I agreed when various people said the culture of Texas A&M fits well with the culture of the SEC. I think a great deal of that notion revolves around the word “respect”. Tradition supports and inspires respect, and we definitely aren’t lacking in the tradition category. The SEC will see that quickly.
Confession: I am human, and, just like anyone else, am prone to irrational emotion. After the insane conference realignment shenanigans, I am ready for a fresh start. I am ready to respect my conference, respect my opponents, and respect the game again. I don’t want to root for the demise of my conference counterparts. I want to root for my team, and I want to root for something larger than my team!
I am fully aware that my idealistic tone will likely falter from time to time when Saturday afternoon football resumes. No doubt, a sleazy coach or an arrogant player or a controversial call will set me off in a tizzy and infuse a new irrational disgust for the likes of say Mississippi State or Florida (hey, Florida already has Muschamp; that’s a start). But hopefully I will have learned something from our time in the dysfunctional Big 12 and it will help to limit my loathing of other universities.
I look forward to earning the respect of the SEC, and then respecting it back ten-fold. And that starts on Saturday, September 8th when the Florida Gators come to Kyle Field.