I’m an ACC girl, through and through.
I’ve always lived somewhere with a strong ACC presence. In North Carolina, if you’re not an ACC fan, then what are you? Virginia has the Hokies and that other little school up I-64. When my family lived in Georgia, we still had our ACC fix with Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Even in Pennsylvania, we had decent ACC coverage because of the proximity to Maryland and Virginia; when Pittsburgh and Syracuse joined the ACC, that helped, too.
Side note, why on Earth is Syracuse in the ACC? And don’t even get me started on Notre Dame.
Then I moved to Tennessee. It’s SEC or nothing here.
It’s not like I wasn’t expecting that. I’ve had plenty of exposure to the madness that is SEC football. In fact, a dear friend of mine from middle school came from a divided SEC family. Her dad went to Auburn and her mom went to LSU. She used to come to my house during LSU-Auburn games because her parents bickered so much the whole time. I knew enough about the SEC teams and their fans and who hated whom the most; I figured I could blend in well enough.
I started following Tennessee football (not super closely, but closely enough) just to be informed. If I ever got into a conversation with Tennessee fans–which I thought would be a more common occurrence–then I’d be able to follow along.
It helped, but not enough. My ACC ties stuck out like a sore thumb.
Maybe it’s geography and proximity, but I really only experienced the SEC from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Auburn fans. I met a few Vanderbilt people in Nashville, ran into the occasional Ole Miss or Mississippi State fan downtown, and I think I saw a South Carolina fan somewhere. The Kentucky fans have started appearing now that it’s basketball season (much to my chagrin). And until the other week, I’d totally forgotten that Texas A&M and Missouri were even in the SEC.
Here’s what I learned and experienced in my first year fully immersed in SEC Country:
Tennessee fans may sport their creamsicle orange loud and proud, but it’s just the wrong shade for me. Not that I can really pull off orange all that well, but if there’s any shade of orange I wear, it’s my Burnt Orange, accompanied by that beautiful Chicago Maroon. Auburn’s orange is more of my shade. It’s closer, at least. War Eagle?
There’s a cute little boutique about five minutes down the road from my apartment that I like to shop at sometimes. While they don’t carry any “official” SEC fanwear, they do have several racks sorted by team colors: blue and orange for Florida, black and red for Georgia, navy and orange for Auburn, etc. One day I found a really cute top on the crimson-and-white rack, and thought it looked close enough to my favorite dark red hue that maybe I could pass it off as a Hokie color. But I knew it was intended for Alabama fans’ closets, and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. It was such a cute top, though.
I work with two SEC alums: one from Florida and one from Alabama. Sometimes I wonder how they get along. All kidding aside, the only time I ever heard them bickering was the week before the SEC Championship game. My fellow Hokie coworker and I kept each other sane this season (and consoled each other when appropriate).
If there’s one thing I learned quickly, it’s that everyone hates Alabama. That’s easy enough. I don’t think I’ve ever uttered the words “Roll Tide” in my life (and it felt so wrong typing them just now), and I don’t plan on ever uttering them. When my Hokies played ‘Bama in the season opener a few years ago, it was all I could do to get through watching the game without vomiting a little every time I heard that stupid “Rammer Jammer” chant.
I guess Alabama is to the SEC like Duke (barf) is to the ACC: if you don’t love them, you hate them. There’s no in between.And in my head, Texas A&M will always be a Big 12 team that just happens to play SEC teams.
And, after the whole season, I still don’t know a single word to “Rocky Top.” I even had some preparation from a gym teacher in elementary school. She was a Tennessee alum and played “Rocky Top” for us every Friday, whether it was football season or not.
The SEC is a completely different world compared to the ACC. I like it. It’s entertaining. I may live in SEC country, but I am an ACC girl always and forever.
Kate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern and a Virginia Tech alumna. She also holds an M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon University.
Born in North Carolina, raised in Georgia, Kate lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she works as a social media maven and kick-ass writer covering the lovely South.
Follow Kate on Twitter @kate3robertson and check out her blog, A Thought and a Half.
So glad you enjoyed it, Chloe! My entire family is ACC, so I’m learning the SEC ropes down here. Thanks for reading! 🙂
This is actually pretty comical as I grew up a SEC girl (go Dawgs!). It is so true about Bama fans. My brother-in-law is one (he lives in Cleveland, TN, just north of you) and the entire family gives his crap. Loved this post!