Supporting my team, win or losePublished 12:02pm Friday, September 14, 2012
I would never claim that I’m an avid sports fan.
But in the South, it’s difficult to get away from college football, so some of that love of local teams seeps into my everyday life.
I am heading to my first college game of the season this weekend – and, much to the surprise of most people in this area, it isn’t an Auburn or Alabama game.
I’m going to support my alma mater, the Troy University Trojans, as they play the first SEC team to ever play in Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium – the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Those of you who have spent many weekends in an SEC stadium probably laughed when you read that, but for Troy fans, this weekend is a historical moment, win or lose.
Obviously, I’d love to see Troy pull off an upset.
It hasn’t been terribly uncommon for teams in the SunBelt Conference to beat an SEC team – look at last week’s Louisiana-Monroe win over Arkansas. Don’t be too quick to forget that ULM also upset Alabama in 2007 as well.
Historically, Troy does play extraordinarily well at home – they beat ranked Missouri in 2004 and Oklahoma State in 2007.
For almost my entire tenure at Troy, the Trojans were untouchable on their own field. Passes connected, tackles were made and the student section along with the rest of the crowd would go wild.
Troy’s Air Force ROTC members still shoot off fireworks every time Troy scores, and one lucky ROTC member drives a little mini-jet on wheels onto the field and riles up the students.
I’m sure fans of other teams would find this little tradition strange, but it’s one of the things that makes Troy uniquely Troy.
Don’t misunderstand me – I have been to both Auburn and Alabama games, and admittedly there is nothing quite like feeling the entire stadium shake as the teams erupt onto the field or to see that eagle fly around the 80,000-seat stadium.
But there is also something to be said about the heart you see from all Troy players. They’re the guys sitting behind you in your 100-person biology class or working with you on a group project in your 15-person journalism class. They’re your sorority sisters’ dates to formals or sitting next to you in the dining hall during lunch.
They’re not superstars broadcast on ESPN every week or written about in national newspapers (though many Trojans have made it to the NFL – former players Jerrel Jernigan, Osi Umenyiora and Lawrence Tynes all play for the New York Giants now).
They may not have won national championships and don’t have a long history in Division I football, but I still get teary-eyed to see my Trojans run out on the field while the Sound of the South band plays Troy’s fight song.
So on Saturday, know I’ll be out there with the rest of the Troy fans, singing loud and proud: “Here’s to the school we love – we are Trojans one and all/We will always cheer for victory, and you’ll never let us fall/Go! Go! Go!/Cheers to T-R-O-Y/We are with you all the way/So get out there team and fight! Fight! Fight!/And win today!”
And whether they can pick up a win or not, I’ll still be proud to be a Troy fan. Here’s to the school I love.
Spears is managing editor for The Outlook.