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Southern Girl Academy: Football

Editors’ note: The BCS Bowls are being played this week. (These are the most prestigious ones, in case you didn’t know) Some would argue the religion of football in the South trumps all subjects, and we are not ones to start a kerfuffle. So in the interest of timeliness and because we enjoy a good pun, we will “kick off” our SGA weekly training sessions with a lesson in football.

Southern women do everything with grace and gentility.  We sip tea on the back porch, we talk about the other ladies we know (never too maliciously, at least not without a “bless her heart” to follow), we wear heels and pearls.  All with grace and gentility…except football.

You're never too old for a face tattoo if it's your team's logo.

Ask any true Southern Belle, and she has a favorite team.  She’s been to the Grove or Death Valley.  But you, dear student, may not be yet versed in the Southernness (or fabulousness) of football.

At last check, college football is played in all 50 states.  However, football is only lived in the South. Your team’s win-loss record controls your mood for the entire fall. Your team’s colors must be your favorite colors by default.  Your team’s importance falls somewhere behind God and family, but ahead of pointless work obligations and the weather. And, while important to love your team with all your heart, it’s of equal importance to hate your rival with all your heart.  But it’s not Southern to hate, you may say.  However, this is the one instance in which the Belle may say ugly things and not excuse herself with Southern propriety.

To understand football, you need not comprehend “Cover 2” or know what the “Statue of Liberty” play is, although these items are worth extra credit to be certain.  You must know the members of your school’s conference, which is preferably the SEC (no, not the Securities and Exchange Commission, although a good Belle takes care of her money too).  You must know the folk heroes of your favorite team, as Southern girls hear stories of Bear Bryant and Joe Namath on their daddy’s knee.  You must know your team’s mantra, and be prepared to use it in everyday conversation. Football, and team loyalty, serves as a uniting, or dividing, force among Southerners.

You must also be versed in the practice of tailgating.  Tailgating, named for the decidedly Southern art of drinking beer in cans on the back of a pickup truck, has evolved into an event almost as important as the game itself.  Tailgating involves food, which of course every Southern Belle understands.  Tailgating also requires alcohol.  Now, not too much, as a true Belle would never allow herself to be embarrassed or intoxicated.  And tailgating requires fashion, another Southern staple.  There are a few schools of thought on tailgate attire, and these often differ based on the tailgating location.  While on some campuses sundresses and pearls are the uniform, other locales err on the more casual side, as long as the team color or logo is prevalent.  Tailgating typically lasts until the game begins, and, although an integral part of the process, should not take precedence over the game itself.  It’s also customary to return to the tailgating location following the game, to celebrate the win, or to commiserate over the loss.

It's not always warm, even in the South, especially before night games. You still have to participate and wear the right outfit!

While attracting (and keeping) a man are never far from the mind of the Belle, football, contrary to popular belief, does not require a man’s insight or point of view.   A Southern woman should understand first down and touchdown on her own.  When each team gets the ball, they have four downs in which to make ten yards, the first play being first down.  A touchdown, resulting in six points, waving of pom poms, and the team mantra being yelled, occurs when the team with the ball crosses the goal line (into the prettily painted area).  The Belle can, and should, also enjoy the view of young football players in tight pants.

While football can be a complicated game, the Southern Belle need only have a grasp of a few key elements to enjoy a game, to cheer on her team, and to hold a conversation that will impress any good Southern gentleman.  Roll Tide, y’all.

(Editor’s Amendment: We feel certain Miss Paige has been tailgating a bit too much or she surely would have had the good sense to write, “Woo Pig Sooie!”)

Paige Thurmond

Paige Thurmond

Paige Thurmond has no true hometown, but was born in the home city of the Golden Hurricane.  She received degrees in Aggieland and Tuscaloosa, is rarely on time, adores all things houndstooth, and thinks both love AND football make the world go ’round.  You can typically find her watching ESPN, tweeting as @pthurm, or trying not to ruin a home-cooked meal.


11 Responses

  1. Gooooooo PT! 😀
    Great first post.
    I certainly hope it gets everyone in the ‘spirit’ for this great project!

  2. Great post, PT, keep the faith, and Roll Tide! KMS

  3. What a fantastic first post! And so timely!

  4. I would just like to say that as a Texas girl, we, too practice the art of true Souther Belle-itude, though just outside the SEC. Longhorns are well versed in the art of tailgating, and no self-respecting Texas girl is lost in the art of football. From birth, we understand the importance of Pop Warner, high school, collegiate and even professional football – and we love every minute of it!

  5. I do love a good football game, although I must confess I enjoy it more for the people watching in the stands. “Bump-it / Not a Bump-It” anyone?

  6. I’ve heard football explained many times by many people, but this is the only explanation that has ever been in my language. I feel like a foreigner who has just arrived in her homeland. Aaaaah. Home.

  7. I only keep up with one college team. Army. Does that still count?

  8. As a Yankee marrying a Southern Gentleman from Alabama (Roll Tide!), I am definitely taking notes from your remarkable blog. Please, please keep the articles coming – I’m hanging on every word! If that’s alright with y’all. 🙂

    Bless your hearts,

  9. Just came for a visit from Jerusalem’s blog and I just love it! I will certainly be back.
    Also….Woo Pig Sooie!

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