This I Believe

Michael - Gray, Tennessee
Entered on January 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

I believe in liking what you want and taking pride in it, even if it is frowned upon by your family, friends, and peers.

For me this like, no, this obsession is the University of Florida. Yes, the Florida Gators.

I have been bleeding orange and blue for nine years now and some say I like them to much, and some go as far as to say that I am obsessed with them. To this I reply, “Yeah, so what.” For the past nine years I have heard it all “Gators suck” and “Are you a Gay-tor”, which makes no sense to me. Though my personal favorite came after the UT v. Florida game in 2004 when a drunk UT student took my hat in the stands and jumped around saying “We beat you” over and over for about five minuets. Even though those things are said I am still on the path, the right path, the gator path.

In elementary school I remember my teachers saying things like, “Why are you wearing that shirt Michael,” or, “Michael I have a UT shirt here just for you.” One teacher even went as far as to give me a UT shirt for Christmas, but it conveniently didn’t make it past the educare trash can, oops. I don’t think they ever really understood that even at a young age I knew what I wanted to do and I understood enough to know what I liked.

It wasn’t until high school that people stopped making fun of me for being a Gator fan. I was never really made fun of, but it was just relentless with the, “gators suck,” being repeated constantly and such. But once I hit high school people realized that I didn’t just like the Gators because they were great in athletics, but because I wanted to go there for college. It seems like as soon as people saw that, the harassing stopped and we had fun. What used to make me outcastish now made me, well me. I gained the respect of my friends, family, and peers because I stuck with the Gators and had pride even through the tough years (a.k.a. the Zook years).

I still get crap from my family for being a Gator, and my friends still joke and say, “Why are you a Gator?” But I like knowing that when people think Florida they think of me, or when they think of me they think Florida. I love the University of Florida. I hope to go there, go to games there, and possibly swim there. It’s the pride that I have for the Gators that makes me wear these orange, white, and blue clothes and paint all over my body. I love them. I am glad that I didn’t listen to all of the criticism and I stood up for what I liked, because it is what makes me, me. And with that I believe in the Gator Nation and saying, “Go Gators” to every fan I see. For this, I believe.