How’d you choose sides for Iron Bowl?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

Once upon a time, I cheered for Auburn.

As a ‘Bama grad and devoted fan, I can’t believe I just admitted that in public, especially on Iron Bowl day.

Best I recall, I was a fifth grader, but the reasons for that questionable decision have long since left me. Likely, it had something to do with choosing an opposite side from my little brother, or the opinion of one of my school friends.

I reminded that brother – we’ve switched teams, but we still cheer for opposite ones – of this recently when he was puzzling over why his daughter, a fifth grader herself, has decided to cheer for the Tide.

“Aunt Michele, I have an announcement,” she told me at my mother’s birthday lunch, interrupting her brother and planting herself between us.

Bracing myself, I said, “Let’s have it.”

“I go for Alabama now, and that’s what I want you to get me for Christmas. An Alabama shirt.”

All of a sudden, it WAS Christmas. “Come with me, child.” I pulled open a drawer and let her have her choice. Moments later, she was decked out in crimson.

Barely disguising his disgust, her father began questioning her about the names of coaches and players.

“Daddy, I didn’t know the name of Auburn’s coach, either,” she said innocently.

At last check, she hadn’t changed her allegiance and she hadn’t ‘fessed up to her reasons, either. Hence my reminder to her father that we had always cheered for opposite teams. “She probably just wants to be different from you and her brother,” I said.

I don’t remember when I switched my allegiance, but it had something to do with going to a camp on the University of Alabama campus. Suddenly, it was a familiar place with which I could identify, where I knew my way around. Before I knew it, I was committed to being educated there. And it’s a good thing: Orange is really not my color.

We’ve postponed our annual Thanksgiving family gathering for a day this year to avoid getting out of sorts with one another over a football game. Like any one of you who like football, I really want my team to pull this one out.

But I’m worried. Given the things that weren’t supposed to happen that have happened in college football in the past week, what most believe will happen could easily become an upset in this rivalry game. I’m not scared of walking under ladders, black cats or anything numbered 13, but I am very superstitious about football. I believe Coach Saban when he says, “Don’t take [list opponent any given week] too lightly.” And it terrifies that the 17 sportswriters who picked Alabama to win in yesterday’s edition of The Press Register – most by 18 to 20 points – have jinxed us.

So I’ll be watching from my chair, in my game day attire, with Eli Gold in my earphones.

And I’ll be hoping that sweet Sarah, unlike me, sticks with her fifth-grade team choice.