The University of Florida is a school that is rich in tradition. Old or new, Gators love their school, and there are traditions and shared experiences that make the Gator life unique and special.
Some of these things only a Gator truly understands, but one thing is for sure:
Gator Nation is one of the most united fronts in all of college athletics.
Here are 8 things that make it "Great to be a Florida Gator":
1. The Undying Love and Support for Tebow that Gator Nation Shares
Tim Tebow is one of the most recognizable names in sports. Tebow began his career as the Gators starting QB in 2007… and it only went uphill from there. The “Tebow Era” was arguably the happiest time to be a Gator. In Tebow’s four years at UF Gator Nation experienced two SEC Championships and two National Championships. Tebow did a lot for Gator Nation, and given his distinct personality and obvious leadership skills, Timmy was an instant hit. Now, with a not-so-hot NFL Career behind him and currently chasing a MLB career, Gator Nation has proved that they're forever on the Tebow Train. Whatever team Tim is playing for, you can bet Gators have the latest jersey (he often leads in jersey sales for whatever team he is playing for)… I myself am guilty of this.
2. The 3rd Quarter “We are the Boys” Tradition
At end of every 3rd quarter during a home game in the Swamp, Gator Fans belt out one of their favorite anthems: “We Are the Boys of Old Florida”. Arms around one another, Gators rock side to side, singing about the Orange and Blue Victorious. It’s tradition to put your arm around your neighbor and sing together, feeling the unity of Gator Nation. Alumni and young Gators alike, this is a tradition everyone loves. To everyone else, we might look a little weird swaying with our arm around the guy to our left we just met 3 quarters ago. To Gators, this is an oldie but a goodie. And a tradition that just proves our unity. After all…
In all kinds of weather, we’ll all stick togetherrr, forrrrr F-L-O-R-I-D-A.
3. Despising Florida State
Our number one rival, Florida State. As a Gator, there’s nothing you despise more than garnet and gold. Hear the Nole chant, and we will cringe. Anyone playing against FSU? We’re that team’s biggest fans. Not to mention our unhealthy amount of Jameis Jokes. UF Student, Chas Wilson, puts the Gator/Nole relationship perfectly:
Oil and water don't mix. Neither do UF and FSU.
If you need some crab legs, just ask Jameis. But if need a winning record, just ask us.
4. The Epic Atmosphere of The Swamp
The atmosphere in the Swamp on Game Day is electric. The Swamp is arguably one of the hardest places to play… when you’re not us. The Gator Chomp rings through the walls of the stadium when 90,000 do it together. In fact, Bleacher Reports ranked the Swamp No. 3 in the loudest stadiums in college football. Every Gator Fan is passionate. Whether you’re there just to socialize with friends, feed your college football addiction or to watch Eddy kick field goals, one thing is true for every Gator there:
We love our Gators with everything we have. And we’d lose our voices from cheering so loud any day.
If you aren’t a Gator, you’re Gator Bait.
The Swamp: Only Gators Get Out Alive.
If you need a sample of what our team and fan base is like, just watch this video:
5. The Importance of doing the Gator Chomp Correctly
Right over left, arms locked at the elbow. That is the only way to do it. Do it any other way, and you might get some looks. The Gator Chomp is an iconic move you literally will see everywhere. In the Olympics, on the PGA tour, in the NFL… Gators are everywhere and we aren’t afraid to Chomp. But doing it the right way, is always crucial. Junie Rattanasena, UF Student, explains the importance of doing it right and also the unity it brings:
Make sure you learn: remember the right over left when Chomping. Making the mistake of left over right feels very embarrassing. However, when we do chomp together, you feel the unity and everyone beaming with UF pride.
6. The Hype Surrounding the UF/UGA Game
The UF vs UGA Game is a yearly event that goes down in Jacksonville at EverBank Field. It’s one of the biggest tailgates ever, and it’s always one of the most hyped up games of the season. The neutral site brings a whole new atmosphere to the game. The rivalry is enhanced and the weekend becomes a spectacle. After 1933, the neutral site of Jacksonville, Florida became a consistent deal and it’s been there ever since. So, every year, Bulldogs and Gators make the journey to the iconic game that everyone looks forward to. The rivalry is real and nasty. Just listen to Wilson's words when asked about Georgia:
Why does the St. John's River flow north? Because Georgia sucks.
7. The Legacy of Steve Spurrier
Steve Spurrier. The Head Ball Coach. In 1966, he won a Heisman Trophy as a Gator. And then in 1990, he returned to his alma mater, as the Head Coach, coaching at UF until 2001. While there, he brought the Florida Gators one National Championship and six SEC Championships. Spurrier years were happy years, and the Gators love their HBC. Now back as an Ambassador for the football program, Gator Nation’s love for Steve has only grown. In fact, a few weekends ago, Spurrier held a book signing in the UF Bookstore. Allison Walters, UF Student and Bookstore Employee, recalls the event, emphasizing how many people showed up just for Spurrier:
As a Bookstore employee, I helped manage the line at the Steve Spurrier Book Signing. There were over 700 people lined up just to get their book signed by Steve Spurrier!
The hat throwing, “Fun ‘N’ Gun”, legendary coach, is someone the Gators will always love. His name was even recently added to the name of the football stadium. Now when you’re in the Swamp, you’re inhabiting “Steve Spurrier – Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium".
We will forever love our HBC.
8. The Unity that Lies in the Statement “Go Gators”
To outsiders, they might just be two small words. But to us, they’re so much more. They’re a call to greatness, they’re an undeniable passion, they’re a sign your part of our strong family. They’re recognizable and meaningful. It’s a simple statement, but underlying it is so much unity and greatness. Rattanasena shares with Fresh U what those two words mean to her:
Sharing a ‘Go Gators’ with someone is like this instant bond, even when it's a complete stranger.
We are a family. So with that, I leave you with two words:
Lead Image Credits: Youtube