I am an Alabama fan.
In my family, Saturdays mean one thing, and one thing only: Alabama football. I grew up with the boys in crimson and white on my TV, my father cheering at the screen with a cold beer in his hand. You could call us the most dedicated fans they’ve got: through heartbreaking losses and national championships, we sit in front of that television set every Saturday screaming “Roll Tide”.
So when I decided to come to Georgia State, I had to find a balance between being true to my Elephants and to the newly created Panthers football team. My freshman year (2010), my father and I took the opportunity to go to Tuscaloosa to see them play against the Crimson Tide for the first time. That year, I showed up to the game in a Georgia State hoodie and an Alabama hat.
This year—my final year at Georgia State—I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the second match-up between the Panthers and the Crimson Tide as a member of the press. Going to Bryant-Denny Stadium felt like going home. Fans in houndstooth, the pattern Paul “Bear” Bryant wore on his signature hat, and crimson shirts walking around felt like members of a beautiful football family.
Alabama is a long-established program. Their stadium has been around for more than 90 years, and they are currently the best college football program in the country. Georgia State is barely four years old. As I took in the energy of a packed football stadium (something that has yet to happen for the Georgia State family) and the experience of being surrounded by some of the best sports reporters in the country, I thought about where Georgia State will be in 20 years.
We may not be as established as Alabama football, but we are located in the middle of the city hub of the Southeast as well as in a state that is a hotbed of football recruits. Our music program is superb, and the marching band improves and grows every year. We’re a massive university with dedicated alumni and passionate students.
How could our football program not succeed?
This experience at Bryant-Denny made me realize: Georgia State won’t be a subpar football team for very long. We have the potential to be incredible.
I will always be a Crimson Tide fan, but you better believe I’ll have plenty of blue in my closet in the years to come. Go Panthers!