Tuesday, July 23, 2013

God, Sweet Tea, and the SEC

I have lived most of my life in Virginia, where we live on the cusp of Northern and Southern traditions. We are all united by many East Coast traditions and cultural conventions, but there's some things that Virginia goes either way on.
1. Iced Tea - there are some restaurants in VA that actually say, "We just have unsweet, may I offer you some sweetener?" Umm, I'll just have water, thanks.

2. God - We aren't exactly in the Bible belt, which can be as good as it is bad. Kids are growing up without ever setting foot in a church and that's perfectly acceptable. BUT Church isn't as central in the community and therefore we can be a bit more liberal in terms of abortion, sex education, divorce, etc.

3. Accent - I'm constantly asked where I'm from when I'm in Virginia. I always tell them that I grew up here and in Florida, but no one believes me. They all assume I'm from the Carolinas or Tennessee or Georgia. There are worse places to be accused of, but it's still kind of amazing to me. I know how to conceal the twang when necessary, but most of the time I'm loud and proud. People hear a Southern accent and they either assume you're stupid or assume you're friendly. Both can be used to your advantage. So if I feel the need to use a simile or metaphor to explain things properly, use the ladies' room instead of the restroom, eat biscuits instead of rolls, and say ma'am and sir then you can just assume that I'm from the South. Specific location is not relevant.

4. Fashion - (doesn't fit in to the expression either) people here are so lost it seems. In Florida, we wear Lilly, Lilly and more Lilly. Oh yeah and Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, etc. Even non-Greeks wear Frat Collection and EVERYTHING is monogrammed. Here, people seem to be a little more relaxed on that...which becomes quite annoying when its time to go shopping. I do 95% of my shopping online when I'm stuck in VA. Although, Monkee's of FredericksburgOcean Palm in Williamsburg and VA Beach, and my newest obsession: The Silver Box Gloucester, Virginia.

5. NCAA Sports - I get FIRED UP when my teams play. Tailgates are premier social events at which women are expected to be well-accessorized and full of spirit. Luke Bryan wasn't kidding when he said Adpis wear their sundresses for game day. Up North, it's much more common to see girls in jeans and team sweatshirts than a sundress and coordinating accessories. This tends to confuse me when we have to go to away games north of the Mason Dixon line. There also seems to be a much stronger alliance with professional sports teams than NCAA teams. I am not sure why that is, given that there's pretty much equal distribution of pro teams in the North as in the South. Northerners do not lack entirely in their fanaticism; when Michigan wins (GO BLUE) my wonderful boyfriend will wear his University of Michigan pajama pants, tshirt/sweatshirt, and hat around campus to celebrate the victory. He will also do the same when his beloved Colts win. I think I still own a pair of Washington Redskins earrings that were given to me as a gift, but I can assure you that my William and Mary Feathers Forever earrings get much more wear. In Virginia, it seems like people are pretty neutral on college sports. Those who are loyal to their team typically aren't Virginia Natives from my experience. The VT Hokies are a different kettle of fish entirely, and they are so close to West Virginia we can just count them out of the running.
My peers make fun of me for making the decision for grad school not entirely unrelated to their athletics program. I <3 Vandy. I think that the school spirit that comes out of that school is amazing. People get incredibly excited to talk about it, let alone attend a game.
CNU doesn't have that yet, as we are still babies in the world of collegiate sports. For a school that is only 52 years old, D3 is something to be proud of. ODU didn't even GET a football program until a few years ago. Just so happens that we are more interested in the academic success of our athletes than ODU. Oops. I didn't say that.
I love Vandy because that is a TOUGH school, and despite their success, athletes still have to survive the rigorous curriculum.
My whole family is obsessed with William & Mary. I mean, they bleed green and gold. Most people don't follow Tribe Athletics because the CAA isn't really that exciting of a conference compared to ACC, SEC, Big 10, etc.
If I had a choice between lifetime season tickets to my choice of professional team, and lifetime season tickets to my choice of college team, it would be no contest that I would pick my college team.