Thursday, October 8, 2009


I'm finding it kind of hard to get mentally psyched for Saturday's game versus LSU.

I just don't hate LSU like I hate Georgia or Tennessee. Even Alabama and Auburn get my blood boiling, but LSU doesn't really anger me all that much.

By all accounts, the last three match-ups have meant everything. Literally. The winner of the last three UF/LSU games has gone on to win the national championship.

Of course I want Florida to win.. and win big. Wouldn't all of you other SEC fans be disappointed if Florida didn't try to run up the score?

But the only time I've ever visited the LSU campus was not for a football game.

I spent several days at LSU after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. I was working for WCNC-TV at the time and a few of us were sent to help our colleagues at WWL-TV in New Orleans. As we were driving there, my news director called. New Orleans was closed, he said. The levees had just broken.

So, we went to Baton Rouge instead. Our colleagues were in the process of setting up a temporary home at LSU's journalism school.

Over the next several days, emergency workers from around the country descended on LSU. They organized themselves on the football field, waiting to be dispatched where they were needed most.

I met many families who fled their homes and were living out of their children's dorm rooms. They were thankful to have a dry floor on which to sleep.

It was a heartbreaking assignment. So many people lost so much. LSU served as their safe haven.

That's my only experience with LSU, so there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the people there.

That, of course, does NOT mean I don't want Florida to win on Saturday. It just means that I don't feel the need to trash-talk like I do for some other SEC games.

Go Gators!

-Bonnie Kunkel
From Cliff Mehrtens:

Bonnie, after reading your post, it is hard for me to rip on Florida, over-hyped Tebow or anything else.

All because of Hurricane Katrina.
I went to New Orleans soon after the storm, and saw horrific things. I'm glad LSU served as refuge.
I also remember what it felt like to watch LSU play in Arizona a couple weeks after the storm.
It was comforting. It was escape. It was three hours of not being sad.
Katrina changed a lot about Louisiana. It's not fun to recall it, and it still affects many down there.

I'll watch the game intently. It's the Tigers against the No. 1 team in the country.
But no bashing this week.
I hope Tebow heals completely.
I hope Louisiana does, too.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bonnie, for keeping this in perspective. 'Nuff said.

Bigdawg said...

"The winner of the last three UF/LSU games has gone on to win the national championship." Well that makes it a big enough game for me. I'll be sure to tune in. I should be through celebrating our victory at Neyland by then.