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.
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.
Favorite player: Johnny Musso . . . The Italian Stallion -- Sylvester Stallone is a plagiarist -- played more often in torn garb than the Incredible Hulk. (Musso was also a better blocker.)
Possibly disturbing fact: Trash-talked the infant son of Auburn friends after the kid projectile vomited in my living room the instant after an Alabama touchdown.
R. Trentham Roberts
Allegiance: The Magnolia State, from Iuka to Picayune. (MSU grad, technically.)
Favorite player: Sweetness.
Possibly disturbing fact: Have an original 45 of “The Ballad of Archie Who” on the wall at home, right by the “Drink Barq’s – It’s Good” sign.
Courtney St. Onge
Favorite player: Bo
Possibly disturbing fact: Had picture taken with Terry Bowden at a meet-and-greet following his undefeated season. Just for fun, I mailed it to him later, autographed by my uncle and me. Who knew he would actually need the "Good luck in your endeavors!"?
Other fact: It was my infant son that Michael Gordon trash-talked. Just so you know.
Peter St. Onge
Favorite player: Destiny Stahl. (What? On the field? Cadillac Williams.)
Possibly disturbing fact: Once thought it would be funny to teach my toddler to say "Roll Tide!" We practiced covertly. Then, one day, my wife the Auburn grad walked in. "Roll Tide!" my son said, perfectly. Turned out to be more funny in the conceptual stage.
Favorite player: The immortal Herschel Walker, who, by the way, is immortal
Possibly disturbing fact: Slept in car one Georgia-Florida weekend after last-minute decision to go to game. Sneaked into Jacksonville University dorms for showers. Thanks for lax security, Jax!