An Open Letter to Gator Fans

An open letter posted on a University of Florida website……

Dear Fellow Gators,

I have reached the end of my rope. I have lived in Georgia for over four years now and am friends with many and am always meeting more Georgia Bulldog fans, as well as those from other SEC schools, as Atlanta is more or less a melting pot for SEC alumni. Universally, without exception, all make reference to the horrible dress of Florida Gator fans. I cannot have a conversation with a UGA person without mention of the horribly tacky and/or trashy apparel that many UF folks seem to prefer. Nowhere is the contrast more striking than in Jacksonville, where we have an equal cross-section of both school’s fans. You see all the Georgia women all dressed up (regardless of what the weather is like). Usually the guys are just wearing something simple, like a polo shirt and khaki pants. You look around and all the Gators seem to be dressed like they’re going to a NASCAR race – Gator jerseys, jeans shorts, tank tops, black t-shirts, awful Zubaz pants, tacky Gator camo, etc. etc. You may have noticed Dawg fans yelling at Gator fans in Jax this past season: “Gators Wear Jeans Shorts” – I saw it painted on the rear windows of several cars and saw one of them with a sign.

Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing and I get so much hell about it from Dawg fans that I finally figured I would make it public to the Gator fans. Maybe we could start some sort of grass-roots campaign. Look, every school has its awful redneck fans who never finished high school, much less attended the university.  But at UF, unfortunately, many of the alumni project an image that degrades us all in the eyes of other SEC schools. I’ve wondered why this is and I’m sure there’s a few explanations:

1) It’s hotter in Gainesville than at other SEC campuses and, therefore, people are less apt to be dressy. 2) Lots of Gator fans are not from the South and, therefore, are less familiar with the (sort of) tradition of dressing up for games (i.e. at Georgia or at Ole Miss) 3) People in Florida are more used to
dressing in a more casual fashion than in other states, even at nice restaurants or private clubs and this carries over to game day.

I only personally know about 3 people who read or post on this board, so obviously I don’t know whether the others who read this are the ones who provide so much fodder for the ridicule of Dawg fans. But you have no idea how widespread the notion is among Georgia folks (and others) that Gator fans are white trash, NASCAR-loving rednecks and it all stems from how we collectively project ourselves during football season.

[NOTE: I’ve been to two Winston Cup races and enjoy stock car racing. However, it is undeniable that 90-95% of the fans there are redneck as hell and would not be mistaken in any respectable quarters for classy, upstanding members of society]

Let me conclude by appealing to the Gator Nation to eliminate denim from the Game Day wardrobe; please do not wear Gator jerseys or t-shirts; perhaps the black high-tops and flip-flops would be better left at home. Collared shirts and nicer pants or (if it’s really, really hot) shorts for all!

Thanks, thewerd

Atlanta, GA

A sampling of some of the more humorous responses:

“How about this? Gator fans are not uptight simpletons. We’re secure enough in ourselves not to judge others by the way they dress.”

“I think WERD has a point to a certain extent. I have been to Jax for the last 6 or 7 cocktail parties (and I am sober for at least the first hour or so) and Georgia’s hotties come out in that great red shirt/black skirt uniform. Damn! I think the Gator honies should wear something similar. As for the guys, wear what you want. I don’t care. It is a football game. Just don’t wear tight jean shorts. I don’t want to see that.”

“Besides, I think the whole jeans shorts, mullet, silver chains, black sneakers and orange and blue camo thing is grossly exaggerated. Maybe ten years ago that attire was popular, but you hardly ever see it now among Gator fans (or anyone else, for that matter). This is mostly Georgia myth IMO.”

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