It’s that time of year again. What the calendar calls “fall” but only because the leaves are so dehydrated from the heat that they fall off the trees. In Southeast Georgia, we call it football season. It’s a time for good-natured rivalries and smack-talk and much more.
Football is accompanied by the upcoming holidays which can include family tension and for Bulloch and surrounding counties, it means one of the biggest events of the year — the annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair.
You’re probably thinking that I’m telling you something that you already know — you’ve got a calendar app just like I do. But what I want to tell you is more important than what’s coming up — it’s what goes into all of those things and how you can be a better person during these times.
It’s simple really. It’s one word that has seemingly dropped from the vocabulary in 2022… COURTESY.
I don’t think it’s any big secret (especially if you know me personally), but I’m a University of Alabama football fan. When I say those words aloud, I always pause for the dramatic reactions of diehard Georgia fans. A healthy and fun rivalry is one of my absolute FAVORITE things in this world — but if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.
As a Bama fan, I watch the games and my social media posts on game days revolve around the Tide’s performance. I’m usually highly critical of the mistakes that are made in a game — so rival fans aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know. But I’ve noticed that many fans of opposing teams comment less on their own teams than they do on Alabama. It’s almost like they’re so busy hating Alabama that they can’t focus on their own team. And that’s cool — you do you. But don’t jump on my Alabama post spewing hate and talking about how much you hate Nick Saban if you can’t take me sharing a post talking smack about your team.
I like to joke around that my favorite team is Alabama and whoever is playing Auburn (Sorry, Mom). I don’t talk about how I think this team’s coach should just die already or wish injury upon an opposing player. I’ve seriously seen those types of comments — it’s a GAME. And news flash… not a damn one of us are on the field so we’re just blowing hot air and acting like children over something we have NO control over.
Look, be a fan. Wear the gear. Watch the games. Eat the snacks. Talk a little smack. But don’t be a jerk about it. Agree to disagree and move on. And ROLL TIDE.
At the same time that you’re being nice to your rival’s fans, keep in mind that the people who are working at the football games are doing their jobs — if they tell you you’re not allowed to bring in that bag because it’s too big or it’s not clear, don’t be a butthead. The rules are posted for a reason (and you can find them in advance online).
On a similar topic, we’re coming up on a busy time of year for festivities like trick or treat at the Ag Complex, Trick or Treat on Greek Street and the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair. As a former Kiwanian, I can tell you that the individuals working at the fair are tired. Stressed. Overworked and UNPAID. I’ll say that part again. UNPAID. Be sure to read the cover story for more information on exactly what goes into planning and pulling off the annual fair and how much good it does for our community and keep that in mind as you wait in traffic or in line. It’s a popular event for the entire community and not just this community benefits from it — but WAY more people benefit from it than actually put it on. From behind the scenes, it is astonishing how much a group of about 100 people can accomplish.
That same courtesy should be extended to staff as people start to go out to eat more often for different occasions, as we start to do our holiday shopping, (except the Walmart self-checkout…you can be as frustrated with it as you’d like LOL), as we start to overwhelm the delivery drivers and the roads.
Courtesy should be also shown to those that are taking time to plan and prep for holiday gatherings. Hosts and hostesses carry a huge burden of cooking, cleaning, prepping and more and it can be stressful. It’s a stress that I love until it’s actually the day of the event and I’m running around trying to figure out how to fit a ham, a green bean casserole, cornbread dressing and dinner rolls in my standard sized oven, but I love hosting gatherings. My family is always very gracious and offers to help however they can and it is so appreciated but I know that isn’t the case in all families and in all situations, so I’m just reminding everyone that you should be mindful of that. Unless you’ve done it yourself a few times, you don’t know what that person is dealing with so maybe offer to bring more than a bag of ice when you come over. If you can’t cook, ask if they need help tidying up the week before the event or if they need someone to make a grocery store run. Any little thing like that can help (and a hostess gift of their favorite alcohol always goes a long way too!)
To tie in two of these things where courtesy can be important, let me tell you a tale of 2021. My birthday is December 8. I typically host a birthday party the Saturday before or after, depending on other events in that time frame. Last year, I decided to host the party on December 4, knowing that it was the date of the SEC championship but at the time, not knowing for certain what two teams would be facing off. Many of my friends are UGA fans. I have several that are Alabama fans. My husband’s family are all Alabama fans…. Well you know what? We all gathered together around my kitchen island, ate together, joked and laughed and had some friendly smack talk. Those of us who are football fans watched the game in the living room with Bama fans and Georgia fans sitting right next to each other.
There were no punches thrown, no unnecessary or over the top trash talk or anything. In the end, Alabama pulled out the win, but the UGA fans here at my home didn’t act like assholes about it. We carried on with a small bonfire in the backyard, a few more drinks and a little more smack talk. Those same people talked smack to me after Bama lost to UGA in the championship game. And guess what? I’m still great friends with them all. Because we are the types of fans who can put friendship over fan-ship. We can be respectful rivals.
As we move into this upcoming season when tensions can run high, just keep in mind that many times the employee you’re being mean to has nothing to do with the policy you’re mad about. They don’t have control over the return policy; your waitress didn’t cook your steak and didn’t have time to stand and monitor the cook in the kitchen; your hostess might have run out of toilet paper in the bathroom, but she’s making sure you have a full belly.