Friday, September 20, 2013
Saturday Tailgate: Florida Gators
By Edward Aschoff
The few moments before the start of the fourth quarter are a special time in the Swamp. They're also a pretty special sight to see, as well.
Just before teams prepare for the final quarter of battle inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the University of Florida's marching band, better known as The Pride of the Sunshine, strikes up "We are the Boys from Old Florida." The song echoes throughout the Swamp, as fans clad in orange, blue and white lock their arms around their neighbors' shoulders and sway back and forth.
It creates a mesmerizing, psychedelic sea of motion in the stadiums stands just above Florida Field. The exact origin of the song is unknown, but it calls for each Gators fan packed into the stadium to stand and show every ounce of support for his or her team. They lyrics speak to standing by your team "in all kinds of weather," meaning that even if things aren't going the Gators' way, the fans will still there to support them and their cheers will only get louder.
The movements and words are so catchy that you'll even see players linked together on the sideline, swaying with their fans from above. The song last only about 50 seconds, but it serves as a motivator. The emotion evoked from hearing the melody and the fans singing in unison has a powerful affect on players.
Even during road games, the band finds a way to squeeze it in just before the final frame begins, bringing a portion of the Swamp's home-field feel to enemy territory.
It's a tradition that has been around since the 1930s and carries tremendous weight and pride. No fourth quarter can start for the Gators without hearing that song.