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50 For 50, No. 25: Alligator Army Wants To Be The Best Florida Gators Fan Community

There are 19 days until Florida's football opener against Florida Atlantic on September 3. Check out Alligator Army's 50 For 50 series for more of our 50 reasons to be excited for Florida football in 2011. We might just get this series done before the Tennessee game.

Let me tell you a few things.

  1. I am writing this post from a hotel room in Las Vegas while trying to decide whether to lose money playing video roulette or blackjack. (It'll be roulette, probably.)
  2. I am here because I'm turning my trip to the SB Nation Blogger Conference into a vacation of sorts.
  3. That conference is going to make Alligator Army a better destination/waste of time/family precisely because it has congealed the idea that Alligator Army wants to be the best Florida Gators fan community for me.

This post is about that last thing.

If you've been around here for a while, you know that we like to talk here. I praise, condemn, argue, persuade, and chortle, and that's just in the comments. I do those things at Alligator Army's Twitter and Facebook outposts, too, and though I feel like I do a lot of them, I can always do more.

I sincerely care about everything someone says on or about the Gators, here and elsewhere, down to it bugging me that the "Gators vs. Gator" debate will rage on forever. (You root for the Gators and are a Gators fan; you can root for a Gator and/or be a Gator, though.) I want to know why you think Will Muschamp's going to fail, or why John Brantley is, or why Billy Donovan is the greatest coach in the history of basketball, or why we need to stop giving short shrift to volleyball or track or diving. I want to know!

But it's not your responsibility to tell me; it's my responsibility to make Alligator Army the place you want to go to talk about the Gators. We're trying to do that by having news and analysis as quickly as possible (this weekend, unfortunately, excepted) and we're going to keep trying to do that by building on that news-gathering side. We're trying to do that by creating a lively community that enjoys hanging out in the (auto-updating!) comments and produces lively, witty discussions that both Florida fans and Gator Bait can enjoy. (Yeah, they're Gator Bait, not Gators Bait. I admit this is weird.)

And we're going to be trying to do that by making Alligator Army the most responsive and comprehensive Gators site in the world: If you care about it and want to talk about it and it has to do with the Gators, I want to hear it, and the comments and email addresses are always available for you. My Internet door is always open, and I welcome all comers, even ones whose opinions of me are stocked with unprintable words.

This long weekend has been nice on a "I am at least in 100-degree heat that is not accompanied by stifling humidity" level, but it's also reinvigorated me when it comes to this community. The SB Nation network is special because it marries the best technology in Internet writing with the passion, experience, and perspective sports fans have; there are vanishingly few better places to be a fan, I think, than on your favorite team's SB Nation blog.

I know passion for the Gators: I share mine with countless fans who all have their reasons and moments and joys and pains. Alligator Army should be the place that you visit to share the experience of being a Gators fan with people who know you and how you feel. And I won't stop until it is that place for every Gators fan.

Well, as soon as I get back from Vegas, anyway. Wish me luck?