As virtually any member of the Alligator Army community who has emailed me knows, I am terrible at responding to emails. They can languish for hours, days, or even weeks before I send a suitable response. My inability to respond to one last week cost me a chance to tell the tale of this post in two parts.
It feels better as a one-parter, though.
Last Wednesday, a reader whose email I was unfamiliar with sent this missive, which I've edited only lightly for style.
I began my college career at UF in 1990 and witnessed many wins during my time at school. Even after graduating and moving to Virginia, I travel at least once a year to a Gator game. In fact, I will be coming down for two more games this year: Vandy and FAU.
This will not be cheap, but I am doing it for Gator Nation.
You see, my best friend and school fraternity brother lives in Atlanta, so I will definitely be going to the SEC Championship Game, but if we are to have a chance in that game, I must end The Streak.
We both went to the BCS National Championship Game in Miami in January of 2009. We were in the seventh row in the end zone that saw two goal line stands and the jump pass. When Oklahoma got the ball back in the fourth quarter, down by three and possessing the most prolific offense of all time, I said a little prayer to the football gods:
Please grant me this victory and I will trade some down years.
We won the game.
In December of 2009, I flew to Atlanta to watch the undefeated Gators, led by Tim Tebow, take on the Crimson Tide of Alabama. It was disheartening watching them lose, as winning that game would basically have meant a third championship for Tebow and immortality for Florida.
In 2010, I came down for the LSU game. Another loss.
In 2011, my friend and I booked back to back games against 'Bama and LSU. On the first play from scrimmage against 'Bama, Brantley throws a 65-yard TD, and I thought the curse would be lifted. But Brantley got hurt and we lost. The next week we were destroyed at LSU.
In 2012, the Gators were hot and were 7-0 heading into their game against UGA. My buddy and I attended the game: We lost. UF won the next four games and went to the Sugar Bowl. My friends and I love Nawlins, so we went to the game — and saw another loss. The Gators were 11-2, and we witnessed the only losses of that season.
In 2013, we were excited about playing in Miami. We felt the streak had to end here, the site of the previous championship. Miami was not even that good that year ... and we saw another loss where we dominated them in every statistical category. We saw another loss to UGA, too.
In 2014, I flew down to Gainesville with several fraternity brothers, and thought for sure the streak was broken, but LSU scored a TD and then a 50-yard FG to create the ninth loss of The Streak.
This year, we went to LSU in Baton Rouge and as LSU lined up for a FG, the entire upper stands of Gator Nation screamed, "It's a fake!" We were right. Florida lost.
Ten. Ten losses in five years. I have not seen a Florida win in persson in five years. Therefore, I MUST break The Streak.
I will be at the game on November 7 vs. Vanderbilt. We are heavily favored to win. If we somehow lose, I make this promise to Gator Nation that I will not attend the SEC Championship Game in December. So desperate am I to see a win and end the streak, I have also booked a return to Gainesville on November 21 to watch the game against FAU with my 12-year-old son, for his first game.
The Streak ends this month.
Obviously, our friend was right: Florida beat Vanderbilt with him in attendance last Saturday. He sent along this email to recap his experience.
That game was torture and seemed to be written as a movie script to torture me as long as possible.After teasing me with the 71-yard kickoff return to start the game, and a TD three plays later, the TD was called back and we went for it on fourth down due to kicker issues.
We scored on the second drive — and then missed the XP.
After that started the fumble fest. Right before the half, the 74-yard Vandy touchdown, on a run right up the middle, truly made me think I was cursed. I received threats from fraternity brothers around the country telling me to leave the stadium. My own father suggested I leave Alachua County.
The second half saw more disappointment. I almost left the stadium with five minutes left in the game. The field goal put us ahead and I started to feel The Streak would end, but like a horror movie, where the evil will just not die, the refs kept giving first downs to Vandy. I nearly began to cry.
Finally, the game ended and so did The Streak. I am so glad that is over.
It was a rough five years.
We thank our friend for sharing these emails, and giving us permission to republish them. And we thank the Gators for ending The Streak.
Want to tell your story of the dedication or tribulations that come with being a Florida fan? Email email@example.com or sign up for Alligator Army and post it as a FanPost. We'll make sure it gets told.