233 days. That’s how long it’s been since the Florida Gators last played football. After an agonizingly long offseason, the Gators will finally don the orange and blue this Saturday for the first time in 2019. If you’re a member of Gator Nation, this day couldn’t have come soon enough. After all, Florida football isn’t just a fun hobby – it’s a way of life. If you subscribe to that idea, then you’ll likely feel a deep connection with these seven things only true Florida Gators fans will understand.
Orange & Blue
They’re more than just school colors – they’re your very lifeblood. Bright, snappy, and vibrant, orange and blue perfectly capture the spirit of UF as well as the Gators’ standout reputation on the field. Saturdays during football season see the entire town of Gainesville awash in orange and blue. The colors are even part of a call-and-response chant in the stadium on gamedays!
The Holy Trinity of Quarterbacks
Steve Spurrier. Danny Wuerffel. Tim Tebow. These guys are Gators legends. Each quarterback won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most coveted individual award, and two of them (Wuerffel and Tebow) led the Gators to a National Championship. Spurrier, meanwhile, cemented his own UF legacy by becoming the program’s head coach and introducing an explosive offense that would dominate the SEC in the ‘90s (it was Spurrier at the helm when Wuerffel and the Gators won their first National Championship in 1996). You can find bronze statues of each icon standing outside the west side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Gamedays in The Swamp
Plenty of teams boast strong homefield advantage, but none can quite match Florida’s. The Gators call Ben Hill Griffin Stadium home, or more intimidatingly: The Swamp. Pre-game festivities in the stadium are electric, amping up the home crowd with intensity until the team storms the field, heralded by the legendary call of “Heeeeeeeeeeeere come the Gators!” Between the deafening crowd and the oppressive heat, opposing teams rarely get comfortable. The hype video that plays before games puts it best: It’s the Swamp, where only Gators get out alive.
Remember those pre-game festivities we talked about last paragraph? Two Bits is one of the most beloved. Way back in 1949, George E. Edmondson, Jr. spontaneously kicked off the chant to fire up the limp crowd. The team won and fans were so in love with the chant, Edmondson continued leading it during every game. Soon after, Edmondson would be asked by the university to lead the cheer from the field prior to kickoff. It’s a simple chant: “Two bits! Four bits! Six bits! A dollar! All for the Gators, stand up and holler!” but it’s mighty effective in pumping up the home crowd.
We are the Boys from Old Florida
Between the third and fourth quarter of every Florida home game, fans interlock their arms, sway back and forth, and sing this classic pep tune. The lyrics celebrate the camaraderie and unifying power of not just the Gator Nation, but the state of Florida itself. Even if you don’t know the words, it’s easy to sway and enjoy the tradition all the same!
The Gator Walk
Roughly two and a half hours before kickoff of every home game, fans can travel to the north end of the stadium to cheer on the team and coaches as they disembark from their buses and head to the locker room. It’s an exciting pre-game tradition that you should experience at least once.
The Chomp is a great celebration move, to be sure. But it’s also a unifying force, a communicative symbol that immediately says “We are the same,” to other fans. The Chomp is simple: hold your arms in front of you, right over left, lock them at the elbows, and bring your hands together in a vertical clapping motion – just like the jaws of an alligator.