In the excitement of the end of August, I wrote a column for GatorCountry.com that sought to capture not just the interest of what was about to happen on the field of play but to also highlight what distinguishes Gator Nation in the State of Florida -- longtime passionate fans with a deep love for the Gators. I sought to do that with a visit to one of the most iconic Gator Clubs in the nation -- Polk County.
Here is how we introduced the piece to the subscribers of GatorCountry.com:
This is the first in a series of reports (People and Clubs of the Gator Nation) that will focus on some aspect of the University of Florida’s well-established network of Gator Clubs; if you know of a local Gator Club personality, activity, event, or speaker series, etc., that you believe is noteworthy please let us know and we will add it to the list for possible inclusion in this series of reports.
Titled Kicking Off the Season in Imperial Polk County, this is how the column began:
It is once again football time in F.L.A. and on Wednesday night one of the flagship university’s iconic Gator Clubs celebrated as only it knows how: for the 28th straight year they hosted Larry Vettel as their keynote speaker.
That’s right, 28 straight seasons with the same keynote speaker.
Earlier in August I interviewed Roi Cornish, club President, for future inclusion in this “People and Clubs of the Gator Nation” series that will periodically be published on GatorCountry.com. Cornish lauded Vettel’s ability to engage an audience while dropping some knowledge and humor along the way. He was especially fond of Vettel’s former bits that skewered Bobby Bowden. With that in mind, Larry didn’t disappoint Wednesday night.
The Polk County Gator Club is a tremendously proud group, historically home to a broad number of Bull Gators and everyday Gators alike. I enjoyed my time with them and shared in the enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
Little did we know how strange the season would begin, and how strange it would remain right up through the week of Florida-Georgia.