GAINESVILLE -- And to the winner goes The Oar!
College football has a brand new rivalry trophy. The Okefenokee Oar will be presented to the winner of the Florida-Georgia rivalry after Saturday's game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Naturally, Gator Clause has already renamed the rivalry the War for the Oar and is currently working on copyrighting that.
The Okefenokee Oar, measuring 10 feet but needing some paint (just my opinion), is a collaborative idea of the University of Florida and University of Georgia student governments. The trophy will remain in the possession of the winning team for a year before returning to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in 2010 to be fought over once again. We're assuming this, anyway. We suppose Georgia could eventually just keep the trophy all to itself and display it in a museum. (Yes, Miami, that was a shot at you and your war canoe. Please, Canes fans, no emails about the City of Hollywood mayor or whatever. I already know the story.)
Gator Clause loves this idea. We are suckers for college football traveling rivalry trophies and we're sure that the War for the Oar will soon top the list of college football's most recognized rivalry names. Since Florida is 16-3 against Georgia dating back to 1992, the Okefenokee Oar will probably be spending a lot of time in Florida's trophy case.
For those who need a geography lesson: The Okefenokee Swamp is the big swamp on the Florida-Georgia border. If anyone has been canoeing in High Springs (just north of Gainesville), then you know the swamp pretty much extends all the way down to Alachua County. When it rains really hard in south Georgia, folks on the Suwannee River and its tributaries usually know it about two days later. According to the University of Florida's student government, the Okefenokee Oar was carved out of a 1,000-year old cypress tree from the swamp and was donated by someone who, according to UF's student newspaper, wanted to remain anonymous. (Probably because his first creation, "Treebow," didn't look too hot.
For those who need a history lesson: The Florida-Georgia border runs through the Okefenokee Swamp. OK, that much is obvious. But to fully understand the symbolism of the Okefenokee Oar you've got to go back a few years. Way back, actually. Like, back in the pre-colonial days.
I'd hate to bore you with the details so I'm going to wing this one. Back when Europeans started killing each other and American Indians for land in the New World, people really wanted the Okefenokee Swamp. Don't ask me why? It's a swamp and smells of decaying earth and primordial death pretty much year round. I know, I've been there. Paddled that river plenty. Beautiful swamp. Black water. Big alligators. Anyway, the Okefenokee Oar celebrates man's greed.
Ah, I'm just joking. Anything for another college football rivalry trophy! The UF and UGA student government presidents will introduce the Okefenokee Oar to the college-football world before the game on CBS.