We are the boys from old Florida
Where the girls are the fairest,
The boys are the squarest
Of any old state down our way
We are all strong for old Florida
Down where the old Gators play
In all kinds of weather
We’ll all stick together
Singing We Are the Boys from Old Florida is a classic University of Florida tradition. Putting your arm around a stranger and swaying in The Swamp with 90,000 other Gator fans is possibly one of the best feelings in the world. This year though things are a little different, our mighty Florida Gators football team has a 4-5 record. Headlines read “The Downfall of Gator Football” or “Florida Gators Drop From Ranks of College Football Elite”, and however true it is important that we remember one key phrase in our third quarter tradition: “In all kinds of weather we’ll all stick together”.
If you consider yourself a member of the Gator Nation I encourage you to keep your spirits up. In 2000 Alabama went 3-8, and now they’ve won the BCS National Championship 3 out of the last 4 years. I promise you we will move back into the top ranks because what separates the Gator Nation from other fan bases is that we never stop talking about how great it is to be a Florida Gator.
Even if we’re 0-12(which I hope never happens) we will still wear orange & blue with pride. We have so much to be proud of both academically and athletically, and not in just football. Athletically we have one of the best athletic programs in the nation. We currently rank in the top ten in multiple sports including: Men’s and Women’s Swimming, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Golf, Women’s Soccer, and Women’s Volleyball(and these are only Fall sports). Academically, the University of Florida is the 14th best public university in the nation and our research expenditures are in the top 20 among all institutions. While our football team is having a bad year we are still great in many aspects. It’s STILL great to be a Florida Gator, because in all types of weather we’ll all stick together.
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This weekend I had the chance to participate in an event called Dance Marathon(DM). Dance Marathon is a fundraising event where participants stand for 26.2 hours nonstop to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network and Shand’s Children’s Hospital at the University of Florida.
Coming into Dance Marathon the only thing I expected was feet pain. For the first few hours I felt okay, I was a little bored and a little unsure of how I would endure 20+ more hours. I began thinking about why I was there, thinking to myself “Why do I dance?”. The easy answer was to just say “For The Kids” (FTK), a common Dance Marathon phrase.
While Dance Marathon raises money mainly for Children and pediatrics it also raises awareness on the impact of cancer. Having had multiple family members with cancer I can closely relate to having someone you know have cancer. It is unfathomable to me to think about a child having cancer, and while I’m so fortunate not to have been personally effected by cancer I know it can strike at any moment.
The best part of Dance Marathon was seeing the kids and families participating in the event, they helped reminded all of us what we were fighting for. After hearing story after story I knew that 26.2 hours of standing doesn’t even begin to compare to what a child with cancer has to go through. Some of the funds raised from Dance Marathon help go to programs that help children with cancer live a normal life. Dance Marathon made those children shine like stars, they felt amazing and I teared up seeing them smile.
At Dance Marathon I dance for everyone- children, parents, family members, and everyone impacted by cancer. It pains me to see cancer debilitating a child’s already short childhood. We all must work together to find a cure to cancer, for everyone- for children and for adults. As my pink tank top I wore at the event said “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” I hope Dance Marathon doesn’t stop until we find a cure. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to take part in this amazing event. At the University of Florida we raised $1.169,722.16 for Shands Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network. A record breaking amount that almost had me sobbing.
I hope I continue to be apart of Dance Marathon and I hope to raise even more next year!
P.S.: Click below for a few pictures of me from the event!
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