Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live 365 days a year in the same house with a barner? Worse yet, what if that barner was your spouse? Oh my, the hair on the back of my neck is standing up just thinking about it. We all know the storied rivalry that Alabama has with the barn and how Bama fans and fans of the other school down the road tease each other all year long. Now close your eyes for a moment. Are they closed? Can you see the darkness? Imagine your family, your children, the ones you love more than anything in this world, and now imagine this darkness coming over your household. The ones you love are in danger. The dark side is trying to win them over. The dreaded blue and orange plague is oozing through the house trying to seize your children's precious minds. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! For some we wake up in a cold sweat realizing it was nothing more than a bad dream, for others it is all too real and a battle they must wage 365 days out of the year.
To explore this strange phenomena, we visit the Harrells. He is Crimson to the Core and she is a Dye hard barner, and get this, they have two children. Yep. The battle begins. Come with us as we join them to discuss their HOUSE DIVIDED. The Harells sent in a 190 word essay describing life at their house around the Iron Bowl and were chosen to represent the ALABAMA vs. Auburn rivalry in the WJOX Home Depot House Divided contest. As winners they had their house painted for free, in both teams colors!
We asked Jennifer and Eric if they were both raised as an Alabama and an Auburn fan, and if not what made them choose to cheer for their team.
Yes, we were both raised in homes that were either Auburn or Alabama. Eric's dad at one time was a photographer for the Bear Bryant Show and Jennifer's dad graduated from Auburn's prestigious Veterinary School of Medicine. He still serves there and is currently involved with the selection of new students into the program. He also travels around the state to Veterinary Hospitals and recommends renewal of hospital licensure each year. Jennifer was given the "choice" at one time - but there wasn't one to be made, in her words, she was already "Orange and Blue to the core!" The poor lost soul.
You have one son and one daughter, correct; and one of them is an Alabama fan and the other is a barner, I mean an Auburn fan, right? Was that by design or did it just naturally divide up that way? I have to admit I’d be trying everything I could to pull my sons and daughters out of the dark side and into the light if I were in your situation.
Mrs. Harrell says that her daughter Rebecca's favorite color is red (I think she means crimson) and that she spends quite a bit of time around others that may be a bad influence on her, so she is an ALABAMA fan (You see how the evil is at work here don't you). She says that Rebecca chose "unwisely" to be a BAMA fan and that she feels she has failed her daughter. Their son, Ethan, is just five. He claims he is a fan of both, but has much more Auburn clothes than Bama. (We all know who does the shopping in the family don't we.) He only has one BAMA shirt and it is stained and yucky looking, Jennifer told us. (The poor kid keeps wearing the BAMA shirt and his mother won't even wash it!) Jennifer feels that Ethan has chosen "wisely" and that one day Rebecca will come around. (Folks get on your knees, prayers are needed!)
Tell me what it is like around the Harrell house when the Iron Bowl rolls around.
The Harrells don't watch the game together. Life can be tense they say. But, truly, once game day is here - it's whoever shows up to play! Eric is a natural teaser - so that's something he does about everything - not just football. But he knows his limits Jennifer tells us. "We don't talk on Iron Bowl day."
Do you place wagers on the game, like the losers have to wear an Iron Bowl shirt with the score on it out to dinner or anything?
"No wagers. There's a congratulatory phone call made and an understanding nod given once we see each other. After that it's over. Of course, the person who's team won has bragging rights for the whole year, but it's taken with a grain of salt. We've both been on each side and know what it's like. So we really are considerate of each other most of the time!"
We asked Jennifer what she thought when she first found out Eric was an Alabama fan.
"I've known Eric since 1990 and knew he was an Alabama fan. In fact, I've only ever dated 2 Auburn fans and one of them wasn't when we started dating and is now a graduate of Auburn and one of their biggest supporters! So when he and I started dating I knew what I was getting into. We all have our flaws........"
Our question for Eric: Did you know she was an Auburn fan before you asked her out, and if so why’d you do it?!
"I knew she was an Auburn fan, but the only other girl I'd dated seriously was an Auburn fan, too. So I was just used to it." (I guess the old saying that opposites attract is true.)
When we asked the Harrells to describe the time they watched the Iron Bowl at her parents house we got two different descriptions. In her words, "Eric isn't a quiet football watcher regardless of who is playing. So for the Iron Bowl it's over-the-top! The first time and only time we've watched the game together was the season after we were married and we watched it at my parent's home. Won't happen again. He's not welcome because he didn't behave himself. Plus Alabama won which made it even worse!" However, he describes it this way, " It was just a typical Iron Bowl with a lot of excitement."
We had to get their perspective on the "Fear The Thumb" incident, and guess what, yep, that's right, two totally different perspectives.
Jennifer was quick to respond. " Why can't Auburn have something good going on without it become a state crisis? I don't think Tuberville intended on that to ever become anything. But in this state, heaven forbid you do anything that might imply we've won 4 in a row and that there might be a 5th - which there was. And now there might be a 6th? Blasphemy!!!! The whole thing is ridiculous. Alabama fans made it into what it is now. Auburn just capitalized on it! (hmmm, interesting point of view. I guess Tuberville's wife dressed him in the "Fear The Thumb" shirt for S.E.C. media days, but then again beating BAMA four years in a row is something to be proud of, regardless of the circumstances.) Eric summed it up in one word, "classless."
So what are their predictions for this year's Iron Bowl? Jennifer says "I think Alabama will certainly play better this year, but it's going to be Auburn's year again - it's in the Jungle!" but Eric proclaims "Alabama wins." (O. K., in the interest of fairness to both sides I must give a big ROLL TIDE ROLL! and......ummm, hang on, give me a minute. Ummmm, (Clears throat) O. K., here it goes...."Warrrrrrrrrrrrr Beagle!" Oh well, I tried.)
Click Play to see video of the Harrell's House divided.