Rattler football plays an important role in the culture of Florida A&M University. The football season gives students a chance to show their Rattler pride while supporting an athletic team.
Even students who don’t know a field goal from a touchdown support FAMU football and its surrounding events.
There are even organizations such as the Strike Club that are formulated solely for the support of the team.
The cheerleaders cheer, the band marches, the fans support and the vendors sell. All of this goes on while the Rattlers play. This amounts to the realization that Rattler football is definitely not just a game.
Various students have different reasons for attending FAMU football games. Whether it is to see the band, cheer on the team, get together with friends or show off their new outfits, thousands come out each Saturday to bear the elements and pile into Bragg Memorial Stadium.
“I go to support my university,” said sophomore Jamelle Young. “The band is a big part…I go to see their new routines…I understand that the football team needs support in order to win games” says the pharmacy student from Pell City, Ala.
Sophomore English student Marie Fraiser feels that the football season is the most important sports season at FAMU. “It’s a whole lot of excitement that you don’t see at other schools. Everybody’s crunk and having a good time,” said the 19- year- old from Columbus, Oh.
African American culture, without a doubt, plays an influential role in everything that is FAMU football. The food, the socialization, the fashions and the attitudes reflect the unique culture of African American society.
“I feel that FAMU is built on African American culture and tradition. This is evident in our football program. From the faces we see on the field and off the field…our culture is all throughout our program,” said Jamar Townsend, 21, a political science student from Philadelphia, Pa.
“I feel it is very important that we see this in our program because our culture and traditions don’t play an important enough role in most of the programs across the nation,” Townsend said.
Jana Solomon, 18, a freshman psychology student from Stuart feels the culture is “what helps build school and self pride” at the university.
Young also emphasizes the influence it has.
“I think our culture embraces being out and around everybody. It’s like you’re breaking bread, bartering with the vendors, all in fun.” She feels that these are experiences and opportunities unavailable at traditionally white colleges.
The Rattlers open their home season against Morris Brown College Saturday. Besides the fact that the Rattlers are striving for their sixth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship title, and that they are celebrating a promising recruiting class, the Marching 100 has a new show, the vendors have new t-shirts, and the mall has new outfits.