Amanda Blagg

Outside the Tines with Amanda

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I am a Sun Devil.

I bleed maroon and gold. I support my school and my football team no matter what. I’m raising little Sun Devils. I know what it’s like to spend hours tailgating in 100+ degree heat and then sit in the sun at Sun Devil Stadium to show my support…there isn’t much else for which I’d endure those conditions. I represent ASU with pride. I have ASU vanity license plates and ASU stickers on my Jeep. Being an Arizona State Alumni means a lot to me. There are few things in our lives, outside of family, friends and careers, that stay with us in such a constant, tangible way as true support of a sports team. I was raised with sports being a major influence in my life. I still love the Chicago teams with which I grew up and the Arizona teams I’ve come to support having lived in the Valley nearly two decades. Yet, none of those teams are as important to me as the Sun Devils. That importance in my life is what I call my Sun Devil Pride. I love the school; love the team. If you follow me on social media, you quickly know the importance of ASU football in my life. Those who are not Sun Devils may quickly tire of my likes, retweets and posts related to ASU and certainly, they roll their eyes at my frequent hashtags of sundevilpride. However, I know I’m not alone in the devotion to my school, to my team.

So, what makes college football different? Why do we often feel stronger pride? I think some of it has to do with the players feeling more relatable. We may have been friends with some of them during our tenure in school. In general terms, we certainly feel closer to athletes at the college level before they become professionals and potentially superstars. We share a bond with them; we are a family of Sun Devils. Why are people so devoted to their college? Sure, we paid tens of thousands of dollars to go there and maybe feel that we are entitled to something in the way of claiming it as our school. But, I think it goes further than that. How does a university as big as ASU, that’s been around since 1885, still feel like a family to me? I think it’s all about the tradition.

There are many traditions that ASU students, alumni and other followers know a lot about and others less well known, all of which make me feel like part of something big; part of something old, something lasting. We all love supporting a football team ranked #6 in the country, but I don’t think I’m alone in the love of and pride for our ASU traditions.

Maroon & Gold: Since 1896, gold has been the prominent color for ASU, chosen for the golden promise, treasure and sunshine of AZ. In 1898, maroon and white were added to the football team uniforms.

Sparky: Who doesn’t love our mascot? Just the fact that he’s original means a lot to me. I don’t understand how multiple colleges in the country have the same mascot. I’m grateful to call myself a Sun Devil and not have to clarify from which school. Sparky became the official ASU mascot by student vote in 1946.

The Victory Bell: Found just outside the southeast entrance to Sun Devil Stadium, The Victory Bell was a gift to ASU students from Judge Ross F. Jones in the late 1960s. Ringing the bell calls students and fans to the stadium before each football game. After victories, the number of rings equals the number of points scored by the Sun Devils. The historic bell weighs more than 2000 pounds.

“A” Mountain: Many ASU landmarks exist in Tempe, but few with as much recognition as the “A”. For nearly a century, a letter has stood on Tempe Butte. Originally, in 1918, it was an “N” for Tempe Normal School. In 1925, when the school changed its name to Tempt State Teachers College, it was changed to a “T”. Three years later, in 1928, the school became Arizona State Teachers College, yet the letter was not changed to “A” until 1938. A bomb blast destroyed the original “A” in 1952 and the present 60 foot tall letter was then built using concrete and reinforced steel in 1955. The “A” on the butte has become more than just a landmark for ASU, it’s a focal point for school pride and tradition and a strong part of Sun Devil history. Part of the tradition surrounding “A” Mountain is the whitewashing of the “A”. Beginning in the 1930s as part of orientation and still continuing today as an annual tradition, the freshman class hikes “A” Mountain and paints the letter white during welcome week to represent the start of another year at ASU.

Lantern Walk: One of ASU’s oldest and most treasured traditions, Lantern Walk was first celebrated in 1917. Each year students, alumni, faculty and staff hike to the top of “A” Mountain carrying lanterns to light up Tempe. Following in the footsteps of their Sun Devil ancestors, the group experiences camaraderie and shares support in a unique way. The event, which includes a fireworks display and speeches from alumni, takes place every year on the Friday night before the Homecoming football game.

These are just some of the many traditions Arizona State Alumni can be proud to call part of our legacy. Sun Devils before us have experienced and cherished these traditions and generations of Sun Devils after us will continue to honor them with the same sense of legacy and family. Being a part of something so rich with history grows my Sun Devil Pride even further. I may not honor ASU in Lantern Walk every fall, nor have I hiked “A” Mountain, but these traditions make me feel like part of a big family with shared love of and support for the Sun Devils, our Sun Devils. #sundevilpride

About Amanda Blagg

Amanda Blagg

Amanda is a 2002 Arizona State graduate. When she began at ASU in 1998, so began her love of Sun Devil football. She and her husband, also an ASU alum, have had football season tickets since then and travel to road games every season. They are currently raising two little Sun Devils. Her eight year old son was born a Devil; he began singing the fight song before bed when he was two. Some of her son's happiest moments have been on the field at the spring games; when Coach Graham tweeted a photo of him and when he got to meet Coach Graham at the Utah game in 2013. The Sun Devil Pride & Passion runs deeply in the Blagg family and Amanda strives to share her passion with you in Outside the Tines.

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