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Of Smack, Bear and the Things We Down

I grew up in a farming community on the outskirts of a college town at the edge of the horizon where the sun always set. Tall cotton gave way to taller saguaros and then the mountains growing purple in the distance. It made for a wonderful postcard.

Our television set was a destination, a landmass of tube and wood rising from a sea of orange shag carpet and an antenna out the window always twisting in the wind—mine was to twist it back again beneath the thunder of my father’s voice, sudden booms of urgency and direction.

The University of Arizona football teams of my youth were as steady as a seesaw, a blur of defense and high hopes pinned on lowly bowl games. The records of the season were skipped and scratched, and often the only game that mattered was the one with the team just an hour away, the heated rivals of Arizona State in a state where “heated” is more than degrees melting in the sunshine. It was football, and the world stopped to watch it.

Without fail, every season found one of the teams  in the position to turn the dreams of the other into the stuff of nightmares and the months to haunt you—and they always did, usually on a field goal with time standing still.

And so it was that we bonded there, sunburned and thirsty, generations of friend and family like spokes on a wagon wheel, the hub the games we would gather around. It was the Wildcats against the Sun Devils, our faces painted red and blue, our shirts smudged with the blood of the same and all the while the call to “Bear Down” and the headlines that wrote themselves.

I hated ASU with the closest thing I knew to passion.


The good folks at Smack Apparel get it. They know of rivalries and have supplied the required uniform—t-shirts featuring collegiate and professional sports teams with the appropriate amount of smack and ire—since 1998. Wear your thoughts on the billboard of your belly for those times when your mouth gets tired from telling teams they suck, or maybe you just want to sip a cold one. Don’t just talk the talk—wear it! And if you want to read more about rivals and a bit of “friendly” banter, please visit the Smack Zone blog debuting this week with a focus on the same, but perhaps a bit more articulate as it is far less likely to become caked by mustard stains.

This is where you come in! We are giving away a free t-shirt to one lucky reader! To enter leave a comment below explaining why your team is better than your rival’s. It’s easy. Bonus entry: Follow Family Life on Earth and Smack Apparel on Twitter and tweet us (both in one tweet) about your favorite team and their silly little rival. One winner will be picked at random from all valid entries on September 8, 2015 and announced at 4:30 p.m. PST. The winner will receive a virtual gift card to purchase the shirt of their choice (choose wisely).

Why September 8? Because that’s the day of the #SmackZone Twitter party. It starts at 5 p.m. PST and you’ll have a chance to win even more great prizes like one of three $25 virtual gift cards or the $100 virtual gift card to use at Smack Apparel. Please join us!

Note, if you are a Sun Devil fan and need help figuring out Twitter, any of the words on this page or the Internet in general please leave a comment below and I’ll send someone over to unplug your modem for 15 seconds.


I have teamed with Smack Apparel on this campaign and while I received compensation, all opinions expressed here are, obviously, my own. 




Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. He is the Social Media Director/Community Manager of the Dad 2.0 Summit. His writing can be found at Fandango, GeekDad, Disney, Today, Good Housekeeping, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post and several other popular publications. He previously covered travel for Orbitz, CBS and AOL, and served as Editor of Family Travel for UpTake. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and is the 2015 winner of the Iris Award for Best Writing.

10 thoughts on “Of Smack, Bear and the Things We Down”

  1. I’m a Steelers fan and our rival used to be the Browns, then the Ravens, now both? All I know is that the Patriots are going down like a deflated football on Thursday!

  2. Hey, I went to ASU! Thats stupid that you think its funny to make fun of there team. ASU is a great school and I made alot of friends their.

  3. This is the year of the Colts. Brady will probably be in jail by the end of the season, but he wouldn’t have any luck against us anyway!

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