What's so great about Florida? Other than its beauty days, legendary hospitality, and southern gent and belles, Sunny Florida has two of the greatest mascots of all time -- Albert and Alberta Gators.
*Gators is the nickname given to the University of Florida's athletics teams because of its famous mascots, Albert and Alberta, a pair of Florida alligators.
*Just when did Albert leave the murky waters of the Florida everglades to find his home at the University of Florida? In 1908, while visiting his son in Charlottesville, Va., Phillip Miller decided that he wanted to have some items designed for the University of Florida to sell in his store in Gainesville, Fla. When Miller got to the Michie Company to have the items designed, he realized that the new university did not have a emblem.
*So, what's a good merchant and Florida native to do? He thought up a symbol for the University of Florida. What better way to represent the university than one of the South's most famous inhabitants --the alligator?
*Thus, Phillip Miller and his son, Austin, helped to give birth to Albert, the famous gator in the orange top. Amazingly, they did this without consent from the university.
*Phillip Miller had the banners and pennants designed with Albert the alligator on them, and he took them back to Florida to sell. The items displayed Albert in different poses. Albert's been posing ever since.
*The University of Florida began to call itself "the Gators" in 1911.
*Where does Albert prowl? He generally hangs out around "The Swamp" -- Ben Hill Griffin Stadium --during home football games.
*In 1957, the first live alligator left the everglades to put in an appearance at the University of Florida football game. Since that time, many different gators have assumed the role of Albert.
*What has made Albert into the man he is today? In 1970, a student in a gator costume made an appearance as Albert.
*Like your typical male reptile, Albert got a little lonely around 1986. So, he found himself a friend named Alberta, a female gator who helps him perform.
*The two often appear as a couple, but they do make appearances alone.
*Aside from football, Albert tends to like baseball and men's basketball, while Alberta lives to watch gymnastics and women's basketball.
Who are the South's greatest mascots? Simple. Albert and Alberta of the Florida Gators. Don't go near The Swamp.
The author of this piece is a Southerner and a big fan of Albert, Alberta, and The Florida Gators. Go Gators!