A special feature for our College Night edition from alumna Lindsey Sherril.

I’m about to say something blasphemous.

Don’t judge me, fellow Purples.

Sometimes I root for that other side.

I know. It’s hard to believe. There was a time when my militant little heart couldn’t imagine the possibility of such horror. But it’s true.

A couple of years ago, one of my little sister’s friends was a senior at Montevallo. I had known this boy since he was seven years old, and darn it, when he wrote the winning Gold show, I could not have been more proud.

You could say I was born into the Montevallo family. I came to UM as the granddaughter of a hardcore purple. She spent my whole life convincing me to go to Montevallo and promised me if I ever went Gold I’d get disowned. She claims it was a joke, but I’m not sure. To this day she signs letters to me “PV! Yay Purple!”

When I came back for my first College Night after graduation, I was sure it would be too sad. I had graduated in December, so I still felt like a student– those were my friends, on my side, on the stage I had just been on a few weeks before. Not being a part of all that magic was going to break my heart!
Sure, it was a little bittersweet. There were so many memories. I played for three years out of my four at Montevallo. I was in the show once (try roller skating to the edge of Palmer stage at full speed and stopping on the exact right beat), helped with costumes once and was in the pit chorus my senior year.

I loved those years. I made friends and felt like I was a part of a family. And I loathed those “yellas.”

But let me let you in on a little secret: College Night as an alum is awesome.

Coming back as an alum gave me a whole new perspective. I realized for the first time just how special the Montevallo family is. When I think about College Night, I think about everyone that will be outside Myrick Saturday afternoon. Purples, Golds, Greens, spouses and significant others.

It also means probably meeting a few tiny cows and itsy-bitsy lions who have arrived in the last year. There are hugs and reunions and tears and laughter. One year I met someone I never knew as a student who became one of my best friends. If you look down at that group from above Saturday, you won’t see two rival sides. You’ll see a group of friends with some magical shared moments.

That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned about College Night since graduation. No matter what side you’re on, we share the same memories. Purples and Golds alike know what Palmer looks like at 3 a.m. as you’re dragging back to a dorm.

They both know what it’s like to pour your whole soul into something that lasts for only 45 minutes and feel like every drop of blood, sweat and tears was worth it. Both know the high of the win and the utter crushing despair of defeat.

There’s a phrase that a few of us started saying several years ago. “What’s it always gonna be? An Alumni victory!” Keep that in mind. No matter what happens Saturday night, when Monday rolls around (because we all know everyone is going to sleep all day Sunday…), another College Night will have passed into history. But those memories last.

Those experiences stay with you. They cement your place in Montevallo lore and create bonds that really will last a lifetime (ask my grandmother!).

On Saturday night, I’ll circle up with my side. I’ll sing about the little town in the valley and the side I love so well. And when the other side sings, I’ll hum a little on the inside because their song is a part of what Montevallo is to me too.

I’ll tear up a little looking around Palmer and think, as I have every year that I’ve gone back, about what a true HOMEcoming College Night is. I’ll think about how, no matter how unbroken the Montevallo family circle may be, there’s always room for one more member.

What’s it gonna be?