A special photo: Three Gator First Ladies

By Buddy Martin GatorBait Editor

The composition of the photograph was simple, three women with arms interlocked, watching a football game, bonding and interacting, yet packed with emotion. It was as if Shelley Meyer, Megan Mullen and Jerri Spurrier were singing a hymn in church – and in a way they were. In a candid moment, the three First Ladies of Florida football were singing We Are The Boys, helping usher in the fourth quarter at the Florida-Miami game at Camping World Stadium.

While she was standing and swaying, arm in arm, Jerri said she thought to herself, “I wish somebody would take this picture – because it’s so special.” Little did she know her husband was lurking behind them with an IPhone.

Jerri and Megan joined arms and Shelley, sitting behind them, thought, “I’ve got to get in on this.” So she scrambled down front. The significance of the picture didn’t crystallize for Shelley until she saw it later.

“It was a great moment – it really was,” said Shelley. “Divine Intervention. The fact that we were even all in the same geographical area …Us three girls love each other. We had such fun chatting in between (plays), in between moments of nervousness. That was perfect right then.”

We Are The Boys evoked sweet memories for Shelley. “That song, right at that moment at every Gator game for six years,” she said.

Jerri was struck by the bond and the rarity of the photo.

Seldom, if ever, do you see photos of coaches wives from three eras all in one place.

“You could never plan it,” said Jerri. “You don’t say, ‘all right, you three stand together and put your arms around each other.’ You just don’t.”

Rare, indeed, to even see them all in one place.

“I’ve never even been at a game before with the wives of two former head coaches from a team that I’ve been with before ,” said Shelley.

Shelley said she found it very comfortable rooting for the Gators. Several times she experienced fan angst when something didn’t go right for Florida. She still cares.

Reportedly Urban was rocking a Gator shirt, but there is no photographic evidence. Urban and Steve hung out with each other, Tim Tebow and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.

The fact that it was Steve Spurrier who snapped the picture and then posted it on Twitter made it unique, if not a bit surprising. “When Steve took it, I was even more impressed that he would notice -- it was such an important picture,” said Jerri.

At his Wednesday press conference, Dan Mullen talked for several minutes about the photo and the closeness of the three women, all bound by the same limitations: “About that picture – it’s a hard thing to think about in lots of ways. I don’t know if anybody who can understand – and those three do – what they go through. At least on the sideline I have a little bit of control of what’s happening. They’re sitting up there watching … I don’t know if there have been three people more invested in Florida football the last 35 years who are more invested in every aspect of that game who have no control over it.

“So I guess it’s a pretty special bond and a special picture… All three and going through that moment together, and really, probably and suffering through at that moment as well.”

There are so many implications to the photo and the emotions that it spawned. Love, compassion, harmony, unity – even an element of forgiveness for some.

“That is one I am and going to hold on to for a lifetime,” Megan said of the picture. “There is so much love in that picture. It’s a really special To have that captured on film … I’m so thankful. What a moment!”

It speaks volumes.

“I told Megan, ‘You don’t even have to talk,” said Jerri. “Just look at it.”

Jerri said the photo “says a lot about the responsibility of us wives,” understanding the happiness and pain that their husbands endure. “It’s what we do. And how we understand what the other person does. Every good, bad, ugly, hurt that happened in our husbands’ lives. We’ve all been there.”

The guy who snapped it was proud of his work, too. “It was kinda neat,” said the HBC.

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