I have spent many hours on that drive down US411, I 75, I285, I85 and 316.
I have missed many birthday parties, weddings (that’s their own faults for having a wedding in the fall), and even funerals.
Now let me tell you why.
My passion started as a kid while listening to Munson on the radio. Growing up we were lucky to pick up five channels on the TV set. I didn’t get cable until I was in middle school. I remember having to go outside and turn the antenna while my dad yelled, “just a little more to the right”.
However, it wasn’t until 1998 that the “fever” for Georgia football sat in. My first real job was working for WRGA radio. It was there my assignment was to work the board and bring Larry Munson across the airwaves for northwest Georgia.
I sat in the studio many of Saturday’s listening to that raspy voice and pessimism as we cheered on the red and black.
I will never forget my first game. It was November 11, 2000. I had enough of listening and wanted to watch my guys in person. It ended up being my dad and I as we traveled to the plains to watch Georgia take on Auburn. It was so cold that night and my dad, who wasn’t the biggest sports person, sat there watching the clock tick away. Who’d guess it would go to overtime that night. Sadly, the good guys didn’t win. However, I was hooked!
I had to go back So a few weeks later I made my first trip to Athens. I was sitting at the radio station and the telephone rang. When I picked it up a gentleman asked if I would be interested in free tickets to the next game. That game was November 25, 2000. No way I could turn down free tickets to Athens! So my mother and I attended the Old Fashioned Hate game. I remember the great seats I had for that game. We were sitting in the 50 right behind Tech’s bench. I will also remember sitting there getting drenched from all the rain. However, unlike dad, mom fell in love with the Dawgs just as much as I. I just hated the end result.
However, that day created an awesome bond that the two of us shared until the day she went to be with Jesus. I sure do miss calling my mom when the redcoats play. I miss hearing her call the Dawgs. I miss those phone calls after a hard-fought win and hearing her excitement.
After that game it was on. In 2001, I purchased season tickets. It wasn’t until my mom suffered a serious health scare in 2019 that I missed a game. For 18 years I was sitting in Sanford Stadium any time the lights got turned on. I’ve not missed another one since. I am blessed enough to usually toss in a few away games along the way.
Since then, how could anyone forget finally beating Tennessee and destroying the hedges, the Hobnail boot, Greene to Johnson in the corner at Jordan Hare, that 31-3 over Arkansas, DJ Shockey hitting Sean Bailey deep in the Dome, the first blackout, the streak against Tech, 4 yards short in the Dome, that Sunday they announced Richt was no longer captain, Kirby coming home, Sony Michel in overtime at the Rose, and yet that stupid 2nd and 26. However, now its time to “finish the drill”.
Gosh, all these years and superstitions. I remember having to always walk on the same side of polls as those I went to the game with, I remember a chant I used to have to say, went something like, “I had a piece of chicken, I had a little drink” some of you remember the rest. For a long period of time I always had to eat chicken before a game. Actually, I may go back to those on Monday!
If you are a Georgia fan you, like myself, you are so tired of the memes. The “I was a cheerleader the last time UGA won a natty”, the empty trophy case, I could go on and on and on and on.
I was born March of 81. There are not many Dawg fans alive that have lived longer without seeing Georgia “win the big one”. I have cried, I was cursed, I have rejoiced in victory and defeat. I have also never given up. Never once have I thought about changing that “power G” on my chest to anything else.
But why? No matter how bad things were, for four hours on a fall Saturday I had a chance to forget about the “bad”. It is my getaway. I’ve never done drugs. I don’t drink. I’ve not had to go see a shrink. Georgia football is my “outlet”. It’s my way to “forget about the bad” and just “focus on what is in front of me”
My mistress “Hope” just keeps rearing her beautiful face and coming back in my life, doesn’t she? Year after year, season after season “this is our year”.
Sitting in Indianapolis this Monday will mark my 170th game. My seat numbers… 3 and 4… ironic hu?
I sure do wish my mom was here for this.
However, my beloved bride, who will be beside me for this one has sacrificed so much for my obsession. Heck, she even included in our wedding vows that she will never take me away from Georgia football. I am one lucky man, despite her reminding me of my obsession, she has never asked that I not go. If we get to experience the long-awaited moment, I couldn’t think of a better person to have beside me.
On top of that, there’s not a better team that I would love to beat to end the drought than Alabama. They are the standard for greatness. As a wise man once said, “to be the man, you have to beat the man”.
With a win, forty-one years of frustration, envy and disappointment will come bursting out at the seams.
I can’t even begin to imagine what we would see. It would be a celebration for all celebrations.
But can the Bulldogs get the job done?
We need this one. I need this one.
Hunker down one more time you hairy Dawgs!