Game Day Rituals (Part III)

Without admitting to myself that I am doing so, I am continuing to read Warren St. John's Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, from which I recently quoted the following excerpt:  

I never wear red on game day, and I never take a shaker into a stadium, acts that jinxed Alabama in our 1980 home loss to Notre Dame.  Chris and Paula say they can't imagine not wearing red to an Alabama game . . . [b]ut they seem to appreciate my asceticism; resisting the urge to wear red takes willpower.  Perhaps I'm a real fan after all.

There can be little doubt of the genuineness of Warren's fandom.  Nevertheless, Warren's refusal to "wear red on game day" causes me some concern, for reasons I will attempt to explain.  

Despite the existence of such barriers as geography and rivalry, the college football blogosphere is a fairly closely knit community.  That's why Bloggerpalooza is open to all bloggers within driving distance of Athens and is not limited solely to Bulldog fans.  It's why the blogosphere closed ranks behind The M Zone during the Colin Cowherd affair.  It's why Warren St. John hosted Every Day Should Be Saturday's Orson Swindle and Stranko Montana for last year's Alabama-Florida game.  

Market research shows that my readership among the demographic of people who use the word "cute" to describe guys in their thirties increases by, like, a thousand per cent each time I post this picture of Warren St. John.

Only half in jest, I have tried to convince Warren to write a sequel to Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer about college football webloggers, who take rabid fandom one step farther.  If I and my coevals are able to persuade Warren to undertake such a project, it is my hope that the contingent of Bulldog bloggers will be able to entertain Warren in Athens some Saturday in the fall.  

There is a problem, though.  I insist upon wearing red to Georgia home games.  Warren refuses to wear red on game days.  Something will have to give.  

But what?  Should Warren's longstanding practice be honored or should he decide that his is a team-specific superstition which may be cast aside with impunity when he is attending a game involving another team with a similar color scheme?  If Warren St. John wore red to a Georgia home game, would it help the 'Dawgs win or would the jinx carry over from Legion Field to Sanford Stadium and bring calamity to the Red and Black?  

These are weighty questions which warrant reflective consideration.  I mean, I want Warren to write a book about the blogosphere and all, but I'm not willing to let him bring bad luck to the Bulldogs to do it.  

This would be perfectly appropriate attire for Helen Hunt to wear to a Georgia home game, but I wouldn't recommend it for Warren.

To analyze this knotty problem, we must go back to the source of the superstition.  On November 15, 1980, 11-year-old Warren St. John attended the Alabama Crimson Tide's game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Legion Field.  

Bear Bryant's 'Bama squad, ranked fifth in both polls, came into the contest with an 8-1 record.  The Irish were 7-0-1, ranked sixth by the sportswriters, and slotted seventh by the coaches.  Both Alabama and Notre Dame had been ranked No. 1 earlier in the season . . . the Tide for seven weeks and the Golden Domers for one.  

Warren wore red.  Notre Dame beat Alabama, 7-0.  It was to be the Bear's last crack at beating the Fighting Irish and his Red Elephants once again fell short.  In 25 years on the Crimson Tide sideline, Coach Bryant was 0-4 against the squad from South Bend.  

If the Bear had known that the 1980 home loss to Notre Dame was Warren's fault, the coach probably wouldn't have been smiling in this picture.

Would Warren bring bad luck to the 'Dawgs if he wore red in Athens on a game day?  I don't think so and here is why:  

On November 15, 1980, the day Alabama lost to Notre Dame in Birmingham, there was another Division I-A college football game taking place in the Yellowhammer State.  That same day, Georgia beat Auburn on the Plains, 31-21, to clinch the S.E.C. championship.  

Two weeks later, the undefeated and top-ranked Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech.  On November 8, while the 'Dawgs were making a miracle comeback against Florida in Jacksonville, the Yellow Jackets rebounded from back-to-back losses to Tulane and Duke by tying Notre Dame in Atlanta.  The Fighting Irish were then ranked No. 1 and the 3-3 deadlock in Atlanta toppled them from the top spot in the polls.  

Notre Dame's victory over the Crimson Tide moved the Irish back up to No. 2, behind the Bulldogs.  Despite the Golden Domers' subsequent loss to U.S.C., the win over Alabama at Legion Field set up a Sugar Bowl showdown between Georgia and Notre Dame.  The Red and Black emerged victorious in the Superdome and the Bulldogs' 17-10 triumph completed Georgia's national championship campaign.  

Dennis Felton also doesn't wear red for games, but that's based on an ephemeral thing like fashion sense rather than rooted in sound reasoning like a time-tested game day good luck ritual.

I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that the shade of red worn by Warren St. John to the 1980 Alabama-Notre Dame game was closer to the bright hue of fresh blood than to the crimson color of dried blood.  The author of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer may simply have misread the omen:  I don't think Warren wearing red was unlucky for Alabama . . . I think it was lucky for Georgia and his favorite team just happens to have suffered the side effects.  

The invitation previously extended to Warren St. John to attend a Georgia game in Athens remains open, but the author's aversion to wearing red on a football Saturday in the fall will have to be overcome.  It may be a sign of a bad moon rising over Birmingham, but it indicates impending good fortune for Georgia in Athens.  

Go 'Dawgs!  

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