I posted this on my own blog and got a pretty good response so I thought I'd give it a shout here in case any Redcoats are in the audience (and I'm sure there are plenty).
12 Days as of this writing...
Here are the things I miss greatly...
- Friday night rehearsal -- Watching the people wander in to catch 45 minutes of practice on a clear, crisp fall afternoon will never EVER cease to amaze me. At a cool 65-70 degrees I could play as high as I wanted to for hours on end and never get tired. The hill (when practice was held on the astroturf field) would be littered with old UGA alums who'd retired in the Classic City and wanted to catch a glimpse of southern fried football before the hustle and bustle of a busy Gameday.
- Saturday morning practice -- Everyone stumbling in after a pre-game party with their hair all matted and eyes glazed over, only to catch an emotional high right before we played Battle Hymn to officially begin the day.
- The Dawg Walk -- Thankfully Mark Richt joined the university and implemented this tradition that Jim Donnan chose to ignore. I used to live for night games because that would give more people more time to get to Tate and line up on both sides of the Redcoats just to catch a glimpse of the young men who would hopefully play like champions that day. By the way, I've never known what it has felt like to be a UGA football player, obviously. But, I do know what it feels like to be a Redcoat on a Gameday and to high five little kids, take pictures with older ladies, and be given a beer for playing Glory. At UGA on Gameday, Redcoats are not band nerds.
- The Rooster Call -- I actually never earned this honor, but instead it was given to me as a quasi-peace offering. If you ever want to know the story, feel free to ask me or The Song Writer since it was his call to say "OK, Kit can go up there." However, I didn't know at the time and I did everything I could to lose my voice every Gameday. The biggest rush of adrenaline I've ever had was the first game after September 11th when we played Arkansas. I printed out an American Flag and stapled it under my uniform only to take my jacket off to a wall of cheers. I remember looking down at William 0wen$ who gave me a thumbs up so vigorously that he damn near fell off of his ladder. That next year I wasn't able to do it for political reasons, but I was back up there in 2003 with my boy Jarrod and I think we formed the first tandem in Rooster Call history. Our shining moment came at the Auburn game (where we kicked AU's ass by the way) when we said "And he cheered for the Tigers, and he cheered for the Eagles, and he cheered for the Plainsmen." pause, drink of water, crowds laughs like hell and then goes apeshit Good times.
- Pregame -- I never liked Pregame. Ever. And then we started doing the....
- Battle Hymn -- Probably the coolest idea anyone's ever come up with. I take great pride in knowing the person who fostered the idea to do it and I believe also wrote the script that Larry Munson reads. If I'm correct...and I think I am since I'm never wrong. In the days before the Pregame Battle Hymn, UGA fans wouldn't trickle in until RIGHT before the Dawgs ran out while we played "Kryptonite." Now, the Dawgs running out ALMOST takes a back seat to what I feel is a tradition that will live at UGA for a long, long time.
- The game -- You really take for granted how much you are able to do during a football game that no one else gets to do. I should preface all this by saying I never liked the halftime show either. Let me be honest in saying that I enjoyed playing music, but I never enjoyed marching it. I just liked UGA football and Redcoats gave me an all access pass for five years. That being said, it is VERY odd to go from being involved in nearly every single play to being just a fan. I had no idea what words to say during cheers, what to do with my hands, NOTHING. It takes some getting used to. I will say that it is extremely fun to be on the sidelines. I was right there when Sean Jones picked up Jabari Davis' fumble at UT and took it to the house. He ran right in front of me. To put it bluntly, it was one of the coolest things...ever.
- Postgame -- I have a propensity for night games. I really really enjoy them on a level that is probably unhealthy, but I LOVE UGA Football at 65 degrees in October and sometimes November. After a solid Dawg win and a classic game, your bones hurt from standing and you are physically exhausted. However, a few things must be done. You must play Georgia on My Mind, and you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO WITHOUT EVEN QUESTIONING take your hat off when you play Tara's Theme. Glory Glory Dixieland is fun, but Tara's Theme makes it special. On a clear and peaceful southern night, you can't beat the reverb throughout a near empty Sanford Stadium after your last home game as a Redcoat. I remember standing next to Amos, who was crying, and tears were streaming down my face as well. My dad came up to me with tears in his eyes and said "How you feel, bud?" and all I could do was just say "I want to go home." UGA never forgets those who has played its soundtrack, but when you walk out of that stadium after your last game as a Redcoat, it's like breaking up with the love of your life. It's a very lonely stroll.
Well there you have it. Sorry it was so long.
Until next time kids.