First off, I’d like to thank TKK for reaching out to me to help hold up the fort while he’s on vacation with his family. I’ve been fairly absent at DawgSports over the last few months for a couple of reasons; (1) my clients have these ridiculous things called Internet filters that prevent me from getting on any SB Nation sites and (2) I’ve become a full-blown work-aholic. Nobody ever told me that becoming a CPA would cause my workload to exponentially go up (I blame Dr. Hammersley back at UGA for never informing me how crazy public accounting becomes in your third year).
Secondly, I’d like to take care of a few administrative things. I plan on coming to the DawgSports get together in Athens, podunkdawg, so add me to the guest list (I also intend to participate in the sacrifice at the Arch if it comes to that).
Ok, now to my topic at hand (I’m purposely going to ignore much of the tumult that has overcome Bulldog Nation in the last few weeks which I believe will be covered quite well elsewhere). I’ve noticed going around SB Nation that many are discussing about where they come from as a joint advertising motion for the new NCAA Football game (which I will be picking up this week – it’s honestly the only video game I still get on an annual basis). I put some thought into it and felt I should share with you all where I come from as a Georgia Bulldog fan (hopefully I meet wwcmrd?’s definition) and what my favorite memories are of my time as a Bulldog fan.
My paternal grandparents are both from the Athens area. My grandfather was born and raised just outside Athens in Hull, Georgia. My grandmother was born and raised within Athens. Her childhood home was on the railroad tracks on the east side of downtown where all those fancy new apartment buildings now stand. My grandfather’s family expanded eastward and built a restaurant on Lake Hartwell on the Georgia side that some of you might have heard of, the Swamp Guinea, which is still run by my cousins. My great-grandfather was a contractor that helped build part of many of the buildings on South Campus. His final job before retiring was to lay the foundation at what became Stegeman Coliseum. Basically I’m saying that my roots to the Classic City run deep.
My first UGA football game came in November 1983 when my six-month pregnant mother dragged me around in the womb with my drunken father to the Auburn game (my first game happened to be a loss). I would not attend another UGA football game until I enrolled as a freshman in 2002. For whatever reason I always was raised a baseball fan first and a football fan second so the Atlanta Braves were #1 to me for the better part of my first 18 years. I always watched the Bulldogs games with my grandfather, but did not really begin taking college football seriously until the fall of 2001 and this glorious moment.
At that point, I was hooked to UGA football and have never looked back. After enrolling at the University of Georgia, I became enamored with most of the sports teams, but I’d like to share with you my top memories of my time as a die-hard UGA fan since 2001 (fair warning that most of these are football related).
March 4, 2003:
UGA men’s basketball defeats #3 Florida in Athens. This game came on the heels of the Tony Cole allegations that were aired on ESPN a few days earlier. Within a few more days, AD Vince Dooley and President Mike Adams would elect to impose a post-season ban on the team pre-emptively leading to the eventual ouster of Jim Harrick and quite possibly the darkest period of UGA men’s basketball (the better part of the Dennis Felton era). We all knew that something bad might eventually happen, but we stood up for our team and I can’t ever remember Stegeman being louder as we defeated the hated Gators by one point on a Jarvis Hayes 12-foot shot with 14 seconds to go. After that game everything started to unravel and UGA men’s basketball has never reached that level since.
Summer of 2004:
This was right after my sophomore year and I decided to follow the UGA men’s baseball team to Omaha as they made the College World Series. The scene around Rosenblatt Stadium and the pageantry is something that I’ll never forget. It was baseball at its most pure form with great fans and a great host city. I will miss the old lady, as the World Series is moving out of Rosenblatt stadium next year. What a great experience and one I’ll never forget.
August 31, 2002:
My first home football game as a student. It was Georgia versus Clemson. It was a rehash of the glory days of southern football in the early 80s. It was an amazing game. It wasn’t an impressive game from the offense (they only gained 203 yards of offense). We saw flashes of greatness from uber-freshman QB DJ Shockley who passed and ran for a TD as well as the kickoff return for a TD by Fred Gibson. This game would launch a debate between myself and my friends that would last until 2005 when Shockley finally got his chance about whether he might be a better option at QB. While hard to argue with David Greene’s career wins record I always have that bit of wonder in the back of my head about how great UGA football could have been with Shockley running the show for 4 years (I love David Greene, btw, just a thought I’ve always had). This was my first true introduction to football in the South as I come from Augusta where high school football doesn’t really matter and this was my first major college game.
November 30, 2002:
51-7, ‘nuff said.
December 7, 2002 and December 3, 2005:
Two SEC Championships during my time in school. From the gloriousness that was the blocked
field goal punt in the first few moments against Arkansas to the two Shockley TD passes against LSU, neither of these games were ever in doubt. I’d obviously rank 2002 above 2005 due to the 20-year drought but I just remember how exciting it was to be on campus for those two years.
October 30, 2004:
We beat Florida. We actually beat Florida. It wasn’t a rumor anymore; it was something that actually could happen. This game was actually my first time going to the game in Jacksonville and it was a weekend I will never forget.
The entire 2007 football season:
What an exciting season. This was my first football season after graduation so I still made it back to most of the home games using student tickets. I got to see live the beat down that was Oklahoma State, the heartbreak of South Carolina, the heroics of Alabama, the Celebration in Jacksonville, the original Blackout (which to me is still the most electric experience I’ve ever had in Sanford Stadium), the beat down in Atlanta, and the embarrassment that was the Sugar Bowl. I’ll never forget that football season. It was easily the most fun football season I’ve experienced as a Georgia fan with 2002 being a close second.
August 30, 2008:
"Ladies and gentleman, make some Sanford Stadium noise for your #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs!" Those words really reinforce how far this program has come under Mark Richt for me. Could you imagine those words ever being said about Ray Goff or Jim Donnan while they were the HC’s? They have been said under Mark Richt and I wouldn’t be shocked to hear them again before he leaves the Classic City.
Anyways, that's a brief list of my most memorable moments as a Georgia Bulldog fan. Feel free to add yours. I wish you all a stick of a butter with a Spicy Chick Fil A sandwich covered in bacon!