My first memory of the Bulldog nation came during the 1980 season. I was old enough that I understood football a little bit, I quickly became an avid fan of such a great football team, and followed every game with that pride and joy that only a kid whose home team is the best in the nation could discover. Sorry if this rambles a bit, but that’s my writing style du jour.
One of, if not the biggest contributor to my Bulldog fandom is the incomparable Larry Munson. I vividly remember hearing the Lindsay Scott call, it’s still my favorite. I also remember wearing my white #15 Bulldog jersey out in the yard listening to every call Munson made and instead of just picturing it in my mind, I acted It out on our trampoline. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to pretend to be Herschel Walker and dive over the pile to score when in fact you are landing on a trampoline mat and there is no pain involved at all. Munson’s delivery of every detail of the game and the visualizations I had of the game thanks to him are amazing and many of them are flooding my conscious memory right now. I could always see the grass, I knew which way we were going on my radio dial (this always led to changing sides of the trampoline). I hurt when any of our players got hurt, I could picture the trainers working on guys to get them ready to return to action. I knew every team we played had to be much meaner, bigger, faster, and stronger than we were, Munson said so. It’s still a small dream of mine to shake that man’s hand and just say thanks. He is truly one of my childhood heroes.
My Dad and I shared a great love for UGA football and he was more than happy to provide little extras that didn’t cost much, but they are still cherished possessions. I have several coke bottles, I have spiral bound notebooks with the old dawg with the baseball hat on his head, but my most cherished possession that my Dad purchased is a 33 1/3 album from NAPA auto parts stores that celebrated the magical 1980-81 season. I still play it from time to time and the memories of my Dad and I watching games together is as vivid as ever. The title of my Dawgography is the lyric of my favorite cut on this album. I even remember watching Dan Marino break my heart and bring me to tears, I’m talking the large boo hoo tears, in the Sugar Bowl in 83.
I have to give credit to another radio man for even more of my earliest football, and therefore Bulldog memories. Every Saturday meant I had to be tuned in to the local Bulldog network affiliate and an hour before the pregame show started, unless we played a late game and that meant at 10 a.m., for my weekly dose of “Leonard’s Losers”. Leonard Postoastie and Percy Peabody were my boyhood friends and idols too, they just never knew it. To hear them prognosticate on the weeks games and seemingly always pick whoever played UGA as the loser was a thrill and a chuckle every Saturday.
As I got older and graduated from high school, I was also blessed to get a job with my Mom’s former basketball coach who was, at the time I graduated, now a highly successful insurance agent. I started my employment there and was quizzed by the office manager about my UGA knowledge. He said, “Who is Wally Butts?” I had no idea. He replied “Don’t EVER say you don’t know who that is. He was coach to the man you now work for”. I was employed by a Bulldog! That was a thrill in itself. As the weeks past, football season rolled around and talk around the office quickly turned to how great it was to be in Sanford Stadium on a Saturday and how many Saturdays the boss would be out of the office. He described Sanford to me in detail, thinking the entire time that I knew exactly what he was describing. I had never been to a game in my life. When he found out, he said “you are going to a game this year and using my tickets. Homecoming is against Vanderbilt and you will be in the stadium that day”. UGA and Vandy, homecoming it was my first game, I was sitting on the North side on the west 40 yard line all the way back against the wall of the lower bowl. The Red and Black prevailed and I was more in love with the University of Georgia than ever. I continued my education at a couple of two year schools and then applied to UGA.
I was accepted to UGA and spent more than a few years there. Working full time and going to school is difficult and I had a lot of other things in my head due to the passing of my Dad when I was 15. UGA was amazing to me. I had classes with Eric Zeier, Hines Ward, and LaKeisha Frett (who used to save me a seat on the bus everyday). Student tickets were great, the trip to Jax was great, and the matriculation was a great ride too.
I have been made fun of for my fanaticism. I was teary eyed when Vince Dooley retired, I was also envious of an older friend of mine who attended the game and as Coach passed by her car on his way out of the stadium and touched her car. Silly? Yes. Is that me? Definitely. I DO throw things around the room and have been known to boo officials from my recliner. I have been known to scream for the firing of defensive coordinators in the middle of an SEC championship game. I do bark with the crowd on a regular basis. Some of these things have caused my more laid back son to watch the game from a different location on occasion.
I may not have actually been Bulldog born and Bulldog bred, neither of my parents attended UGA, neither graduated from college, but I have taken ownership of my Bulldog nation citizenship and when I die I will be Bulldog dead.