I guess when I stop and think about it being 42 years ago, I feel somewhat old. It was the summer of 1969 and I was getting settled into Reed Hall and awaiting my first football game between the hedges. I was born a Bulldog, but since I lived in Brunswick, a ten hour journey round trip, I had never been to Athens in my life. Now I was there, a Junior College transfer with excitement and hopes of seeing the Dawgs in real life. I quickly noticed that there were a lot of Oldsmobile 442's riding around campus and my Mom's 65 Impala seemed like a bomb. The girls liked those 442's, Corvettes, and MG's, but at least I had an 8 track tape player under my dash.
The weeks drifted by and being early on campus allowed me to learn where the buildings were, the Fraternity houses were and especially the girls dorm. Now if I could meet a girl and actually get a date for the first game of the year. The 1969 football season was about to kick off and I needed some girl that didn't know me so I could get a date.
I got the date, some girl who couldn't get a date with anyone else, and now I was set to pick her up in the 1965 black impala with black interior, 8 track tape player with my cassette of the Greatest Hits of the Temptations, and cruise around town on that Friday night acting like I was a big man on campus. This was before someone had invented something to make your call smell better, so I made sure I sprayed the car's interior with Right Guard.
The date would have been good if I had not eaten those 3 chili dogs from the Varsity and things began to happen that I can't go into in this blog. Man it sounded like a thunder storm about to explode, so I told her I needed to get in early so I could get ready for the game. She was my date for the football game and I told her I'd be there at 11:00 a.m. so we could eat before the game. However, I swore off chili dogs before the game just to make sure we could enjoy the action without me having to get up or lean over in agony.
It was in August 1969, the weekend when Woodstock would capture the Nation and I had my first date on campus. The Dogs would win that first game and my life for the next 2 1/2 years would never be the same. Those days on the red clay hills of Athens, living in the Sigma Chi House, attending every football game the Dogs played, and living the greatest life one could live will forever be in my heart.
I can't travel to Athens today due to injuries of the back caused by over 20 years of Military service, but my mind has never forgotten that first football game. To all those who will walk those hills for the very first time in 2011, capture the moment and live every moment, for in 2053 you'll be my age and that first game would be 42 years ago. Remember the walk, the ride, the game, the dance, but whatever you do, don't load up on chiii dogs right before the game.