As some of you may have noticed, I've had a rather hard time getting amped up for the upcoming season. Maybe its the crushing disappointment of the last few seasons. Or maybe its my brief flirtation with the dark side of pessimism last year. At any rate, I haven't been as excited as I'd like.
The last time I felt this way was November of 2009. At that point, Georgia was 6-4 and it seemed pretty clear that things weren't going to get much better. Despite my bitterness and disappointment, on November 21st, I set out for Sanford Stadium with my Dad to watch the Dawgs play Kentucky.
As I've detailed before on the blog, I grew up as a kid without a team (in college football at least). Despite living only 30 miles or so from Athens, I had never been to a Georgia game... and wouldn't until I began college. My parents weren't really college football fans and my Dad had gone to college later in life. Though he has a degree from UGA, he'd never been to a game before. So prior to the 2009 season, I sold off my student tickets (grad school has its benefits) to the Kentucky game and bought some online for he and I to attend the game.
Once the season started to sour, my Dad became hesitant about going. After a good deal of hemming and hawing on his part, I convinced him to go anyway using the promise of epic tailgating. The tailgating was epic indeed and after polishing off quite a few cold ones, we made our way to the stadium for the game.
The seats were pretty terrible. Last row of the 300 level in the corner behind the Lone Trumpet player. The game was a heartbreaker as Georgia lost its 5th game of the year. It basically epitomized everything that felt wrong about that season.
But then something strange happened. As I sat there through the game with my Dad, the frustration I had felt during that season began to melt away. Sure football is about winning and losing. But I also remembered that college football in the South is about a lot more than that. Its about fathers and sons, mothers and daughters showing up to support their university and to celebrate their way of life. Its about "Glory Glory", "How 'Bout Them Dawgs?", Silver Britches, Hobnailed Boots, GATA, and KTMFD.
In that one night, my outlook on that year (terrible though it was) changed. The season may have been a disappointment, but it also became the season I turned my Dad into a Georgia fan.
So that excitement I've been missing all summer has started to return. On September 3rd, I'll walk into the Georgia Dome with my Dad, Mom, and son. For my son, Trey, and my Mom it will be their first time attending a real Georgia game live and in color. Boise is certainly a quality opponent that will give the Dawgs all they can handle (and possibly more). But win or lose we'll all be building memories rooted in traditions both young and old.
I'd love to hear some of your favorite Bulldog memories (even if I've heard them before) in the comments. What was your first game like? How have you been affected by sharing memories of Georgia games with your loved ones? Its time to get excited!!!