I have been a Georgia fan since I discovered college football and fell in love with what I believe to be the purest form of the game. I have followed them for as long as I can remember, cheered their victories, commiserated through their losses, and rallied behind them every week that I could get to a TV or radio. I fell in love with the calling style of announcer Larry Munson in the twilight of his era, and I can remember watching games on television, with the volume on mute while I listened to the gravelly voiced announcer call the game. As a high school Senior, I ignored my date at the winter formal and instead cheered Georgia on to their SEC Championship win in 2002 (they actually quit playing music and put the game up on the projector screen). I've played Corey Smith's "Every Dawg" endlessly after heartbreaking losses to Florida. I have stayed up 24 hours straight numerous times when in other countries to watch the Georgia game despite knowing I would hate life working the next day. I...LOVE...THE...BULLDOGS.
However, I was not privileged enough to attend the University. I have, as my handle might suggest, at least mildly split loyalties. Instead of attending the University God attended, I attended a small but excellent school in the north eastern part of the country that has its own storied history. However, of late, like Georgia, my alma mater has fallen on very hard times. Granted their hard times have gone on far longer than Georgia's.
In fact, My Alma Mater holds the dubious distinction of being the only school to hold an 0-13 record. And I was there for the season in 2003. In fact, I attended every home game. And stood for the entire game. Games that dragged on for four or five torturous afternoon hours when all I wanted to do was get back to my tiny little college room and check on the Georgia score. My roommate and I went toe to toe over my split loyalties, when we would return after a loss, him fuming over the loss, me fuming over having missed ANOTHER Georgia game.
In fact, during the height of Richt's Football years at Georgia, the 03-06 seasons, the only games I could count on seeing was the Georgia Tech game, played over thanksgiving, and the bowl game. I did attend the home games against Tech during that stretch, courtesy of a high school friend of mine who was able to get me tickets.
So while most Georgia fans were cheering for, and enjoying watching the Bulldogs play during their best years under Mark Richt, I was lamenting my inability to track their games while being trapped in Michie Stadium, watching some of the worst college football of the decade. Still, it was my Alma Mater, and I did feel some sentiment about the Black Knights beyond simple frustration at missing my first football love's games. And each week after a loss, close or otherwise, I limped back to the relative comfort and shelter of my dorm to lick my wounds, dutifully muttering the well known phrase "Maybe next week."
The last two years have been extremely tough. I have watched both of my teams muddle along in mediocrity. I have fumed and cursed, stomped my feet, yelled at the tv screen, cursed Mike Bobo's playcalling and Georgia's Defensive woes, and lamented the Black Knight's continued struggles as I limped my battered loyalty and passion through one more college football season.
And here we are again. For the 2nd year running the Bulldogs are off to a poor start. This is their worst in 15 years. The Black Knights are also off to a rough start. And my football emotions are blackened and bruised, my throat is raw from yelling and cheering at my tv like the madman I am, and my deep respect for Mark Richt and his ultimate ability to win is taking a beating from my desire to make whatever changes are necessary to get the Bulldogs back on track.
Having said all that, I humbly submit to my fellow Georgia fans the words that have echoed down through the ages during football season, at my Alma Mater, at Sanford Stadium, and at every other gridiron where battle is waged in the fall: Maybe next week...