One of the neatest aspects of the Dawg Sports community is the deep, meaningful, and even personal bond that unites the regular participants in the ongoing conversation here, which centers around, but is not exclusive to, our shared love of the Georgia Bulldogs. Having previously served on the site staff, and having since become an active member of the community, I remain impressed by the strong sense of solidarity, and even genuine caring, that permeates this place.
In that spirit, I would like to share a few thoughts about my friend, DavetheDawg.
Dave and I came to know one another through this weblog. We have spoken on the phone perhaps four or five times, and we have met in person just twice. It is upon the first of those phone calls, and upon both of those meetings, that I wish to focus.
My wife thinks of Dave as "your friend the weatherman". This dates back to the 2010 Liberty Bowl, which I attended with my son. Throughout the game, Dave texted me regular updates on the severe weather system moving swiftly and ominously toward our location; in the fourth quarter, he texted to tell me in no uncertain terms that I needed to get while the getting was good.
I did, and, when my son and I got back to our hotel room safe and sound as a monsoon buffeted Memphis, I decided a texted "Thx!" was insufficient, so I called Dave. The Bulldogs, quite literally only moments earlier, had concluded a demoralizing 6-7 season with a postseason loss to Central Florida, so we spoke as two old Georgia fans who remembered 1980 and wondered whether the glory days of 30 years before would ever come again. Dave felt bad, and I felt bad, so we spoke for a while about how bad we both felt, and, in the midst of a sense of directionlessness, hopelessness, and loss, I, at least, came away from the conversation feeling a little bit better, if only because I knew Dave was hurting as much as I was, in the same way that I was, for the same reason that I was. Misery, truly, loves company.
Neither of us was miserable on the day we first met. Because I was late getting into town, Dave and I were unable to tailgate together, as we had intended, so we didn’t see each other until we both were inside the stadium for the Red and Black’s 2011 date with the Auburn Tigers, which resulted in a glorious 38-point demolition of Georgia’s oldest, and my most hated, rival. The ‘Dawgs, losers of nine of 14 contests between September 11, 2010, and September 10, 2011, that day won their eighth straight in what would become a ten-game winning streak to earn the first of at least two consecutive Eastern Division titles. Dave and I met up in Sanford Stadium shortly before kickoff, and, though each of us felt good about Georgia’s prospects for defeating the Plainsmen, neither of us saw such an epic beatdown coming. Nevertheless, our spirits were high, and the depression of the preceding New Year’s Eve felt as far behind us as the early ‘80s had seemed when we spoke that night.
I met Dave for the second time last Saturday, when we both were in town to enjoy Georgia’s emotional and uplifting win over Louisiana State. We met at his seats two years previously, so he was kind enough to meet me at my seats this past weekend. We exchanged text messages to coordinate the point at which our paths would cross, so I knew he was on his way, but, nevertheless, his appearance came at least partly as a surprise; sitting in what has been my assigned spot for the last 20 years or so, anxiously awaiting the kickoff, I looked up, and there, suddenly, in the aisle, was Dave.
I got up and walked over to him, and we spoke briefly, with what turned out to be the erroneous expectation that circumstances would allow us to meet up again after the game. We caught up with one another in the few minutes that we had, discussing matters personal as well as athletic; while we served together on the site staff here, Dave and I and our colleagues went through quite a lot together, and that bond remains strong. I gave Dave a handshake, but I should’ve given him a hug. After a short talk, he returned to his seat, and I returned to mine, and, though we spoke by phone later in the evening, events conspired to direct us to different places at different times once the Red and Black had triumphed; the best-laid plans of mice and ‘Dawgs often go astray.
I don’t see Dave as often as I’d like, or talk to Dave as often as I should, but I know where Dave is, and I know where Dave’s heart is, and, while a great geographic distance divides Dave’s whereabouts from mine, our passions converge on the same place, and its epicenter is Sanford Stadium, which, appropriately, is the only place we ever have met face to face. On Saturday, Dave and I were in that place to cheer on to victory a team coached by a man who teared up on camera after telling both combatants’ quarterbacks that he was proud of them. There is a lot of goodness in the midst of all this, and, a season after falling 15 feet short of a national championship, Coach Richt very well may have been telling the truth when he said, "Nobody does it better than Georgia."
I know this much, at least: Nobody does it better than Dawg Sports, and I am thankful for that fact as a member of the community. This place is what made me able to say that DavetheDawg is an old friend to whom I had never spoken even three years ago, to whom I had not been introduced properly even two years ago, and with whom I know I will be able to celebrate the many victories that are, and the considerable glory that is, yet to come.