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Postcards from the Prairie: A Reply to Orson Swindle

Upon my return from vacation this past weekend, I raised the issue (with an accompanying poll question) of the apparent absence of indigenous football fans from the state of Florida.

In so doing, I cited Orson Swindle's assertion that I am typical of most Georgians in my unwillingness to leave the Empire State of the South. I subsequently received an e-mail from an old friend, who wrote to rebut Orson's claim. With his permission, I have reproduced his e-mail below.

The following was written by Tony Waller, a fellow alumnus of both the Phi Kappa Literary Society and the Joseph Henry Lumpkin School of Law. Tony currently serves as the assistant dean for career planning and professional development at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Take it away, Tony:

As I sit in Central Illinois swatting mosquitoes the size of brown thrashers (keeping in mind that I am from as close to the Okefenokee Swamp you can be without a Waycross, Folkston or Homerville address), I have taken umbrage with Orson's comment that Georgia fans never leave Georgia. On two occasions, I have pursued opportunities to be an ambassador of good will and decent college football in my life. Once in the Washington, DC metro area and now here in Champaign.

Please let it be noted that I (more or less) moved both times of my own free will, although the first time was much more for the putative first Ms. Waller. I do have a letter from the Archbishop of Atlanta saying it never happened, but I digress. Also let it be noted that I lived in Athens for six years in between the two out of state ambassadorships and will again live there, as we own 5 acres of beautiful pasture land in Oconee County that will either serve as my eventual seed money for a run for the Senate, to open a decent strip club in Athens, or a retirement home back in the South for my wife and I. Either way, I am a hero.

I love UGA with all of my heart. It was the best seven years of my life to date. For you smart alecs out there, I got both my undergrad and a law degree out of the deal. I love the state of Georgia and miss it dearly. The directions to my house include the phrase "it is the only house within 400 miles with a Georgia flag in front." However, I moved here because of opportunity. The opportunity that my degrees and work at UGA allowed me to pursue.

Orson is upset because of the number of fair weather fans that have become UF fans, much like the Yankee fans of the last ten years. He is also upset because all the Rutgers and UConn fans that have moved to Florida are still Rutgers and UConn fans. He is a good writer, with insightful and pithy comments. However, he runs marathons and that alone makes him suspect in my book.

Orson is also upset because the best coach UF ever had is starring in a low budget knock off of a Tom Hanks movie called "Visorless in Columbia," in which the hero only gets to kiss the Music City Bowl Trophy, and only every three years. Yes, UF won the National Championship. Yes, they have absolutely owned UGA for the recent past of our series (by the way, many UF fans still think the series started in 1990 with our first year of law school). However, no matter what happens in Jacksonville the last weekend of each October, there stands one fact that no one can talk around: We get to go back to Athens, they have to go back to Gainesville.

I'm pretty sure that, when Tony used the phrase "Yankee fans," he meant supporters of the American League baseball team in pinstripes, but I may have to ask him for a clarification.

Go 'Dawgs!