When I was a kid and we went to visit my Dad’s side of the family, my uncle started his mornings with an important ritual. He would grab a caffeinated beverage and that morning’s sports section, walk briskly towards the commode, and loudly announce to both the entire World and nobody in particular, “I’M GOING TO TAKE A TECH!” Horrendous smells would linger in that bathroom for at least 30 minutes after he returned, and so by the age of five I knew that Georgia Tech was a thing that should be avoided at all costs.
My first trip to Grant Field was in 1997, and I asked a lot of questions of my Dad as we sat in the bleachers during warmups. Why is this place so small? Why are there so many Georgia fans here, I thought this was Georgia Tech’s home field? Why do they have a giant bumble bee balloon? Why are all of their fans dressed funny? Why are all those people cheering at a car? Finally, my Dad looked down at nine year-old me and explained, “At Georgia we do things one way, a good way. Georgia Tech does things a different way, a bad way.” I nodded in understanding.
The game turned out to be a classic, and though I was young and didn’t understand some of the foul words being used, I could feel the energy shift once the Georgia Tech fans thought they had a chance. The awkward, geeky folks in the ugly gold colors got really mouthy. Then Mike Bobo hit Corey Allen, and they remembered their place in the state’s football hierarchy. (The play happens at 2:59:30 in the video below)
My Dad was right though, Georgia Tech is just different. Those who go to school there are nerds. They are not nerds in the sense that they are incredibly smart, but nerds in the sense that they are socially awkward with little to no emotional or social intelligence. They will brag about their test scores in a misguided attempt to shame UGA alums, but the fact is that most of them chose Tech because they’re scared of what it might be like to have a real life. The average Georgia Tech student has no identity other than being smart. Then they get to a school with a bunch of other smart kids and classes designed to fail. Do you know what happens when someone like that realizes they’re not the only smart kid in the room? They lose their entire identity, which spins them into an emotional crisis.
Due to some sort of Stockholm Syndrome effect, Tech grads convince themselves their college experience was great after they have been gone for a decade or two. They turn their collective noses up at schools like Georgia where the students actually enjoyed themselves. They do this because they have to convince themselves the suffering they experienced in college was worthwhile. Without this intentional self-deluding, every Georgia Tech grad would have to go through life longing for the college experience they never got to have. Yes, college is about classes and learning. It is also about maturing socially and having experiences with friends that expose you to the parts of life that actually matter.
I have never had a Georgia Tech fan for a boss. I imagine almost none of you have. The reason for that is because being a boss is about more than numbers and drudgery. Being a boss, or at least a good boss, requires one to read people and understand how to motivate unique individuals to work as a unit. People learn about that at parties and dinners and all sorts of social settings. People do not learn about that while studying 60 hours a week and playing World of Warcraft.
Athens is America’s Best College Town. The students have fun, engage socially and enjoy life while also getting a great education. Pro tip- having fun and enjoying life is the point of this whole dance. Besides, the lazy stereotypes that Tech fans try to assign to Georgia students have been smashed. The U.S. News and World Report named Georgia the #13 Public University in America in their 2019 rankings. That’s damn good.
Now about football, Georgia Tech used to be a good to occasionally excellent football program. The generation before mine lived in a time where the Yellow Jackets were a formidable opponent. Now, I remember the three consecutive losses to Georgia Tech from 1998-2000. It was awful. While I disliked Tech, I didn’t really hate them as time wore on. Mark Richt went 13-2 against them, and honestly they are totally irrelevant on the college football landscape. In many ways, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate has lost its feelings of competitiveness. Kirby Smart even admitted last year that he’d just assume not have to play them anymore. If this was 30 years ago, the thought of losing a great rivalry game would be tragic. Today this game is mostly just gratuitous insect swatting.
Under new coach Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech has decided to try and become Georgia. They even invented a hashtag and everything (#404TheCulture) in an attempt to embrace all of Georgia and Atlanta’s coolness. The problem is that Georgia Tech represents none of the South’s classic smoothness and swagger. It is literally the place for kids who can’t figure out how to fit in with that culture. The further irony is that the ATL rappers who hit it big with albums literally called Culture and Culture II are already Georgia fans. Try again, Geoff with a G.
With all of the things going against them, you might think I would start feeling sorry for the socially maladjusted psyche of the Georgia Tech fan. You would be wrong.
I was there when Tech players and fans tore pieces out of our hedges in 2008. I watched on TV in horror as they did the same in 2014 and 2016. Tech fans are fine until they win, but victories over Georgia happen so rarely for them that they don’t know how to act when they do. All of that misplaced resentment and jealousy over their terrible college experiences come out, and you quickly realize why they spend the vast majority of their lives interacting with computers instead of humans. Admittedly, classless celebrations happen with a lot of fan bases.
You know what I have never seen another fan base do anywhere in college football? Chant for the opposing school to go to hell while the band plays a tribute to a recently deceased legend of the university. When Tech fans did that at halftime of the 2011 game, just days after Larry Munson died, I realized they were worse than the enemies we have in Knoxville, Gainesville, Auburn or anywhere else. That day I fully realized what cowardly, gutless pieces of scum Tech fans are,
...and that’s when I knew I hated Georgia Tech.
I hope we beat the bees by 60 on Saturday. I hope we leave them on the schedule forever. If we do, I want Georgia to beat them so mercilessly year after year that the ground around that dilapidated high-school stadium becomes scorched and salted.
No mercy this weekend, Kirby. Put the foot on the gas and keep it there.
To HELL with Georgia Tech.