Following Football's Lead Provides Challenges for Other Georgia Student Groups

The University of Georgia Bulldawgs closed out a third straight season with no less than eleven wins with a 52-7 rout of in state rival Georgia Tech. From an already elevated baseline level of enthusiasm, the students in Athens are supporting their team and its coaches at an intensity not seen since at least the early days of Mark Richt's tenure and perhaps not since Hershel, the Goal Line Stalker, Walker last took the fans from the Classic City to the rare air of a national championship. The Dawgs face a stiff test from LSU this week in the SEC championship, but there's no denying that the prowess they have shown on the grid iron has rubbed off as the student body strives for excellence in their own pursuits.

"It's been incredible to watch and be a part of," says Gretchen Madison, a Junior recruiting assistant and film analyst on the club equestrian team, "we've been able to take a lot of lessons from the team's success, and really up our game along with them." When we asked how, she mentioned a tenacious approach to the off season, noting that training is important but that recruiting is the life blood of any program. "It's not just in-season" she told us, "look Coach Smart might be putting in hours watching an eighth grade tailback, and I have great respect for that, but, horses don't have grades, and farms are not convenient to major airports." So how have you made it work we asked? "It's a process" she tells us with the practiced cadence of a line coach on an in home visit, "O.A.T.S. O, Offer, A, Accept, T, Thoroughbreds, S, Sugar." The equestrian team has risen steadily in the SEC along with their canine counterparts on the grid iron.

If the equine dawgs have shown canine intensity in recruitment, the speech and debate team has adopted the football teams single minded focus on achieving excellence in a specialized area and exploiting that advantage. "You can't be all things to all men", says Jacksyn Madisyn, a sophomore who prior to matriculation in Athens had split time between debate, impromptu speaking, declamation and owning the libs on Gab. "When I came here I was having success, but was frankly all over the place, but if Coach Smart has shown us anything it's that champions focus." We asked him to elaborate: "look Demosthenian didn't take a three start rhetorician the last three years, you want to be a big fish in a small pond, do humorous interpretation at Georgia Tech, it isn't hard, just act like you're talking to a woman, here, we I debate, and I take the negative. Defensive arguments win championships, whether in SEC football or SEC debate. Our intensity is 100% and we all do our jobs, chop wood, and get a little better every week. You want a rebuttal, we're ready." Mr. Madisyn at this point had to be pulled back by his belt loops by a member of the debate twitter coaching staff. It was clear they had practiced. Still we felt the need to press, since a debate isn't just taking the negative, what happens we ask when it's your turn to take the affirmative. "We enforce our will and control the line of reasoning, resolved, go fuck yourself." The speech and debate team leads the SEC in twitter ratio.

It should be noted that embrace of the philosophy of UGA football has its dissenters on campus notably among members of the chess club. In a recent game for the fall 2019 intramural championship Coley Madison a senior from Roswell attempted a four knights opening, considered by the majority of the crowd to be a highly conservative strategy, they expressed their displeasure by booing as Coley plotted a somewhat wooden advance of his pawn structure and knights. Louis Orleans countered with a sharp and aggressive response out of the Sicilian dragon, and while pursued the diagonal lines of attack inherent therein with great skill. Orleans was dominant and while Coley's supporters were quick to praise the skill of the cajun, to a man they wondered why Coley seemed to handicap himself against such a powerful opponent. Coley said after the game that his goal was to develop a strong pawn structure and slowly press Orlean's center neutralizing the hyper aggressive strikes in the Sicilian Dragon. Madisen Gretchen, a member of the club and a senior, expressed the frustration of the wider club. "Look I'm not saying bring out your queen early or anything, Coley has to be who he is, and that's fine, but for Christ's sake, could you develop a bishop?" As he celebrated the championship with more than a little champagne Orleans made an obscene hand gesture and simply said "I've got your developed bishop right here."

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