I got a tweet from Rex the other day that said I was too young to remember Mike Singletary playing between the hedges in 1978 (We lost 16-14), so that got me to thinking about when I did move to the the "Promise Land" of Athens, GA. Like some, I'm not a native. I wasn't born at Athens General, nor was I born with Red and Black flowing through my veins. Although I suspect it was just in remission, as I was adopted by a dad that had Georgia Bulldog gear and a Mom that was in Athens when the basketball team played in the Stegeman before there was a Stegeman. You know that building that used to sit next to the Tate Center, now the new Tate Center.
So I know that I was meant to be a Georgia Bulldogs, even though I didn't know it. So how did I get here and how did I become a fan.
In 1980, we moved to Athens from Milledgeville from Florida, yes I'm a native Floridian. I was born in Florida and lived there for a better part of 6 years. Luckily, I was not converted into a Seminole or a Gator. So now that we are in Athens, one of my first memories was of going to the grocery store and them playing the Larry Munson play by play on the intercom system. It was the wildest thing. My mom actually had to ask what was going on. Turns out it was a staple of Saturdays in the Fall. This was before we knew of Larry Munson, Vince Dooley or the Junkyard Dawgs. So don't hate on me yet, you can save that for later.
As my time in Athens went on, I began attending a few games with the cub scouts. Our job was to help the old people down the aisles, so not much game watching was going on. Also not having football blood in the family like some, I was not a diehard. Although I remember watching the Sugar Bowl as it was one of the few Georgia games that made it to TV. So in the early 80's it was all about radio.
One event during the glory years sticks out to me, even to this day, was a trip to the practice fields. You have to remember that all practices were closed as best I remember, so very few saw what was going on. Well my mom pulled the the "cool mom" card and take me to a practice. We made it in just fine, but then this big, bald headed man started running at us and yelling. Turns out it was Erk Russell and he was chasing off a mom with her kid. That's how serious things were back then.
By the time I got to high school, I was yet to become a bleeder for Georgia. I enjoyed Georgia, but that was about it. Also as the college years approached, I was adamant about NOT attending Georgia. I think it was Athens burnout or dumbass adolescence.
Well what changed? How did I become a Dawg? How did it become that I'm now a card carrying member of the Dawg nation (I have both season tickets to Football and basketball).
- I ended up attending summer school right out of high school at Georgia and fell in love with everything.
- Met a girl, well got a crush on a girl and a senior at that.
- Had a large number of friends attending Georgia.
- It was close to home and free laundry.
- I had a scholarship.
So with those reasons I ended up at Georgia full-time in the fall. Well I was not a true dawg yet. It wasn't until I started attending every football and basketball game, then a few gymdawg meets as well. At that point I was converted.
I lived the games, I felt sick after a lose, I felt euphoria after wins.
So now I was a Dawg. Hell I even dated a lady dawg from the basketball team.
So today, where am I.
I'm a Dawg through and through. I'm raising my girls to be Dawgs. My home office looks like shrine to the dawgs. I have bricks at both the Redcoat Complex and at Sanford Stadium and too many pictures, trinkets, and clothes to even list here that contain some dawg reference.
I still feel sick after a lose and euphoria after a win, but now in moderation, as the little ones don't understand why daddy is cussing the TV or radio, so I have had to tone it down a bit.
I look back and often wonder what would have happened if I had attended a Florida school. Would I have loved them as much as the dawgs. I just can't see it. Our fans, with the exception of a few, are great. Visitors even write about their trips to Athens. The fans make the difference. And haven seen the other places, nothing beats Athens and the Dawgs.