All of us as followers and supporters of the Red and Black can take heart from reading your background and understanding someone such as yourself proudly wearing the colors. Proves that one does not have to be a UGA Graduate or have played between the Hedges or have been around for one hundred years. We laugh, cry, quarrel and sometimes it gets bothersome, but in the end, it is family. Excellent read yankeedawg1. Paw shake to Georgia.
Yd1, another fantastic post – FUN to read on my Friday mornings! You have inspired me to post my own story. I’ve been staying away on purpose – I’ll post why sooner or later, but for now:
My “affiliation” with the BullDAWG Nation began shortly after birth. I was born in Tifton, Georgia, and my dad got a job with the university shortly thereafter and we moved to Athens in ’63. My first recollection of my status as a bullpup was probably sometime in 1968, but it really comes only in images and, oddly, smells.
Young football fans of today have no way of understanding why the scent of a game day in Athens would be such a strong memory. I’ve been to a few games in recent years and the old familiar odors have long since gone away. But my memory is pretty sharp, and I can tell you that newly cut bermudagrass has a smell that mingles PERFECTLY with cigars, cigarettes and pipes. I tell you, second hand smoke, at least in moderation, is GOOD for you. Throw in spilled Coca-Cola, rum, whiskey, coffee, bourbon and God only knows what other variations on the ethanol molecule, and you begin to take yourself back in time. Second hand alcohol, even for a child, is even BETTER for you – for your SOUL! Now imagine the popcorn and peanuts on top of all that, and by golly, we are sitting on the 35 yard line of the south side, almost under the overhang, and off to my right sits the railroad tracks and a bunch of flag poles and banners and drunks – I’m about to get choked up! Step in that goo that makes ¾ of that smell and feel how it sticks uniquely to the soles of one’s shoes, and feel it ticking on the cement long after you have parted company, and that dark blue sky and the flaming orange leaves and the cool but not cold breeze and the cokes with too much syrup – just right – and the ice that’s just ground to the right size for crunching while you sip the watered down soda remains. Oh man, I’m home sick.
There’s Jimmy Poulos, Ricky Lake, Glynn Harrison (was there ever a slipperier back born?), Andy Johnson, and others taking warm ups on the east end – young men who actually played football while attending school, as opposed to the other way around like it seems to be now. The good ole days were truly better, honestly.
I remember a day when if my team lost a game I still believed we had the best football team on earth, no matter what. Criticize the coaching staff? I’d just as soon cuss in church. When Nebraska whipped us back in ’71, I wrote it off to them just getting lucky that day. We tied somebody in some minor bowl, like the Peach, or something like that, and it hurt worse than getting killed by the CornHuskers. I hated ties worse than losses, because it just seemed like such a wasted effort. Pepper Rogers in ’74 was probably one of my worst memories ever. We got RAKED on a miserable day in November. Rain can’t get any colder and still be water. Crowds can’t pack any tighter under the overhang. Grown people can’t behave more like idiots around a 12 year old kid. And a football team can’t wet its pants much wetter than we did that day. Unless you wait 5 years and play Virginia at home, and are heavily favored and lose 31 to nothing. That pretty much makes for a worse time. But as much as absolutely NOBODY will admit it today, because sportsmanship is dead and gone, losing makes you better, as long as you don’t let it become a habit, like Vanderbilt. I’m a better man because my team lost a few times.
But boy, think about the WINS! Remember when the shoe-string play WORKED?! That was AWESOME! Remember Richard Appleby to Gene Washington?! Those girders BENT! And I screamed louder than I ever have in my life! Remember Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates? My Gawd, he’s just a FRESHMAN (so was I, and about 70 pound lighter)! I remember Buck Belue on fourth down, taking the ball to his right, watching the corner AND the safety come up to play him because we ran the ball about 99.999999% of the time, and I started yelling “touchdown” LONG before anyone in the stadium – I’m not kidding – because I saw Anthony Arnold slip behind the entire Tech defense and was jogging back there ALL ALONE, and Belue tossed that rainbow of a pass over their heads and you could see their jock straps hit their ankles when they realized what had just happened – but we were still down by one point. And I remember watching that option left, when their defensive end played it exactly the way you are supposed to, but so did Belue, and he tossed that ball JUST before his knees hit the ground and the ref threw his hands over his head.
Lewis Grizzard actually wrote that it should have been a TIE, dammit! He just didn’t think anyone should have lost that game. Shows you that maybe he wasn’t as much of a DAWG as you might have guessed. Tie my @ss.
In September of 1986 I got in my car while my mom stood there watching – being strong – and put it in reverse. I took one last glance down the driveway and waved as I turned south, towards Pensacola and the United States Navy and my Marine Corps Drill Instructor (aka Dr. Discipline). Athens had become more than a place – it was and still is ME. I don’t just love Athens, I AM Athens. Milledge, Baxter, Broad, College Station, and blessed Barnett Shoals. The arches, the “little” Varsity, old-long-gone Stegman Hall, where I swam mile after mile after mile for Cedar Shoals. It’s all here with me, wherever I go. Florida, Texas, Atlanta, Florida again, Ohio (hellish Ohio), Georgia again, Tennessee, and Georgia (I’ll never leave now, Acworth). But I will never get back there. There are just no jobs in Athens for a 50 year old agronomist. So I play the lottery (yes, it’s stupid, but I do it for this reason) every week, in the hopes that I won’t HAVE to wait for a job that will never be there. If I win it, I’ll see you walking Georgia around town.
I only wish I could wax poetically and keep you all spellbound with my adventures of Bulldog History, but for me it has always been more of a lifestyle because my Daddy and his Daddy and his Daddy before him were Bulldog fans for as far back as anyone I have ever talked to can remember. How they came to be football fans is a mystery to me since everyone of them, up until my father, were poor dirt farmers in Dublin and only had a radio to listen to. I can tell you that my Grandpa would take us with him on Sundays from time to time to a mostly dirt field where the local boys would get together to play football always keeping the rivalries between us and the rest of small town middle Georgia pretty hot. I can remember my Dad, Grandad, and uncles saying things about the Bulldogs and how some of these boys playing on our dusty field ought to be playing for the Dogs cause they are just as good as anybody they'd ever seen, and yes I can still smell the whiskey and see the sweat on the girls faces that called themselves cheerleaders, to me they were beautiful. I finally got to play football in grammar school for the Saxon Heights Rams for Mr. Lee, man was he a hard coach to please, but somehow we did and he praised us every time we won or lost and we all got a coke after the game. I'll never forgive Mike and Ronnie Rogers for going to Tech over Georgia when we graduated. To pull for any other team is just not in my blood, my dad still watches every game we can find on TV, my remaining brother who played every down next to me still calls me during the games to find out what I think, and I still see Herschel in the National Championship game butting heads with anyone in his way. Yes I love UGA and no matter what, always will. Larry Munson, "Lindsey Scott, Lindsey Scott, Lindsey Scott", "WE just steppped on there noses with a hobnail boot". GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks again yankeedawg1 I have never been nothing but being a Georgia bulldawg never new anything else even though we grew up in Alabama my sister was a bama fan but she got married and I recruited her and her husband they have a Georgia room now they even go to the games my niece was 3 when she said GO DAWGS SICEM WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!!!!
WOW....great stories yd1, thriller and growl and a great subject for everyone to reflect back to their initial "love affair" with the DAWGS.
My story is pretty simple and probably typical. I was RAISED a Dawg. My family went to UGA, my brother was co-captain of the UGA golf team and I later received an offer to play golf at UGA (played at FSU....better offer, finished at Valdosta State).
I remember different stories.....like my father and mother coming home from the 14-13 win over AU when Fran Tarkenton threw that 4th down pass (supposedly drawn up in the huddle by FT) at the end of the game to win the SEC. I was outside playing football in the front yard when they drove up so excited they couldn't even talk straight (could have been the booze I guess). Or when my best friend and I at 10 years old pretended to be Ed Thilenius announcing the Ga/Fl game when "little Bobby Etter" ran in the winning TD after the botched snap on the FG..........or when my father and mother took me to the Ga/Fl game in '66 and we beat the snot out of them AND kept SOS on his back all day. Patton and Stanfill about killed him.....now THAT was fun!!!
Yep, too many memories to mention but I believe I was bleeding red and black when my mother delivered me 11/9/49.......a 62 year love affair for sure!!!