Originally published Wednesday Oct. 9, 1991
Had it not been for the Braves winning the National League West race over the weekend, the news out of Athens Saturday night would have been even more startling. Georgia beats Clemson in football. You believe that? The Braves winning the West was a miracle. Georgia beating Clemson also had to be divinely structured.
It couldn’t happen. But it did. I thank you, God. Ray Goff thanks you. Everybody whose allegiance is colored red and black thanks you. We never needed one any worse.
As the Clemson revelers headed up Field Street to Sanford Stadium an hour before the evening kickoff, you could sense the possibility of losing had not entered their minds.
A fat boy, wearing shorts and an absolutely filthy T-shirt and an orange hat, shouted to Georgia tailgaters, “Y’all about to get whooped and whooped bad.”
A few shouted retorts. I wondered aloud if fat boy could even spell “Clemson.”
“You can’t spell it, either, ” a companion said to me. “It’s not ‘Clemson.’ It’s ‘Clemmons.'”
I’d forgotten. Clemmons College. That’s what we called ’em before they started beating our brains out.
God, last year in Death Valley. The heat was nearly unbearable. People fainted. And I was stuck, as are all Georgia fans when they venture to Auburn-with-a-lake, deep in the end zone.
Didn’t matter. I didn’t want to see what was happening on the field, anyway. It was Clemmons 94 and us totally embarrassed.
You don’t want to be a Georgia fan losing to the Tigers at home. Several years ago a friend was walking out of the Clemson stadium when an orange-clad held a chicken bone in front of him and said, “Come here, Dawg, and get your bone.”
My friend, known as Rocky afterwards, let the guy have one upside the head. How we got home alive, I’ll never know.
Last year they were actually laughing at us. A car sped past my party as we huddled together after the loss and the driver shouted, “Them Dawgs are a joke!”
I pulled out my .45 and shot the car full of holes. No, I didn’t. I just sank deeper in my sorrows.
So Saturday night was payback. A Tech fan had said to me earlier in the week, “It’s going to be a long ride home for y’all Saturday night.”
Turns out, it was Tech that took the long ride home. Tech is 2-3. Georgia is 4-1. You believe that?
I always tailgate with B.A. and Nancy. Chicken and Nancy’s marvelous deviled eggs.
At each home game this year, we’ve had chicken fingers. B.A. has gone into the chicken finger business in a place called Oscar’s on Baxter. He’s got chicken fingers, big burgers and biscuits from scratch.
“It’s the chicken fingers, ” he said to me after the Saturday night victory.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We’re 4-0 at home. My chicken fingers are undefeated.”
And so they are.
We remained at our tailgating site and welcomed Sunday morning. The Clemmons fans had gone quietly into the night. I wanted to tell fat boy to wear a clean shirt next time.
Now Ole Miss. B.A. can’t make the trip to Oxford, but I’ll be there.
We’re trying to figure out how to fax chicken fingers.