God is a Bulldog

JaxLogo_2

JaxLogo_2From: “Don’t Sit Under The Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me” – 1981

Jacksonville, Fla. – Dorsey Hill, the world’s biggest Bulldog fan, left here Sunday afternoon, bound for Auburn, Alabama, where Georgia’s undefeated football team next appears.

“I don’t think you can get from Jacksonville to Auburn,” I had said to him.

“You can change buses in Waycross and Columbus,” Dorsey answered.

“You aren’t going home first?”

“Home?” He screamed back. “I haven’t worked since Texas A&M, and I haven’t slept since Clemson. You expect me to go back home when we play Auburn in only six more days?”

I lost my head, I suppose.

A lot of people lost their heads here Saturday afternoon. Georgia played Florida. Georgia won the game, 26-21. It’s a lot more complicated than that, however.

Georgia came into the game ranked second in the nation. To continue to compete for its first Big Banana ever, the national championship, Georgia had to continue its winning streak. Florida (“bunch of swamp lizards and beach bums,” according to Dorsey Hill), wanted to step on Georgia’s dream.

Dorsey arrived here Thursday afternoon with thousands of others who made the early departure south from various points in Georgia. Many of those individuals were as drunk as five eyed owls by the time they reached the Florida line.

As local wit Rex Edmondson says, the Georgia-Florida game is the “annual celebration of the repeal of prohibition.”

Dorsey waited until Friday to get into his serious pre-game drinking, however.

“I stopped at the New Perry Hotel Thursday for lunch and filled up on collards,” he said. “It’s hard to drink on a belly full of collards.”Preview

Agreed.

Now that I have had time to digest all that did eventually happen in college football Saturday, I think I can say without fear of charges of blasphemy that the whole thing was a religious experience. “Deacon Dan” Magill, the “Baptist Bulldog,” read a prayer to the Georgia faithful in which he beseeched the Almighty to help the Bulldogs “smite the Florida Philistines.”

Then there was the game itself. Georgia behind 21-20, ninety-three yards away, time running out.

“We need a miracle!” screamed Dorsey Hill, now fortified with more than collards.

Georgia got its miracle. Buck Belue to Lindsay Scott, for ninety-three yards and the winning touchdown with only seconds remaining. If that wasn’t enough, there was the astounding news from Atlanta. Georgia Tech had tied No.1 Notre Dame. Surely, Georgia will be ranked first in America when the ratings are released.

“A tie was a gift from Heaven,” said Dorsey. “Notre Dame gets knocked out of number one but Tech doesn’t get a win. God is a Bulldog.”

Verily.

I must make one confession here. I did it, and I must suffer the consequences.

I gave up at Jacksonville Saturday afternoon. Florida had the ball. Florida had the lead. There was only three minutes to play. I left the stadium. I was in the street when the miracle came.

“You are a gutless disgrace,” Dorsey Hill said to me later.

He detailed my punishment: “We’re going to a tattoo parlor in this very town tonight,” he began. “And you’re going to have ’26’ tattooed on one of your cheeks in red. And you’re going to have ’21’ tattooed in black on the other cheek. I don’t want you to forget what you did.”

I won’t, but which cheeks is between me and the tattooist.

Lewis Grizzard


Thanks to K. Daniel for supplying this column! GO DAWGS!!

Why I Don’t Play Soccer

by Spartanburg Dawg (Mike Floyd)

Georgia trailed 21-20 and time was running out on what he knew was too good to last forever. Florida had the ball with less than four minutes remaining in the game, and things were getting worse by the second. “Dear God,” he thought to himself, “I think I’m going to be sick.”The game was on television, but he wasn’t watching. Instead, he was in the car at the local soccer fields, suffering with Munson on the weak, AM radio of his 1976 Dodge Colt. His son had a soccer match, as he did every Saturday, and he’d always made a point to attend, even if soccer didn’t make a bit of sense to him. It was just being there that mattered. And it meant a lot to his son, too. Almost 20 years later, he’s proud to joke that he’ll never attend another Little League game. No baseball. No football. No basketball. “Seen enough to last a lifetime,” he says with a smile. But in his heart, he knows he’ll be there when the grandchildren come and the cycle begins again. Most of the time, he really enjoyed himself watching his kid play ball.

But on this day, he’s wasn’t a damn bit happy about being at that soccer field. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Frankly, he just wanted to go home, go to bed and be left the Hell alone. Maybe mix a stiff bourbon and take the phone off the hook.

Top-ranked Notre Dame had inexplicably tied winless Georgia Tech just moments earlier, and everybody knew what that meant. Ranked second in the country, the ‘Dawgs were about to let an opportunity slip away in Jacksonville. Right through our fingers! Dear God, we were so close. And the sick feeling came over him once again.

And then he got out of the car, cursed beneath his breath and slammed the door. It was over. The damn thing was over the Dawgs had broken his heart again. He just couldn’t take anymore.You’d think he’d have learned by now, but this one was worse than most. Hell, it was worse than any. It had never been this bad.

The car was perched a top a hill that overlooked the soccer match, and he followed a trail down to field level. And he stood there, hands on his hips, staring directly at the ground. Then at the field. And at the ground again. He took two steps toward his wife, who was standing on the sidelines. She caught his eye and could tell that it was bad. But he knew walking over to her would mean he’d have to speak, and he just wasn’t sure he could do that right now. Especially not with all those Clemson b**tards over there.

So he turned around and began climbing back up the hill. “I’ve been with them this long,” he said to himself. “I might as well hear it end.”  It wouldn’t be the first time the ‘Dawgs had taken a fall, although he really thought this might be the year things were different.  He stared at the ground as he traced his steps up the incline.

As he approached the car, he realized that in his haste to leave a few moments earlier, he’d mistakenly left the radio on and the window rolled down. So with the door closed and the window open, he placed his forehead on the roof and stood beside the car to listen as his dreams fell apart.

“Florida in a stand-up five….they may or may not blitz….they won’t,” growled Munson, and he raised his head from the roof when he realized the Dawgs had the ball. “Buck back….third down on the eight…..”

“On the eight,” he thought. “It’s over. The damn thing is over.”

“….in trouble….got a block behind him….gonna throw on the run…..complete to the 25, to the 30, 40, Lindsay Scott 45, 50, 45, 40 …. Run Lindsay! ….25, 20, 15, 10, 5…. LINDSAY SCOTT! LINDSAY SCOTT! LINDSAY SCOTT!”

There was a feeling of shock, at first. A numbness. Complete and total disbelief. And then the joy came, a feeling of such incomparable happiness that the best writer in the world couldn’t put it into words. And then came the tears. A grown man, standing alone in a parking lot in Spartanburg, South Carolina, crying like a baby. It wasn’t a sight one saw everyday, and I’m sure more than a few of the locals thought that the poor slob over there beside that yellow car had just seen his life fall apart.

The soccer game was over moments later and I walked off the field toward my mom. She immediately told me that she thought Georgia won, but no real details were available. Apparently, dad hadn’t composed himself enough at that point to make it down the hill, but she had seen him beside the car and knew it had to be good.

We walked toward the car and dad could barely spit it out. It came out something like “Lindsay 90 yards they won can you believe it they won and it’s over.” I look back now and realize he was still in shock. I was a bit worried about the old man, actually, as he stood before us with puffy eyes and told mom to drive us home. No doubt him handing her the keys was the second miracle of the
afternoon.

It wasn’t until I got home and saw the replay on television that I realized the magnitude of the event. And even at age 10, I knew then and there that this damn soccer business just wasn’t for me. Any sport that required my father to sit in a car by himself and listen to the Dawgs through the static of a sorry radio because he loved me so much that he had rather attend my crummy soccer match than watch the Georgia game on television told me all I needed to know.

I hear they still play soccer on Saturday, but they don’t play it with me. After November 8, 1980, I’m proud to say I never touched a soccer ball again.

Erk’s 1980 Letter to the Junkyard Dawgs

Prior to the 1980 season, Erk Russell wrote this letter to his defensive linemen. GATA!

Gentlemen: (linemen)

The football season of 80′ will be my seventeenth as a Georgia Bulldog. During this time there have been many thrilling Saturdays of competition, each with its individual memories, because each game has its own personality.

There are two Saturday traditions and experiences which have remained basically the same throughout the years for me and I would like to share them with you.

The first one concerns the RAILROAD TRACK CROWD. These are my people because they love the Dogs almost as much as I do. Oh, I know they do some crazy things- like turn over our opponnents’s buses sometimes and now and then they throw one another down the bank and into the street below. But they stamp out Kudzu and they pull for us to win and that aint bad. If you can get off the bus to cheers of THE RAILROAD TRACK CROWD and walk down those steps to the dressing room and not be inspired to play football as best you possibly can, something important is missing beneath the Georgia jersey you wear. It is impossible not to be inspired. They choke me up!

The season of 1980 will be the last for THE RAILROAD TRACK CROWD. A great Georgia tradition will have passed with the new addition to our stadium. The view from the tracks will be no more.

Your team will be the last Georgia Team to be greeted and cheered by the RAILROAD TRACK CROWD. Wouldn’t it be fitting if their last team was also the best Georgia Team ever. Think about it!

Another Saturday tradition which has meant so much to me over the years can be stated very simply. “THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE BEING A BULLDOG ON SATURDAY NIGHT—–AFTER WINNING A FOOTBALL GAME.” I mean like whipping Tennessee’s ass to start with, then ten more and then another one.

This is the game plan. We have no alternate plan.

Sincerely,
Erk Russell