Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Football Fan is Born

After high school I went to the University of Kentucky. The football team lost so often it was frankly hard to be a fan. By the fourth quarter of most games only the fans of our victorious opponents remained in the stands. Everyone else left after the half-time show to beat the traffic.

Fast forward 30 years. By the time I moved to Athens I had lost all interest in college football. As a new UGA employee, I had the opportunity to get in the queue for season tickets. I tossed my order form in the trash without another thought.

A year or two later, a gardener friend invited me to come over to talk gardening and keep him company while his partner watched football. It wasn't long at all before I was hooked. What a difference it makes to root for a team that wins! Go Dawgs! Sic'em! Woof! Woof! Woof!

My partner got in the queue for season tickets when he started working at UGA. Given his lack of interest in watching the games on television, I was surprised but decided to go along. I'm nice like that sometimes. He didn't make the cut last year, but this year he did. Damn. So much for piling up with the dogs on the sofa in front of the wide screen in the comfort of our air-conditioned home.

The first home game was yesterday. Fortunately, kick-off was at 7:00. A high school pal that graduated from UGA drove over from Charleston to go to the game with us. We headed to campus around 3 with no plan and no idea of where we might park.

Everything worked out great. We parked at Hodgson's Pharmacy in Five Points, and ended up walking from there all the way to Speakeasy's downtown. It was HOT!!! After some good food and a couple of adult beverages, we headed for the stadium.

The atmosphere around the stadium is absolutely electric with anticipation and excitement. Our seats are in the end zone, directly across from the replay screen and a comfortable distance away from the Redcoat Marching Band. I learned about 'squeezing' from my far-more-experienced friend from Charleston and was delighted to see how well it worked!

The game was a nail-biter up to the very last seconds. It was an ugly win for us, but a win nonetheless. It was also a very long game--more than 4 1/2 hours. We didn't get home until nearly midnight.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Yeah, I got hot, and when I get hot I sweat like Niagara Falls. In person it was harder to follow what was going on, and I really wish those yellow lines you see on television showed up on the field. Still, going to the game was an incredible experience and I find myself looking forward to the next. I just hope it, too, will be a night game. Anything else is likely to make me once again...

The Crotchety Old Man

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