How 'Bout Them Dawgs!
Ed. note: this is a piece I've been working on off & on for the better part of two months. At one time I had a rambling draft pushing 2,000 words that I ended up scrapping. But, finally, here it goes. - MBM
My first distinct memories of UGA football were as a 5-yr old boy in 1980, the season UGA last won it all in the 1981 Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame.
Apparently I went to a couple of games that year in Sanford Stadium but don't have any specific recollections of those; however, I do vividly remember watching that Sugar Bowl on the TV New Year's Day.
My parents, brother & I had driven down to southeast Mississippi to visit w/ my aunt, uncle & cousins a couple days before. On the 1st they went down to NOLA & my brother, cousin & myself watched it in my aunt's living room in Greene Co, MS.
I definitely remember the "longest onside kick in college football history" as well as Herschel's over-the-top soon thereafter. And then the sea of red that engulfed the field once the game ended.
I've previously written about some special Bulldogs memories in this space such as the time my dad directed traffic to get us out of south campus & also my first trip to Columbia, SC (that didn't go so well).
My most vivid memories from my childhood were in the mid '80s when maybe things weren't quite as good vs the few years before but did provide for some of my most exciting & passionate experiences, being that we always went to home games as well as a few road trips.
Hell, I was a member of the Junior Bulldog Club complete w/ a membership card signed by one of my true heroes -- Vince Dooley.
Later, I matriculated at The University (and remember, you have to pronounce it in that proper, genteel southern way) from September of '93 to December of '97, the end of the
Goof Goff era & beginning of the Donnan years, so those were pretty lean times though the 1997 season was definitely a highlight especially w/ the victory in Jacksonville over the dreaded Spurrier-coached Gators.
The Richt years, for the most part, were really great. He definitely set the table for Kirby & will forever & always be a DGD! Plus, he's just a prince of a fella. Love that guy.
A friend of mine not too long after the national championship game who is a very loyal supporter of another SEC program said something along the lines of this to me:
"It's really not surprising or bothersome that y'all've been so damn arrogant & insufferable. Hell, you've been that way for 41 years."
It's for good cause, however. We ARE the best. Always have been & always will be. Regardless of the fact that we've only technically won three national championships (if we counted 'em like the techies, it'd be more like seven) - putting us maybe just a step below a handful of the blueboods - we've always been the best. Uga. Downtown Athens. The Chapel Bell. The Hedges. Go You Silver Britches! The splendor of North Campus. So on & so forth; or, to quote the great one, Larry Munson:
“There is no tradition more worth of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia.”
But, and this is the kicker I believe, we were due. We really were. And the catharsis of January 10th, and just the sheer, brilliant joy of it, was damn well earned & deserved.