Here's a little story about me. I grew up in a family of Tech fans. None of them really "fanatics", but they mostly had an affinity for the North Avenue Nerds. Even more disgusting? I actually went to a Georgia Tech game before I stepped foot in Athens town. Somewhere along the way someone moulded me into a Georgia fan and the sad part is I don't know who it was...but it stuck.
Lately as my sister and I have grown up, Dad has slowly moved more to the center because I've made it a life goal to take him to at least one Georgia game for every Georgia game I made him take me to as a kid (back when you could get a ticket for <$25 each). My Mom only wants me to be happy so she'll cheer for Georgia in the off chance she's watching football (she was adorable with concern during the Auburn game this year). My sister has merged her love of Tech with a love of Bama because she went to school at Samford where she picked up a light appreciation for the Red Elephants. So pretty much against all odds I survived my family's influence and saw the light.
But as I said earlier my first NCAA football game was at Bobby Dodd Stadium when I was REAL little. Up until 2006, that had been the only time I saw Tech play in person. This story really begins there, my first trip to see Georgia play our in-state rivals, Georgia Tech.
The year is 2006. The season has been quite disappointing, and to date the worst under Coach Mark Richt. Earlier that year we had dropped 4 games respectively to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, and Kentucky. Not many gave us a chance to beat Tech for obvious reasons. We were too young; Tech had Calvin Johnson and people almost began having faith in Reggie Ball as he was leading the Nerds to the ACC Championship game following the UGA game win or lose.
So I scored some tickets to the game, and I'll admit, I was excited. Yeah, UGA was the underdog, and if Tech ever had a chance to beat Georgia it was that year. But we had a highly touted freshman QB in Matthew Stafford who had shown flashes of brilliance even in losing efforts. I figured since it was in Athens, Tech would occupy the small corner of the endzone with a few splashes of mustard across various sections. My guess was surely my fellow Georgia fans would be snatching up the seats for sections 601-611 where I was to be sitting. After all, the tickets would be relatively easy to get, why wouldn't they buy them?
I'll tell you why...
Because every single nerd from inside the perimeter and their nerdy old grandmothers bought the damn tickets.
I assumed since the fans didn't even go to their own home games, they wouldn't travel well.
Regular Season Thursday turnout at historic Mark Richt Field
So my wife and I get settled in and slowly the nerdy masses ooze into their seats. Before I knew it we were surrounded with fair-skinned, pock-marked, Tech fans with their multiple shades of yellow fan-gear. I was a little disappointed, but I was bound and determined to have a good time, win or lose...but mostly win.
It was not a great first half for Georgia, or anyone wearing red from where I was seated. The older nerd in front of us decided not to discipline his little 6 year old nerdlet when he began to throw peanut shells at me, and I kept my mouth shut. I kept quiet when we were shut out a half-time and the trash talking began. I kept my mouth shut when Georgia intercepted at the Tech 20 in the third, and I kept my mouth shut when we missed the field goal to follow...and the heckling got louder.
Then something happened, Ball had the Ball (...heh) and fumbled it into a mass of red and yellow jerseys, but the play was not whistled dead because no one had possession. Corey Taylor (CORRECTION Tony Taylor, thanks Dean) dug the ball out and ran it toward the endzone before diving and landing with a belly-flop. Suddenly everyone got quiet, and if they weren't quiet they were bitching about the play not being whistled dead...they couldn't believe it. So I stood up and hollard out "TAKE IT UP THE REFS, YA'LL BROUGHT EM WITH YOU!" because after all it was an ACC officiating crew. You would have thought I brought a pre-op tranny to a church Christmas party judging by the looks I received after that.
Later on, Tech got another field goal and a TD (failing on the 2pt conv.) making it 12-7, Nerds.
It looked like we had plenty of time to score, but there was 7-8 minutes so if we did Tech would still have a good bit of clock to work with. Stafford and company slowly ate up all but a couple of minutes slowly driving downfield, and then this happened...
If you were there, you know the feeling. We had potentially won a game we weren't supposed to win. Now all that stood between us and victory was counting on Reggie Ball to screw up, and as Larry Munson said we had to hang on for 105 seconds.
A sack and an interception later we had sealed the deal, and I unleashed the fury on everyone sitting around me. I let them have it, strength in numbers my a-hole! I was shouting at old women, making little children cry, and doing everything short of what the good Lord wouldn't forgive me for the following morning. The minute Tech's fans are on the losing end of a football game they immediately tuck their tail and tell me how I'll be working for them someday. Just so they know I work for a Kappa Sig from UGA, not a Lambda Lambda Lambda from GT.
That has been my only experience to see the Dawgs whip the Nerds in person. This year, I'm perfectly happy watching the game from my living room where my wife won't tell me I'm making a scene. I'm okay with a 12:00pm kickoff, mainly because I love pancakes and whiskey. But we'll also have Trev Alberts doing to color for CBS and like Paul Westerdawg notes the Mark May jokes and Chick-Fil-A references shall be aplenty!