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The Dawg-gone Blog
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Sunday, July 30, 2006
This post may not make much sense. I dipped a little into the Sweetwater 420 while playing some poker and once the ball got rolling, it seemed to be on a downhill trek.

That being said, I watched a movie tonight on TNT HD that made me do a bit of thinking and I figured I'd write a post about it while it was still fresh in my mind.

Many of you have probably seen the movie The Replacements. If you haven't, I would suggest that you do since I consistently find it to be a damn good football movie every time I watch it. Is it on the level of a movie like Rudy or Remember the Titans? No, but that doesn't mean it sucks either.

However, while watching the movie, I drew many similarities between that of a Scab athlete and one of a college football player that doesn't make the jump to the next level.

We often forget the sacrifices and level of play of a kid that plays with complete and utter heart. We don't consistently put people like Damien Gary, Decory Bryant (who would've been an NFL talent), Bryan McClendon, Michael Johnson, etc. etc. into the mix of Dawgs who went on to greatness, but we do remember them for what they were...Dawgs.

NFL talent? Sure. All heart? ABSOLUTELY.

For example, I was well into my first senior year, still a Redcoat, and at the Auburn game when Michael Johnson jumped up and picked that pass right out of the air to send us to the SEC Championship game. I remember not seeing it at all. All I saw was a wave (literally) of Georgia fans jump up as the news filtered throughout the plains that we were going to do something that hadn't been done since before I was even interested in football. I never saw the play until I watched the Mark Richt show a day later, but I didn't care. Tears rolled down my face, I played Glory and Glory Glory Dixieland and I rejoiced. Why? Because for one day, one second, a person I've never met jumped up and caught a ball.

I think it's obvious that I'm jones-ing for football pretty badly, but I have discovered that the older I get, the more I appreciate the sport, the players, and the memories it has brought me. Yeah I hate to lose. We all do. There's no worse feeling than a walk back to the car after a long day of tailgating and getting ready only to wake up tomorrow and know you're that much farther away from a title and that someone has bragging rights on you for the next 365, but all in all, I truly appreciate the experience.

It's amazing how often we take it for granted...myself included.

But in my days post-Redcoat I find myself to become a more active fan and a more rabid one. I still scream, I still get this fire inside of me that refuses to be extinguished, and I still go nuts when we put 6 on the board, but all I'm really doing is trying to learn what it's like to participate in a football game without playing an instrument. I'm sure I'm not the only former Redcoat to be in the stands on the first game as a "fan" and not know what the hell to do when the band is playing. It's quite the odd experience.

That being said, it's apparent across the entire fan base that there are hundreds (if not thousands or hundreds of thousands even) who are becoming more and more involved in the game time activities just to relive the glory days of Verron Haynes beating Tennessee or Michael Johnson leading the way against Auburn. Sure, we'll probably win a national title within the next 5 years. I truly believe we will, but still, I'm not sure if it'll taste as sweet as watching someone my age reach for a moment, grasp it, and acheive greatness in the least of circumstances.

We know who will eventually go to the NFL. We celebrate their departure as we remember their contributions, but all in all, there are droves of former Dawgs and fond memories that get lost in the shuffle sometimes.

Thankfully, it has been the case lately that those memories get lost in the shuffle of stellar play and SEC championships.

Just remember, as you fire up the grill and extend the tents and plastic chairs, take a second to remember who you cheer for and more importantly, why you cheer. It's not all about the pay just yet...

It's about heart.

Go Dawgs.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

"When the Washington Sentinels left the stadium that date, there was no tickertape parade, no endorsement deals for sneakers or soda pop, or breakfast cereal. Just a locker to be cleaned out, and a ride home to catch. But what they didn't know, was that their lives had been changed forever because they had been part of something great. And greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man."
-- Gene Hackman as Jimmy McGinty, The Replacements

***All photos have been hotlinked courtesy of PWD and the Georgia Sports Blog.
Blogger Philip said...
I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. Watching, hoping, praying... and seeing the reaction from the crowd as Michael Johnson came down with our destiny nestled in his hands. I was jumping up and down, screaming, crying, hugging Laura Moates (so TWO of the happiest moments of my life rolled into one! :))... it was beautiful.

And of course, who can forget Verron Haynes at Tennessee? Absolutely freakin' amazing. That I was a Redcoat during those two mileposts in Georgia football history makes me feel like a part of something that can never be beaten.

Oh, and finally beating Florida, dammit.

Blogger Brett said...
About two minutes (in real time) before that happened, I turned to the two drum majors to my right and said, "Boys, take a mental picture. I have a feeling you're going to want to remember the next few minutes for a long, long time."

I do.

Anonymous Hobnail_Boot said...
All I remember is Greene stepping back and throwing the ball. I was watching the game at a friend's house and in his excitement, he jumped in my arms. I wasn't expecting it, fell back, and hit my head on the wall.

I came to a few minutes later and said 'Did he catch it??'.

God bless you, Michael Johnson.

Blogger Stacy said...
Wow, I think I got a tear in my're not the only one jonesing for football... ;)