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Monday, November 12, 2007
There’s too much to write about The Blackout. It was too good of a day. I’ll never be able to put into words how much I enjoyed that game, the experience, and being a Bulldog on a Saturday night. Days like last Saturday yearn for Lewis Grizzard in a way that is unbearable.

While I’ll never claim to be a journalist or esteemed writer, I try to write with the same passion and fervor that I experience. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it’s incredibly tough. What happened to me on Saturday borderlines on an unconscious state of nirvana that Buddha himself would have a hard time achieving.

Usually about mid-week before a game, I get a feeling of whether or not we’re going to win the contest the upcoming weekend. This week, leading up until game time, I had no idea what was going to happen on Saturday. I wore my red shirt with my black fleece over it and as I walked around campus, I was quite surprised at the sea of BLACK surrounding me. The fans had indeed bought into the hype and were as excited about the game as the message boards indicated.

To those fans who sit on the South Side of the stadium, I almost feel sorry for you. Not because you’re bad people, and not because you don’t care about the team. As Dawg fans you are automatically “OK” in my book and I know you care about the team because you’re there. However, there is nothing, NOTHING, like sitting wedged in between the students and the Redcoat Band. It is a drug that I haven’t been able to quit since I left the stadium, face flustered and streaked with tears, wearing my Redcoat uniform for the last time against Auburn in 2003.

When the students and fans started filing in more than an hour before kickoff, I knew this was going to be a special day. The air was warm, but not hot; the fans were excited, but not stupid; and the feeling was “ready,” not “overconfident.” Everyone knew this was going to be a fight and they were ready to punch back however they could.

It was the best Pregame I can remember. The only other memory that I could compare it to would be Senior Day 2002 when David Jacobs suited up and ran out onto the field. This past Saturday was just like that. It was emotional. It was unified. It was how it should be.

When the team stood in the tunnel before running out on the field, you could literally feel the unrest in the crowd. These Dawg fans were hungry and I would guarantee you that 75% of them would have strapped on pads if the team needed them to. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. The “fair-weather” syndrome that has plagued us for so long was vaccinated by the hype, and that crowd was clamoring to see their beloved team.

They were loud six minutes before the team come out. The swell of sound grew after Pregame video. When the Redcoats played Krypton, it was deafening.

Then the team ran out and a new era began.

I can’t describe how it felt. I can’t put it into words that make any sense. All I could do was scream, beat up the person next to me, and scream some more. But as soon as they ran through that flag something felt different. This team and those fans were having fun.

The King has already touched on this, but I thought I’d throw my $.02 in. This team and these fans are experiencing something that this program has lacked for many years. Not only do they have the desire to win, but the desire to have a good time doing it. The 2002-2005 teams were good, and in many aspects they were great. However, there was no flash. No swagger than intimidated other teams. We were very businesslike then and, at the time, it worked for us.

Now, there’s a new type of Dawg that dons the Red and Black. It’s the Dawg that dances on the sideline, that wins for seniors, that blocks for freshman, that catches clutch passes with one hand in spite of the boos he heard earlier in the year, that pops up after a 40 yard run and sprints back to the huddle, that throws the best clutch passes of any QB in the game today, that is a part of the hottest team in the nation, that punches back after getting hit in the mouth, that is Rocky Balboa in Red and Black, that is being led by the best (and the smartest) coach in the nation, that opposing teams become so jealous of that they resort to name calling, and finally, that just wins baby.

The game itself was the fight we all expected it to be. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter when we essentially sealed the victory. Auburn gave us fits in some spots. They wanted the win badly, but they just could not match the intensity we showed. It was impossible to do as an opposing team, but they gave it all they could. You can’t fault them for that.

When the clock struck 00:00, the team soaked in a victory that they will never forget. Watching Kelin Johnson direct the band was a thing of beauty and made this old Redcoat’s heart swell with pride. These kids deserved that victory and they deserved the support we showed them. It was the apex of one of the most emotional days I’ve ever had as a fan.

It will take years to see if last Saturday was the beginning of something special. The quickest results will be seen in the next few games and the first few of next year. Can this team consistently recreate the emotion needed to play like they did on Saturday against the cupcakes as well as the elites? What about the middle of the road guys? Can we do this time and time again?

I don’t know the answer to those questions. Right now, the best I can muster is a definitive “maybe.” I do know one thing, however. Last Saturday was the type of day I’m clamoring to tell my children about, should I ever have them.

Well, actually make that two things I’ll have to tell them about. I’ll also have to explain to them why we have pets named “Knowshon,” “Stafford,” “Bailey,” “Kelin,” and “Blackout.”

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Blogger Scott said...
That was well said. You do a nice of describing what we saw. I was also there Sat. I have tried to explain to some, but it lives best in my memory.

I, too, am excited about what lies in store, but I for one am very glad that I got to be a part of the blackout.

Blogger Paige said...
It's about time!!! I've been waiting for 2 days for this post. I knew you would be the one to really bring home the experience. I had chills reading it. I would have given anything to have been in Athens on Saturday. I couldn't be there, but I was wearing my favorite black hoodie in solidarity. I was bouncing around in my chair waiting for kick off. It's been a very long time since I've been that excited about a game. The energy came across on the television quite well. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like being there. I'm devastated that I missed that experience. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Blogger NCT said...
Except for my seven years as a student (two as a Redcoat, thank you very much), I've sat in the same seats all my 41 years (ok, maybe I missed a few games as an infant) on the south side of the field in section 130 (about two-thirds of the way up). I didn't sit down the entire time. The folks in front of me didn't sit the entire time, nor the folks in front of them, etc. I can't say the entire section was standing throughout (can't say they weren't), but I didn't see anyone sitting.

And, by the way, that's a first, as far as I can remember.

Blogger Russell said...
"Knowshon Matthew Zenu Sauve"
That has a nice ring to it, right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I loved this post. You're a fabulous writer and you injected so much passion and emotion into this review that I felt my own heart swelling just reading your words. I graduated in May after four years as a Redcoat - I definitely walked away from my last home game and then the bowl game with tears staining my own cheeks - and wished so much I could have been at the game Saturday. I only caught the very beginning before having to leave for work and knew just from that opening footage that it was going to be something special. But your post took that to a new level, made me see more clearly than any news article I've read or TV footage I've seen just how special this game was and how much it all meant. Thank you for sharing your experiences with such clarity and such heart.

Anonymous Jeff Keith said...
Incredible post Kit. I would give my left arm to have been there. I cannot imagine the feeling. Oh well, I will be there Saturday. It will be the first time my five year old son has been to a real game (only gone to G day games so far). I can not wait to experience UGA football live with him for the first time. Keep up the great writting and GO DAWGS!!!!