April 25, 2008
If you want news, there are a host of other bloggers out there than can provide it. What I always aim to do is have my readers strike a chord with what I write. If I write something and you FEEL like you're back in Athens, then my job is complete.
Well, today is one of those days where I'm really missing the Classic City.
As all of you obviously know by now, Aaron Murray announced his commitment to the University of Georgia in what was probably one of the most emotional and genuine press conferences I've ever seen. I'm VERY proud as a UGA fan to have this kid become a Dawg. Whether or not he ever plays a snap of football is irrelevant; this kid has got "it."
Now this is not a love letter to Aaron Murray. In fact, I'm going to flip the script and jump over to a video I saw via the Georgia Sports Blog. It's the UGA Tip-Off Club's video tribute to the SEC Champion Men's Basketball team. As soon as I watched that video, I became instantly jealous that I wasn't there, incredibly sad over the loss of the two seniors in Bliss and Gaines and overjoyed at the fact that I at least got to follow their journey from start to finish. In the mood of that, I present to you the video that totally flipped my sh*t earlier today.
You see, as I sit from my favorite watering hole in Atlanta, I can't help but almost shed a tear over still being more than a hop, skip and jump away from Athens. Years ago when I lived in Savannah, it killed me every day to make phone calls to my ex-roommates who were going to 283 or some other bar at 7:00 PM on a Tuesday just to unwind for $10.
But it wasn't about the drinking. It wasn't about getting hammered on a budget or seeing some of the most beautiful talent God has graced this earth with. Those were nice bonuses, but it was bigger. Bigger than I could ever imagine, and unfortunately, I didn't figure it out until I was gone (which seems to happen to everyone).
Being a Dawg is not about history. History goes to Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, USC, etc. Those schools which were dominant on the field year in and year out have history. They have it in spades.
Being a Dawg is about TRADITION.
Like Erk said, it's about being a Bulldog on a Saturday night after whipping Tennessee's ass. It's about 3:00 AM Krystal runs. It's about buying a beer for your favorite (and hopefully over-age) Dawg who just poured his heart out on the field or court. It's about seeing friends, hugging strangers and loving life because in Athens, time is irrelevant.
Tradition is about D.J. Shockely waiting for a season to shine. It's about 2 boys named David becoming grown men on and off the field. It's about a coach who understands what it takes to turn boys into young men. It's about Friday night Redcoat practice and Saturday morning tailgating. It's about hating your rivals (all 234,532 of them it seems), but still understanding at the end of the day that while they might be severely misguided, they deserve a beer...especially after that ass-kicking we just handed them. It's about retiring #34 and wearing #24. It's about Larry Munson as, ironically, the voice of God. It's about still being scared, even as a UGA alum removed from college for nearly 5 years, of walking under the Arches.
Tradition keeps me going back. Tradition makes me type at a table by myself with a beer in my hand hoping that a smell a stale beer crosses my nose, just to take me back for a second.
Tradition is what made Rennie Curran swim all the way from Liberia to kick your ass (according to Orson) and what makes Knowshon pop up after having his teeth knocked down his throat on a brutal hit. Tradition is the end-all-be-all of UGA and I, for one, couldn't be happier to know that I understand that.
One day I'll make enough money to never work again. Whether it be at 35 or 75, I guarantee you that the day I hang it up is the day I start looking at property in Clarke County.
So, if you live anywhere in the city limits of Athens, Georgia, then tonight I implore you to go outside, take a breath of air, and soak it up for everything it's worth.
And don't be surprised if someone sees you and completely understands. After all, you can't have tradition if you don't have believers.
Until next time kids.
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