This past Saturday I did something that I have NEVER done. I went to a college football game. “Wait…Sean did you say YOU went to a football game?” Not only did I go to a college game I took my brother Jason to see his FAVORITE team, The UGA DAWGS!!!!! I know….me at a game. The heck was I thinking?????
If you haven’t figured it out yet I am not a football fan, never have been. I have always found the sport to be long, drawn out and boring. I mean c’mon, its dudes running up and down a field in tights carrying a ball. There’s lots of yelling at each other, being picked up and held in the air doing pirouettes, hugging and chest bumps. Sounds like a ballet to me. Occasionally some little dude comes on the field and kicks a ball thru the letter “H”. By the way, how does he get his ankle near his mouth??
Jason on the other hand, dude is like an encyclopedia of knowledge. He spouts stats from games that occurred 20 years ago. He’ll tell me about how some quarterback did some Hail Marie pass or a loose end did some infinite number of running yards. All I hear is Charlie Brown’s parents….wah wah wah wah whuh whuh. I could give two field goals about football.
Anyway, I was given two tickets to the UGA versus Kentucky game and to be honest when I was asked if I wanted them I spouted, “For what?” The response was, “Take your wife.” I thought about it for a split second and remembered Andrea likes football so I agreed to take the tickets. I tell Andrea, she is excited and then says, “No babe. You have to take Jason. You know he loves UGA and would be so disappointed if you didn’t take him.” “AWWW LAWD NAWWWW please don’t make me take Jason. He is going to talk football for two hours down and two hours back, not to mention ALL of the stuff he is going to tell me during the game. Look, ya’ll take the tickets. I don’t like football anyway.” She says no and insists it would be good for me to take my brother. He will love it. “Yeah ok but I don’t like football. It’s a meh sport.”
Later on I ask Jason about the coming up game, tell him I hear people talking about it to gauge his response to possible going. He talks about how some lower class school beat up UGA the previous week and this upcoming game is not going to be good. I say, “So if I have tickets to the game you wouldn’t want to go?” He damn near fell outta his chair, “Heck yeah I wanna go!!!!” I tell him I have tickets and am planning the trip to Athens. “Do you want to go?” He looks like I just gave him Halloween candy. He is so happy. Jason texts me later on that night after Andrea and I leave the house and says, “Is this a trick, are ya’ll messing with me” cause he knows I hate football. I convince him this is legit and he is stoked.
Fast forward to Saturday and I pick him up. I have literally prepared myself to hear two hours of stats but amazingly he doesn’t talk too much about football. Instead we are talking about everything else totally unrelated to football. Don’t get me wrong he did talk some but not nearly what I expected. Thank God. LOL
We get there and I am amazed at how many people there are. Jason is telling me how there will be close to 90,000 people on the UGA campus. “90 thou…why??? It’s just a college game” but it’s a fact. The place is so jam packed that I can’t find parking anywhere. After about 40 minutes of driving around we find a Church that is allowing people to park on their campus… for a $40 dollar “tithe”. Yup a tithe. LOL We park, get out and head to the stadium. There are thousands of people walking and I mean thousands. They are everywhere, walking in the streets, blocking cars, walking on the sidewalks, walking in grass. I can’t believe how many people there are. It’s a frickin college game.
As we are walking I start to see tents and TV’s. People have set up living rooms in grassy areas throughout the campus. What the hell and Why???? Now again I feel compelled to remind you I know NOTHING about football. I don’t understand the logic of driving from another state to pitch a tent, fire up a generator, set up your living room furniture on a grassy lawn and watch TV. Why would I do this?? That makes no sense. Jason is laughing at me and starts to explain tailgating, camaraderie and alumni sports. As he explains all of this I start to see what he is saying. There are young people, middle aged and elders. I saw a woman that had to be in her 80’s in a wheelchair rolling up the street heading to the game. People offered food as you walk by which I politely decline. If you are willing to bring your house to the street I don’t wanna know where you keep the food. Un-un, I don’t know you like that playboy.
We get inside and turns out we have great seats. We are in section 120 about 30 rows from the UGA end zone. Yes I do know what an end zone is. It was written on the field. LOL Jason is excited and he is talking to EVERYONE around us about the game, players, stats, what could happen. It’s a total trip. I look around and the entire stadium is completely red save for this little tiny corner on the opposite end of the field that is blue. Turns out everyone is wearing red shirts for UGA and the little speck of blue are the people from Kentucky. What’s crazy is I picked out a blue shirt to wear because it’s my favorite color but something said go with a red polo. I am so glad I did. I would have probably been killed by the UGA Klan.
The game starts and it is moving pretty slow. I am losing what little interest I have and Jason senses it. He says, “We can leave at half time. I don’t wanna stay if we start losing.” I don’t catch on that he is giving me an out. He is just appreciative that I invited him to the game. I tell him no. “I am cool.” The game starts progressing and things are happening. I can’t tell you what is going on other than dudes are running and scores are happening.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever sat beside a sports announcer? Yeah me neither, until Saturday. Jason is literally calling every play as it happens. He is screaming at the UGA people telling them that some Kentucky dude is running the same play over and over. He talks about how the Kentucky team only has one running back and that UGA needs to wear him out. “Keep marching” is what he says over and over. Once again being honest… I am starting to get into the game. Mentally I see things a little better and can visualize how UGA is making good moves and bad moves. Jason says, “The coaches are playing chess with the players.” He explains how this is all about strategy and placing individuals on the chess board in such a way as to cause the opponent to make mistakes. It’s quite fascinating to hear my brother expound in metaphors I understand. My brother knows football….well.
Halftime comes and he says again, “We can dip if you want.” I am enjoying myself. I am not ready to go. The game continues on and in the second half UGA starts tearing Kentucky a new one. They are marching (as Jason says) up the field like Kentucky is not even there. UGA continues to score time and time again. At some point Jason says, “We (UGA) have not caused a turnover. We need to cause a turnover and the very next play this dude named Aaron Davis (Jason told me his name) intercepted a pass. We (meaning me) are jumping up and down and screaming. I am high fiving everyone around us. I say to Jason, “You called that. How did you know?” Jason looks at me and smiles. Again, that man knows football. The game ends and UGA wins 42-13. It was an amazing game.
We leave the field and head back to the truck. People are hollering something about the dawgs but I don’t know what. All of a sudden this dude walks up on me and cocks his fist at me. I jumped back ready to go to war when Jason comes around me and fist bumps the guy. Turns out this is some gesture the UGA people do to each other. Yes I know what a fist bump is but I was not prepared for some random guy to walk up on me and shove a fist in my direction. Scared the sh!!!! outta me and Jason is laughing his ass off at me. I am so freaking sheltered. LOL
My take away from this is that football, as a sport, is not just a sport. It is a connection of thousands of people with one common goal; to watch their favorite team win a game. People of all walks of life, young, old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, straight or not gathered at UGA and talked shop for three hours. There was no hatred, no animosity, no politics, just people. I watched these 90,000 people from a different vision, not from a football perspective but just as a collective and I enjoyed it. For three hours you didn’t have to think about anything other than will the Bulldogs win.
The most important thing I learned from this is that even though I am not a football guy my brother is and it is something that he is extremely passionate about. I enjoyed listening to him talk about the various aspects of the game. I enjoyed watching him see how the game would unfold before it actually happened. I enjoyed hanging with my little brother Jason and doing something HE enjoys. I told him we should go to at least one game a year and he was happy with that…..and so am I.