Showing 1 - 10 of 93 posts found matching keyword: athens
Saturday 11 November 2023
Last week, knowing that Mom would be busy tending to her wounded beau, I sent a message to my standing group text with my friends looking for someone to accompany me to tonight's 7PM football game between #2 UGA and #9 Mississippi. They ignored me.
To add insult to injury, my so-called "friends" were unsympathetic the following day when I complained about people who put up and decorate Christmas trees the first week in November. Are they really my friends if they hate live football and think Christmas should be celebrated before Thanksgiving? I say no.
So I did what any sane person would do: I deleted the group text chain from my phone and went to the game by myself.
Sure, it was cold and drizzly, but I still had a great time (and a hand warmer), mostly because the Bulldogs were totally dominant (and because Mom wasn't there to talk me out of bringing a hand warmer to the game). The seniors were celebrated; the veterans were celebrated; the SEC Champion soccer team was celebrated.... After halftime, it was pretty much all celebration inside the 9th largest football stadium in the world. These are good times to be a Bulldogs fan.
There are still two games remaining on the season, but this was the last home game of the year, an unusually early ending to a (mostly lousy) home schedule. Looking back at the four I attended, Kentucky was the most fun, but this was an easy second place. The question is whether I will be back next year.
It is getting very hard to find people to go to the games with me, especially since I have fewer friends than I thought I did. (Christmas tree-hugging bastards!) So spending thousands on a couple of tickets I can't (and don't want to) always use is starting to seem like a bad use of my money.
I'll see how I feel when the bill comes due in February.
In the meantime, do as Miss Manners advises and "finish your turkey before putting up Christmas." Assholes.
Saturday 4 November 2023
It's a big deal when some teams come to town no matter their records. And it's not such a big deal when some other teams come to town, no matter their record. Auburn, Tennessee, and Notre Dame fall into the first category. Missouri is in the other.
I think that most of the problem is that Georgia has only been playing Missouri regularly since the latter joined the SEC in 2012. In that decade, Missouri has beaten UGA only once, and looking back at my write-ups of previous games I've attended, very few of those have been worth watching. Obviously, that's not going to stir the imagination of either fan base, even when Missouri is ranked #14 and Georgia #1 (or #2, if you're a 2023 CFP voter).
Making things worse, because Georgia played on the road for most of October, today was Homecoming, which means an audience full of fans who aren't in attendance for the game. So instead of having the feeling of a title bout knotted at 10-10 at halftime, today's stadium atmosphere was more... mildly bemused. Think Rome before Maximus demanded to know if the crowd was entertained. (It certainly wasn't helping that it seemed like the officiating crew blew a lot of calls in both directions. Maybe even the refs weren't particularly excited by the matchup.)
Like Maximus, UGA was ultimately victorious, winning 30-21.
From my point of view, the brightest spot of the evening was Mom's decision to honor her sister's request to take a "selfie" of the two of us after the game was over. Despite being the one holding the camera, this is the face she made when she pressed the button to take the picture:
That's worth the price of admission.
Saturday 7 October 2023
I've been in something of a funk lately, where not much really satisfies me and nothing is fun. So I wasn't particularly eager to attend today's UGA game versus Kentucky in Athens, despite it being a night game, and especially with so many Cassandras predicting that this would be Georgia's first loss of the season.
Which is why I was surprised that I did have fun, in no small part perhaps because for the first time all year, UGA played on a championship level. Final score: No. 20 Kentucky 13, No. 1 UGA 51.
The forecast for the game was the coolest weather of the season so far. I was going to take a handwarmer with me, but my game companion, my mother, talked me out of it. I assure you, she did not hear the end of it.
After cold hands (and nose and ears: the wind chill was unrelenting), the biggest problem I had was a sinus headache that grew worse each quarter. But not even that was enough to sap my enjoyment of the game, thanks in large part to the enthusiastic crowd, which was uncommonly convivial, probably because of the need to stick together for warmth. Seriously, though, there seemed to be fewer drunk and/or obnoxious fans than usual. Perhaps they had all passed out prior to the 7PM kickoff, but if the cold weather was responsible, I could handle more of that every game!
Note to Mom: from now on, if the forecast calls for 60° or under, handwarmers are mandatory.
Saturday 2 September 2023
After winning 2 consecutive National Championships, the University of Georgia football program has rewarded its loyal season ticket holders with a schedule consisting of traditional rivals Auburn, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech... all on the road. (Florida is the "home" team when the World's Largest Cocktail Party is played in odd-numbered years at the "neutral" site inside the state of Florida).
By comparison, the home schedule is UT Martin, Ball State, South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi. This is, without a doubt and by a very wide margin, the worst home schedule I've seen in my two decades as a season ticket holder. Mississippi is the only game with any promise of being a worthwhile watch, and I'm sure I could get pretty damn good seats to that for much, much less than what I paid for the entire slate. ($1,720 this year, if you're keeping track at home.)
I figured if any of those unworthy cupcakes was going to make for a fun experience, it would be the opener against UT Martin, with the debut of UGA XI "Boom" (following this week's unexpected death of Sonny Seiler), a rare 6PM kickoff, and a crowd eager to celebrate the 2022 National Title.
I was wrong.
In November of last year, I made a note to myself that games like the 2022 contest against Tennessee (ranked No. 1 at the time) were the reason I annually buy season tickets. Games like this are the reason no one should.
UGA rightfully treated the game against the NCAA Division I FCS Skyhawks like a glorified practice, with Mike Bobo's patented vanilla play-calling and an offense that looked like they could have used a few more weeks of minicamp. The shadows advanced down the field faster than either team. The word "boring" doesn't quite describe how uninspiring it all was. I've had more fun watching Pop Warner drills. If Georgia played like that against an SEC opponent, well, no one would be talking about three-peating, that's for sure.
What was worse was that UGA has now closed Gillis Bridge overlooking the West end zone on game days, which also closes our traditional route into the game. When we did finally arrive inside Sanford Stadium, Mom quickly overheated in the blaring late afternoon sun. So we left as the band cleared the field at halftime, having had a simply dismal experience. Given that a total time of 3 hours and 40 minutes would pass before the final whistle was blown (in a game that was televised to a very limited streaming audience but with a full complement of television commercials), I'm certain we made the right call.
Maybe I'll go back when a competent SEC team comes to town... in November.
Saturday 5 November 2022
On Tuesday, November 2, the initial College Football Playoff rankings of the 2022 season were released, and the Tennessee Volunteers leapfrogged the Georgia Bulldogs, who were atop the Associated Press poll, to become the top-ranked football team in the country.
Then they played Georgia on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Athens.
To be the best, you've got to beat the best, Vols. And you didn't. Final score: Tennessee 13, UGA 27. Honestly, it wasn't really even that close.
Driven in no small part by the chip on Bulldogs fans' shoulders, the game atmosphere was truly great, the best in years. The enthusastic fans were really into the game from long before kickoff, were only made more rabid when the refs stole a safety from Georgia in the second quarter, and somehow managed to get even more energetic when the rain started falling in the third quarter. What a bunch of damn good dawgs!
Reminder to future Walter: This is why you buy season tickets, to go to games like this one. Fantastic.
Thanks to friend James for keeping me company in the rain. I certainly enjoyed myself.
Saturday 15 October 2022
Today was the 100th annual Georgia Homecoming football game. As is often the case, it was against Vanderbilt, who played UGA in the very first homecoming game on November 18, 1922. As is often the case, the Bulldogs won big. (To be fair, Vandy won 12-0 in 1922, and went on to finish the season undefeated, their second undefeated season in a row. Obviously, 1922 was a different time.)
Despite the score, I had a lot more fun this week, in part because the Dawgs scored early (and often), in part because Mom came with me, and in part because we arrived a hour before kickoff and got to watch plenty of Homecoming pomp.
One thing worth documenting: As I've mentioned before, UGA has replaced paper tickets with e-tickets, accessible only on smartphones. I had both tickets on my phone, and both had to be scanned for Mom and me to enter the stadium. However, after scanning the first ticket, my phone received a text notification... which temporarily locked out the ticket app. Oops! It was no big deal at the time — we were, in fact, the only people in our line — but this presages potential trouble on a busier day when, say, a boisterous (read: drunk) Tennessee crowd comes to town.
From now on, airplane mode.
(Side note: It didn't help anything that my phone case broke on Wednesday. So I did what anyone would do and fixed my smartphone with duct tape. It really is good for everything!)
Saturday 8 October 2022
Today I returned to Sanford Stadium for the first time since November 9, 2019. This is the view from my newest tickets, 12 rows closer than the seats I had since 2002.
Wow, what a difference!
I was looking forward to this one, what with Auburn coming to town for something like the 126th time. To bolster my courage to go out in public again, I got Omicron boosted 2 weeks ago. I also got a flu shot. And, for good measure, a tetanus shot. Because, you know, some dawgs bite. Especially the drunk ones.
I wish I could I could tell you that I had a great time, but that wouldn't be true. The drive to Athens started me in a bad mood because I was my usually anxious pre-game self (that hasn't changed for the better in the past three years). Traffic (and my innate struggles at time management) meant that I arrived in Athens with barely enough time to sprint into the stadium before kickoff.
To make matters worse, since my last visit, Sanford Stadium has gone paperless and cashless, and it only seems to have slowed ticket taking and concession buying. Welcome to the future!
To make matters worst, after standing in a concessionaire's line for five minutes to buy a Coke, I discovered that particular concessionaire had sold out of regular Coke. "Will a Diet Coke do?" You might as well ask me if Pepsi is okay. IT. IS. NOT.
On the up side, Auburn did bring a marching band that performed at halftime, complete with a flag corps that had a real hard time holding onto their flags. I did enjoy that while I drank my
Coca-Cola Dasani water.
I might have had more fun if I hadn't gone alone, if I had taken someone to bitch to. But I think the real lesson here is that I shouldn't go to games that have a 30 point spread. Frankly, Auburn is not good this year (especially since they're down to their third string quarterback), and UGA played down to their level for most of the game, striping the on-field product of any significant entertainment value. If the football game isn't any good, there really isn't any reason to spend 5 hours on the road and 4 hours in the sun watching it.
Try harder next year, Auburn.
Saturday 23 November 2019
I didn't take that picture. That was broadcast by CBS, which is how I saw the game between Texas A&M and Georgia (final: Texas A&M 13, UGA 19). I post it only to remind myself of what I missed. What a great sunset!
I had a real debate with myself whether or not to attend today's game. The final decision came down to the (accurate) forecast of heavy rain. I went to the Kentucky game last month and was generally miserable. I ended up wet, cold, and bored by the lousy game quality. That wasn't an experience I was interested in having twice in the same season.
Now that the home schedule is over, I'd like to make note of two disappointing trends from the 2019 season:
- Why is it getting so hard to get people to go to the games? Even putting aside the two rainouts, I had a hard time enticing anyone to come with me, and the seats around me were empty most of the time. Assuming this isn't purely a side effect of my own anti-social tendencies, is this a problem with the current state of Georgia football (which seems to win in spite of their anemic offense) or a symptom of some larger trend?
- What happened to bands at halftime? The only band marching in Athens in 2019 was the Redcoats. Was this a fluke in the schedule that no team playing in Athens this year had a traveling marching band, or are marching bands at football games becoming as archaic as the fewer and fewer fans attending them?
Maybe we'll get answers to these questions next year.
Meanwhile, good luck against Tech and in the SEC Championship, Dogs. I assure you I'll be rooting for you on the couch.
Saturday 9 November 2019
Only one team showed up to play in the annual Georgia/Missouri game. Luckily for Georgia fans, it was Georgia. Final score: Missouri 0, Georgia 27.
Above see the blue lights rolled out for the Veteran's Day ceremony at halftime. You know, this was the sixth home game of the 2019 season and I have yet to see an opponent's band on the field. Do schools not have bands anymore?
My guest for the evening game was Friend James (aka the man who paid me to make this), who had never attended a football game before. I spent most of the game explaining it, which was fine. With only one team on the field, there wasn't that much to see.
Not that I'm complaining about the Bulldogs pitching a shut out, mind you. It was just cold — very cold — and it would have been nice to have something to jump up and down about.
Saturday 19 October 2019
The forecast was 57Â° and rain. I asked Mom, and she declined to attend. I asked seven more people, and they all had better things to do. I went alone. I should have listened to what they were trying to tell me.
As forecast, the game was very cold, and very wet. So wet, in fact, that the Athletic Department decided not to allow any bands on the field, which made for a very unusual pre-game with no band welcoming the players onto the field and an equally odd Homecoming halftime, where the homecoming court was seen only on the video board in still photographs (taken on a sunnier day).
The football was as bad as the weather. There were 10 punts in the first half alone. (Six of those drives were 3-and-outs.) Georgia's strategy appeared to be "wait until Kentucky makes a mistake." It did work eventually when Kentucky badly shanked a punt and allowed Georgia to score on the following play. Congratulations, Georgia, but don't expect that plan to work in two weeks against Florida.
I was not prepared for the amount of rain. I lasted only slightly longer than Kentucky did. I left in the fourth quarter after Georgia finally shut the door, making a goal line stand to break Kentucky's spirit. I paused on my way back to the car to take one last look back just as Georgia scored their third touchdown. Final score: Kentucky 0, UGA 21.
Like I said, cold and wet.