The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is this weekend. There, I said it. Without going too much into why actually typing that is a big deal, the former unofficial name for the annual Georgia-Florida game is now strictly verboten in the context of official circles. UGA, UF and the SEC’s TV partners no longer use the WLOCP title. While there could be a completely separate post about that topic, let me say that some of the reasoning behind the decision is sound, based on a couple of high profile incidences that have happened to students and fans during the Ga/Fla weekend. It is a big deal for me to type it, as I am no longer part of officialdom at UGA.
I will say, however, that changing the name of the weekend from “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” to The River City Rivalry (or whatever it is this year) is about as sensible as Nevada making their brothels re-brand themselves as ranches. We all know what Georgia/Florida is about. It is still a big party with a football game, one that I wish I could be at.
I really wish I could take credit for the title of this post. Rex Edmondson, the long time sports editor for the Jacksonville Time Union coined the “Annual Celebration of the Repeal of Prohibition” thing years and years ago. I remember it from Lewis Grizzard’s great book ” Don’t Sit Under the Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me." If you don’t know who Lewis Grizzard is or that grits don’t actually grow on trees, then I can’t help you.
For the record, I will miss my fourth Georgia/Florida game in 12 years and only my eighth in 24 years, so yes, I am a little upset about that. While the sun has certainly shined on Florida’s metaphorical hind end for much of the recent past history of this game, I would remind my UF friends that this run by the Gators has gotten them within 8 or so games of making the series even. Yes, that is a minor cop out on my part, but I’ll take it.
As for the game itself, I’ll be in my living room in Central Illinois, wearing my traditional Jacksonville game wear. I’ll have a tailgate in my yard, as I do each home game and for Georgia/Florida. I’ll have my traditional drink, talk to my friends on the phone and watch every down on TV. The Red Coats will be playing loudly over our sound system during pregame and at the start of the fourth quarter. The kids will have on red and black all day as well. One upside: If the Dawgs lose, at least I don’t have to put up with some 22 year old dude in a tank top taunting a 12 year old kid about wearing a David Greene jersey, all the while telling his girlfriend that she’ll be home way before her parents said she had to (I swear this happened after the game in 03).
To my friends going to the game: Be careful, have fun and Go DAWGS!